During the second half the nineteenth century, the conscience of Victorian society was troubled by the spreading of the movement against the smallpox vaccination, imposed by English Government. A preconceived fear of the artificial inoculation of the virus in the human body caused the reaction of both the common people and clergy, and the progressist politicians, which gave the priority to a general reform of the social health; pilosophers and naturalists, such as Spencer and Wallace, also objected the vaccination, to a certain extent following the opinion previousely expressed by Kant. Wallace himslef, who, together with Darwin, conceived the theory of Natural Selection, was one of the leaders of the anti-vaccination movement. Wallace deemed to be "more darwinian than Darwin himself", but, being actually a spiritualist, he gave to the action of Natural Selection an absolute value, and considered it as the manifestation of the perfect harmony of the whole living world. According to Wallace, Evolution followed a preestablished plan, and Man represented in that contest the final aim. The concordance of Man with the natural environment, including virus and bacteria, should have not been disturbed by vaccination; Wallace instead pointed out that a social and ethical advancement was needed: better healthy living conditions would have guaranteed an higher level of hygiene and a lower tendency to illness. Later on, smallpox was eradicated by using the same tool i.e. vaccination, but the vaccine was employed in doses which were very reduced and purified compared those used during the Wallace age.
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|Data di pubblicazione:||1992|
|Titolo:||'Nothing in Nature that Is not Useful'. The Anti-vaccination Crusade and the Idea of harmonia naturae in Alfred Russel Wallace|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Articolo su rivista|
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