Durdík and Hostinský: The Origins of Darwinism in Czech Lands

Karel Stibral


The text is focused on the acceptance and perception of Darwinism in 19th-century Bohemia, when the diffusion and interpretation of Darwin’s teachings were paradoxical connected with two professors of aesthetics from Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague, Josef Durdík and Otakar Hostinský. Although they somewhat simplified the theory of natural selection, they understood Darwin’s theory to be the arrival of a new paradigm (in contrast to contemporary biologists working in the Czech lands). This text presents and compares both aestheticians’ interpretations of Darwinism, mainly their stance on the theory of natural selection, the possibilities for applying this theory to aesthetics and art theory, as well as their relationship to Darwin’s interpretation of aesthetic phenomena in nature. As a supplement, a short emphasis on Darwin’s teaching in texts of other Czech aesteticians (Tyrš, Klácel, Volek) follows.


Czech Darwinism; aesthetics; Durdík; Hostinský

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: http://teorievedy.flu.cas.cz /// email: teorievedy@flu.cas.cz