August Weismann on Germ-Plasm Variation

Journal of the History of Biology 34 (3):517-555 (2001)
Abstract
August Weismann is famous for having argued against the inheritance of acquired characters. However, an analysis of his work indicates that Weismann always held that changes in external conditions, acting during development, were the necessary causes of variation in the hereditary material. For much of his career he held that acquired germ-plasm variation was inherited. An irony, which is in tension with much of the standard twentieth-century history of biology, thus exists – Weismann was not a Weismannian. I distinguish three claims regarding the germ-plasm: (1) its continuity, (2) its morphological sequestration, and (3) its variational sequestration. With respect to changes in Weismann’s views on the cause of variation, I divide his career into four stages. For each stage I analyze his beliefs on the relative importance of changes in external conditions and sexual reproduction as causes of variation in the hereditary material. Weismann believed, and Weismannism denies, that variation, heredity, and development were deeply intertwined processes. This article is part of a larger project comparing commitments regarding variation during the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Keywords August Weismann  development  evolutionary developmental biology  externalism  genetics  germ-plasm  heredity  inheritance of acquired characters  nineteenth century  sexual reproduction  variation
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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 Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, August Weismann on Germ-Plasm Variation
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.

Citations of this work BETA
Frederick B. Churchill (2010). August Weismann Embraces the Protozoa. Journal of the History of Biology 43 (4):767 - 800.
Mark A. Ulett (2014). Making the Case for Orthogenesis: The Popularization of Definitely Directed Evolution (1890–1926). Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45:124-132.
Similar books and articles
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2000). Darwin on Variation and Heredity. Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):425-455.
Frederick B. Churchill (1968). August Weismann and a Break From Tradition. Journal of the History of Biology 1 (1):91 - 112.
J. Michael Bailey (2000). Accounting for Female Strategic Variation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (4):589-589.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-06-11

Total downloads

498 ( #276 of 1,100,860 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

203 ( #138 of 1,100,860 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


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