Duquesne University

Darwin and the Split between Natural and Sexual Selection

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Elizabeth Grosz April 1, 2009, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Power Center Ballroom
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost

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Elizabeth Grosz is a philosopher who currently holds the position of Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. In 2004 she published The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely which explores the lasting effects of the theories of time developed by Darwin, Nietzsche, and Bergson. Grosz argues for re-addressing Darwin’s emphasis on dynamism and the imperative to change in terms of its profound philosophical implications, particularly in the arena of social activism.

Abstract: Charles Darwin very carefully distinguished natural selection, also known as the survival of the fittest, from sexual selection, the ability to attract possible sexual partners, by devoting a separate major text to each of these concepts. This distinction, while broadly acknowledged in much of contemporary biology, is nevertheless, generally treated reductively. Sexual selection is commonly regarded as a sub-branch of natural selection. This talk will explore the ways in which these two principles, in their conceptual separation, are necessary to understand the sometimes non-adaptive derangements that sexuality entails within animal and human, natural and cultural existence.

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