I've enjoyed working on my paper, to a degree. There were things I already new, of course, like the fact that Darwin's ideas weren't new at the time, but I had not realized the extent of this. I also had assumed that naturalism had really evolved after Darwin published his work, but the truth was that Darwin himself was a naturalist. What started as simply a look on Darwin's influence on naturalism in turn has come full circle to naturalism's impact on Darwin, as well as the roots of naturalism.
Ah, but that last part presents a problem, and one I am sad to say I do not have time to adequately deal justice. One of my sources makes a link to naturalistic themes used in ancient times. However, it is difficult to separate out the ideas of a handful of powerful individuals as opposed to a social movement. To do so would require an in-depth analysis of historical links to naturalism, perhaps a look at the roots of evolutionary theory (some of which is debated), and a cross cultural analysis to see if naturalism arose primarily from one background, or if it evolved separately in various cultures, both possibilities having different implications concerning the nature of philosophy.
This brings me to the point I want to end on this week. I had not looked at naturalism really as a social movement. Perhaps it is because my studies have looked more at the early 1900s, when such ideas were getting adapted to various evolutionary theories on culture and social darwinism. Perhaps it was my own optimism that limited my sight, as I see naturalism as an incredibly bleak perspective, suggesting that humans are inherently horrible creatures and that society only holds us back so that when we give into our urges it is that much worse. To be honest, I do find it depressing that naturalism was the idea gripping intellectuals at the time. I suppose it hardly matters, however, as the past is the past. I just need to remember that it isn't people's past love of naturalism that matters, but the fact the majority of society has moved past that. I just hope it is on to better things. In the end, however, only time will really tell.