Evolutionary ideas of the Renaissance and Enlightenment

Evolutionary ideas during the periods of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment developed over a time when natural history became more sophisticated during the 17th and 18th centuries, and as the scientific revolution and the rise of mechanical philosophy encouraged viewing the natural world as a machine with workings capable of analysis. But the evolutionary ideas of the early 18th century were of a religious and spiritural nature. In the second half of the 18th century more materialistic and explicit ideas about biological evolution began to emerge, adding further strands in the history of evolutionary thought.

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