Brief on Chapter Three of On the Origin of Species

My senior seminar in philosophy is on Darwinism’s impact on philosophy.  We had to read the entirety of On the Origin of Species and brief each chapter.  Here is my brief for chapter three.

Chapter 3: The Struggle for Existence

In this chapter, Darwin explains that the struggle for life is a mechanism by which speciation and adaptation occurs.  The struggle for life drives natural selection, which Darwin discusses in the next chapter.  According to Darwin, the struggle for life refers to creaturely dependence on other creatures or environmental conditions and to the competition for resources.  Species grow at a geometric rate, whereas resources such as food grow at an arithmetic rate.  The small amount of resources keeps species from increasing exponentially and overpopulating the planet.  The reasons members of any species die includes lack of resources they are dependent on, being preyed upon by predator species, and the effects of the environment on each species.  When beneficial variations that aid survival occur between members of each species, those species are more likely to survive and pass on those traits.  The members that suffer detrimental variations are more likely to die and not pass on those traits.  This leads on to chapter four on Natural Selection.

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