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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   5 January [1864]1

Jan 5

Dear Charles.

This is only a memorandum for you. In 1st Dec No of Revue de deux Mondes is an article by Paul Janet on “Materialism Contemporain” chiefly on your book.2 It is on final causes not as against your system but to be combined with it. I think it would be worth reading. I do hope you are getting better

Yours affectionately | E D


The year is established by the reference to Janet 1863 (see n. 2, below).
Paul Janet’s 1863 article was entitled ‘Le matérialisme contemporain: une théorie anglaise sur les causes finales’ (‘Contemporary materialism: an English theory of final causes’). This early French review of Origin did not clearly accept or reject CD’s theory, but stated that zoologists should be the ultimate judges. However, Janet also wrote that natural selection was only acceptable if its results were foreordained and compatible with the notion of God as the final cause (see L. L. Clark 1984, p. 17, and Tort 1996, p. 2382). A lightly annotated copy of Janet 1863 is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.


Clark, Linda L. 1984. Social Darwinism in France. [Birmingham], Alabama: University of Alabama Press.

Janet, Paul Alexandre René. 1863. Le matérialisme contemporain. Une théorie anglaise sur les causes finales. Revue des deux mondes 48: 556–86.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Tort, Patrick. 1996. Dictionnaire du Darwinisme et de l’evolution. 3 vols. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.


Calls CD’s attention to an article by Paul Janet.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: B21–2
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4379,” accessed on 30 September 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12