Biology and Philosophy 5 (3):267-292 (1990)
|Abstract||According to the traditional account Mendel's paper on pea hybrids reported a study of inheritance and its laws. Hence, Mendel came to be known as The Father of Genetics. This paper demonstrates that, in fact, Mendel's objective in his research was finding the empirical laws which describe the formation of hybrids and the development of their offspring over several generations. Having found these laws (and not the laws of inheritance that he is generally credited with) he proposed a theoretical scheme involving the formation of germinal and pollen cells in hybrids and their combination in fertilization competent to explain why his laws took the form that they did. Mendel's research shows a pattern of development closely paralleling the stages of empirical investigation beginning at the level of qualitative description in common language rising through four levels of increasing abstraction and culminating in a fifth level, his simple mechanical theory. This mechanism met all the tests that a theory of this type must pass. In that respect Mendel was highly successful and this success might be the reason why he did not push his theory to a higher level, a sixth level involving the use of particulate determiners; despite this fact, Mendel was credited with having taken exactly that step.|
|Keywords||Mendel theory of hybrids Mendelian laws symbolic notation levels of conceptualization|
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