History of Austro-Libertarian Thought

384 – 322 B.C.

Species are fixed. No evolution. "Only man can give rise to man."

1225 – 1274

Species are fixed. No evolution.

1632 – 1704

In the great chain of beings, living creatures "evolve" in easy steps, without chasms or gaps between species; in the process of ascending from animals to men each stage differs very little from the next one; properties of different species are partly variable and species can miscegenate and produce monsters or new species on occasion.

1840 – 1921

Organisms exhibit functionality of all their parts which is helpful in their preservation and propagation — this functionality is the result of a natural process; there is, therefore, an analogy between the origin of natural organisms and these social phenomena that are not the result of human design.

1851 – 1914

No mention.

1881 – 1973

The onset of human beings changed the nature of evolution, which need no longer be characterized by violent struggle.

1899 – 1992

The importance of the Darwinian theory and process of phylogenetic sifting of the gene pool via natural selection is downgraded; evolution is seen as ontogenetic development of organisms from their genetic make-up; socioeconomic evolution is Lamarckian and differs from the biological one by consisting in transmission of acquired characteristics.

1905 – 1982

The evolutionary theory is neither supported nor opposed, it is treated as a mere hypothesis; there is a qualitative gap between humans and animals due to man's rational faculty; however, humans may still be evolving from apes to Supermen (in whom rational faculty is the dominant trait) and live next to the sub-human "missing links" in whom rational faculty is inert.

1926 – 1995

Differences between humans (e.g., in intelligence) have biological basis and are partly hereditary; survival of the fittest is a meaningless tautology since in biology the fittest are these who have survived (so it reads: survival of these who have survived); luck plays a significant part in survival; for these reasons biology cannot be used as a standard for ethics.

The role of environmental challenges in the evolution of the human mind is stressed.

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