On the Origin of Species | Study Guide

Charles Darwin

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On the Origin of Species | Chapter Summaries


Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Introduction Darwin begins by framing his work within the context of his voyage aboard the HMS Beagle, stating the conclusions he rea... Read More
Chapter 1 Darwin states a large degree of the variability in species is due to humankind's "domestic production." He argues the cu... Read More
Chapter 2 In the second chapter, Darwin starts by defining some of the terms he introduced in the first chapter to set up his argu... Read More
Chapter 3 After attempting to further define the term species, Darwin moves on to what he sees as the driving force behind the nat... Read More
Chapter 4 In this chapter Darwin describes how the principle of natural selection applies not only to domesticated animals but als... Read More
Chapter 5 In Chapter 5 Darwin is concerned with describing the laws of variation, although he admits "our ignorance ... is profoun... Read More
Chapter 6 Chapter 6 is focused on addressing the potential objections to Darwin's theory of natural selection. The chapter deals s... Read More
Chapter 7 Darwin dedicates this chapter to addressing objections raised by scientists in previous versions of On the Origin of Spe... Read More
Chapter 8 In this chapter Darwin discusses the idea natural selection informs not only physical characteristics but instincts as w... Read More
Chapter 9 In this chapter Darwin explains when two "pure" species interbreed, they may produce few offspring, and when these offsp... Read More
Chapter 10 In this chapter Darwin discusses the geological record in detail, focusing on why there are so few "intermediate links" ... Read More
Chapter 11 In chapter 11 Darwin is mainly concerned with delving further into the "imperfection of the geological record." Claims t... Read More
Chapter 12 Having discussed the geological history of species, Darwin now offers evidence for their geological distribution—a natur... Read More
Chapter 13 In this chapter Darwin discusses the distribution of classes, genera, and species in regards to freshwater systems and i... Read More
Chapter 14 Darwin dedicates this chapter to describing the current classification system for organisms, along with its inherent iss... Read More
Chapter 15 In the final chapter Darwin notes the book has been "one long argument," and his goal is to summarize the arguments in a... Read More
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