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On the Beginnings and Early Discussions of the Metaphor "Survival of the Fittest"

FALKO SCHMIEDER and Moritz Mutter
Contributions to the History of Concepts
Vol. 6, No. 2 (Winter 2011), pp. 53-68
Published by: Berghahn Books
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24570755
Page Count: 16
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Abstract

The article undertakes a reconstruction of the invention and early discussions (from 1850 to 1870) of the metaphor survival of the fittest. It shows that the metaphor has been established at the intersection of two different formations: first, the classical paradigm of oeconomia naturae and the modern paradigm of evolutionary theory, and secondly in the tense atmosphere of different theoretical disciplines. Because of its impure origin and the inseparability of its social, political, and biological layers of meaning, the history of this metaphor must be written as an interdisciplinary history.

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