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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book A Sincere and Teachable Heart: Self-Denying Virtue in British Intellectual Life, 1736-1859, which discusses the importance of appeals to patience and humility when attempting to crack a very particular historical puzzle: evolutionary theory made painfully negligible headway for several years after Darwin published the Origin but then, in the blink of five years, emerged as scientific orthodoxy. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the British grounded intellectual respectability and authority foremost in stable norms of good character and moral responsibility. That the Victorian fixated on "values" has slipped from commonplace to platitude. The book concludes that Darwin won the war of ideas only after he demonstrated that acceptance of evolution was compatible with the moral conduct at the heart of the inductive method.

Keywords: British; Christian; Darwin; humility; Self-Denying Virtue



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