reviewing the book, therefore, Kant was naturally led to touch upon the subject of organic evolution. The passage runs as follows:
It is surely one of the humorous incidents in the history of science that more than one grave historian should have found, in the writings of this very period when Kant repudiated evolutionism with the tremulous emotion of a child frightened by a hobgoblin, the idea of evolution playing "the same rôle as in contemporary science."
5. The Essay "On the Use of Teleological Principles in Philosophy"—To the title of this article, published in 1788, the contents do not altogether closely correspond. Part of it is, indeed, a prelude to the examination of the conception of purposiveness in nature given two years later in the "Kritik of Judgment"; but a greater part consists in a defence of the theories of his two papers on the idea of race against certain critics. For the purposes of the present inquiry those theories have already been sufficiently expounded. But it is worth while noting that, in the case of one of his critics, Forster, Kant supposed himself to be confronted with a definite evolutionary theory, upon which he felt obliged to pass judgment. The articles of what Kant understood to be Forster's "system" were these:
- There is a reference to the species question in a fragment in the "Lose Blätter" (I., 137 f.), assigned by Reicke to 1787. This is probably merely a draft for part of the essay here considered. The fragment is in the usual vein; Kant speaks in it, for example, of "the inconceivable constancy of species, in the midst of so many causes affecting them and modifying their development."
- Kant's language clearly seems to ascribe these ideas to Forster, but quite without justification from anything in Forster's article. So far from fathering this system, Forster mentions it as an example of an over-ambitious hypothesis, beyond the reach of verification by man, and therefore beyond the limits of true science ("Teutsche Merkur," 1786, pp. 57-86, 150-166). And in his "Kleine