Darwin's Pangenesis and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives

In earlier work I have argued that the most substantial threat to scientific realism arises from the problem of unconceived alternatives: the repeated failure of past scientists and scientific communities to conceive of alternatives to extant scientific theories, even when such alternatives were both (1) well confirmed by the evidence available at the time and (2) sufficiently scientifically serious as to be later embraced by actual scientific communities. In this paper I explore Charles Darwin's development and defense of his 'pangenesis' theory of inheritance and conclude that this particular historical example offers impressive support for the challenge posed to realism by this problem of unconceived alternatives
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axi158
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,201
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Timothy D. Lyons (2009). Non-Competitor Conditions in the Scientific Realism Debate. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (1):65-84.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Michael Devitt (2011). Are Unconceived Alternatives a Problem for Scientific Realism? Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):285-293.
Daniel Steel (2011). On Not Changing the Problem: A Reply to Howson. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (3):285 - 291.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

317 ( #7,747 of 1,940,955 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #74,057 of 1,940,955 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.