David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of the History of Biology 34 (3):517-555 (2001)
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)|
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
Alexis De Tiège, Koen Tanghe, Johan Braeckman & Yves Van de Peer (2014). From DNA- to NA-Centrism and the Conditions for Gene-Centrism Revisited. Biology and Philosophy 29 (1):55-69.
Maurizio Esposito (2013). Weismann Versus Morgan Revisited: Clashing Interpretations on Animal Regeneration. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 46 (3):511-541.
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
David Haig (2007). Weismann Rules! OK? Epigenetics and the Lamarckian Temptation. Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):415-428.
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2000). Darwin on Variation and Heredity. Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):425-455.
Michael Bulmer (1999). The Development of Francis Galton's Ideas on the Mechanism of Heredity. Journal of the History of Biology 32 (2):263 - 292.
Ida H. Stamhuis (2003). The Reactions on Hugo de Vries's "Intracellular Pangenesis"; The Discussion with August Weismann. Journal of the History of Biology 36 (1):119 - 152.
Frederick B. Churchill (1968). August Weismann and a Break From Tradition. Journal of the History of Biology 1 (1):91 - 112.
James Tabery (2009). Difference Mechanisms: Explaining Variation with Mechanisms. Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):645-664.
André Pichot (1993). Héréditaire, Inné, Génétique, Etc. Acta Biotheoretica 41 (1-2).
August Weismann (1896). Germinal Selection. The Monist 6 (2):250-293.
Manfred D. Laubichler & Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (2006). August Weismann and Theoretical Biology. Biological Theory 1 (2):195-198.
Anthony J. Greene & William B. Levy (2000). Individual Differences: Variation by Design. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (5):676-677.
L. G. & D. M. (2001). The Varied Lives of Organisms: Variation in the Historiography of the Biological Sciences. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (1):1-29.
Eva Jablonka & Marion J. Lamb (2007). The Expanded Evolutionary Synthesis—a Response to Godfrey-Smith, Haig, and West-Eberhard. Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):453-472.
J. Michael Bailey (2000). Accounting for Female Strategic Variation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (4):589-589.
R. von Lendenfeld (1891). The Undying Germ-Plasm and the Immortal Soul. Mind 16 (61):92-99.
A. J. Lustig (2000). Sex, Death, and Evolution in Proto- and Metazoa, 1876-1913. Journal of the History of Biology 33 (2):221 - 246.
Added to index2011-06-11
Total downloads532 ( #313 of 1,102,136 )
Recent downloads (6 months)138 ( #304 of 1,102,136 )
How can I increase my downloads?