LAMARCK, Jean Baptiste de (1744-1829). Philosophie zoologique, ou exposition des considrations relatives l'histoire naturelle des animaux. Paris: Dentu, the author, 1809.
3 parts in 2 volumes, 8o (216 x 139 mm). Half-titles. (Scattered mostly light spotting, occasional browning, small hole to 3/1 in vol. 1 catching 2 letters). Original plain blue wrappers, printed paper spine labels (minor wear to backstrips, slightly soiled); folding cloth case.
FIRST EDITION OF LAMARCK'S MOST COMPLETE PRESENTATION OF HIS THEORY OF EVOLUTION, "a classic in the literature of evolutionary theory" (PMM). Part I of the Philosophie zoologique presents in more detail Lamarck's theory of evolution as the result of two factors, the tendency of species toward increasing complexity and the influence of the environment, responsible for all variations from this norm. Although the concept of ranging all forms of life in a single series, from the simplest to the most complicated, dated back to antiquity, Lamarck's innovation was to suggest "that this scale corresponds to an order of historical development of the higher forms. This he did by tracing the progression in the reverse direction and observing the gradual changing, simplification and ultimate disappearance of the features distinguishing the higher forms as each lower scale is reached" (PMM). In Part II, Lamarck "developed his views on the physical nature of life, its spontaneous productions resulting in simple cellular tissue, and its characteristics at the simplest level, the lower ends of the plant and animal series. While these two parts were very important in summarizing many of his evolutionary views, they do not differ significantly from the positions of 1802. The third part contains the most important additions to the earlier theories. In this section Lamarck deals in great detail with the problem of a physical explanation for the emergence of higher mental facilities... Lamarck's breakthrough was tying a progressive development of higher mental facilities in a physical way to structural development of the nervous system... Higher mental faculties could emerge precisely because they were a product of increased structural complexity... For Lamarck one of the most important events in the evolutionary process was the development of the nervous system, particularly the brain, because at that point animals began to from ideas and control their movements" (DSB).
Garrison-Morton 216; PMM 262; Norman 1267. (2)