Life: A Modern Invention, Reviewed at NDPR

Davide Tarizzo’s Life: A Modern Invention, tr. Mark William Epstein (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), is reviewed by Charles T. Wolfe (Ghent U.). The review marks out only “minor quibbles” and jumps, like the book, across so many figures as to lose any thread on what is meant by the “invention” of “life” (presumably one that is non-teleological). One would think this was more than a “minor quibble” below in the italicized sentence:

That Tarizzo thinks Darwin and Darwinism lead to Hitlerism is clear enough: “Darwinism, i.e., the theory of natural selection, is racist and discriminatory, as facts have demonstrated many times and unfortunately continue to demonstrate” (194). Why this is the case is a bit trickier to make out from his book [my emphasis]. Most basically, both raise life to the status of an ultimate value. But then, we (we moderns, we people of today, whoever the ‘we’ is) are just as bad! Indeed, “Worse still, we are the last racists, because we already embody the future, we embody human beings to come, we embody the eschatological Race that by definition and on principle cannot be followed by any other” (213).



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