chapter  Chapter Two
7 Pages

Darwin and Freud

ByRobert Langs, James O. Raney, David Smith

The two giants of biological science of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries most certainly were Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud. Freud was but three years old when Darwin, after much delay, published his Origin of Species. Freud’s theory was hermeneutic and concept-driven, a search of nature for confirmatory evidence for theoretical constructs rather than an observation-driven theory that could readily be modified by inexplicable observables—a basic reason why Freudian theory is not falsifiable. In contrast, Darwin was a meticulous observer whose methods were selectionistic in that his observations directed a selection among competing theories for the set of ideas that best fit with his observables. Another aspect of the respective work of Darwin and Freud played a notable role in the differences in the structure and fate of the theories that each formulated. Darwin’s domain was the wonderful world of natural species, past and present.