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  1. Of Germ-Plasm and Zymoplasm: August Weismann, Carlo Emery and the Debate About the Transmission of Acquired Characteristics.Ariane Dröscher - 2015 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 36 (3):394-403.
    In this essay I discuss the contents and the context of Italian zoologist and entomologist Carlo Emery’s discussion of the germ-plasm theory. August Weismann considered him one of his very few creditable supporters, and encouraged him to publish his theoretical reflections. In his Gedanken zur Descendenz- und Vererbungstheorie, which appeared between 1893 and 1903 as a series of five essays in the journal Biologisches Zentralblatt, Emery developed a very personal account, applying the concept of determinants to problems like atavism, sexual (...)
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  • Miranda’s Story: Molecules, Populations and the Mortal Organism.Paolo Palladino - 2011 - History of the Human Sciences 24 (5):0952695111415935.
    Biomedicine is today transforming the human condition, but how such transformation is to be understood is a matter of debate. I seek to contribute to the debate by focusing on recent developments within a relatively novel subfield of gerontology which is engaged in the bio-molecular and bio-demographic characterization of the processes associated with the development of the organism from birth to death. I argue that these developments aid understanding of the conceptual difficulties confronting neo-Darwinian biological thought and poststructuralist social theory (...)
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  • Making the Case for Orthogenesis: The Popularization of Definitely Directed Evolution.Mark A. Ulett - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 45 (1):124-132.
    Throughout the history of evolutionary theory a number of scientists have argued that evolution proceeds along a limited number of definite trajectories, a concept and group of theories known as “orthogenesis”. Beginning in the 1880s, influential evolutionists including Theodor Eimer, Edward Drinker Cope, and Leo Berg argued that a fully causal explanation of evolution must take into account the origin and nature of variation, an idea that implied orthogenesis in their views. This paper argues that these orthogenesis developed theories that (...)
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  • Was James Psychologistic?Alexander Klein - 2016 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 4 (5).
    As Thomas Uebel has recently argued, some early logical positivists saw American pragmatism as a kindred form of scientific philosophy. They associated pragmatism with William James, whom they rightly saw as allied with Ernst Mach. But what apparently blocked sympathetic positivists from pursuing commonalities with American pragmatism was the concern that James advocated some form of psychologism, a view they thought could not do justice to the a priori. This paper argues that positivists were wrong to read James as offering (...)
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  • On Recognising the Paradox of Sex.Joachim Dagg - 2016 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 8 (20160629).
    Discussions of the implications of sexual reproduction have appeared throughout the history of evolutionary biology, from Darwin to Weismann, Fisher, Muller, Maynard Smith, and Williams. The latest of these appearances highlighted an evolutionary paradox that had previously been overlooked. In many animal and plant species reproduction is obligately sexual and also half the offspring are male, yet the males contribute nothing but genes to reproduction. If asexual mutants of such a species were to produce as many asexual offspring on average (...)
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  • What’s Wrong with the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis? A Critical Reply to Welch.Koen B. Tanghe, Alexis De Tiège, Lieven Pauwels, Stefaan Blancke & Johan Braeckman - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):23.
    Welch :263–279, 2017) has recently proposed two possible explanations for why the field of evolutionary biology is plagued by a steady stream of claims that it needs urgent reform. It is either seriously deficient and incapable of incorporating ideas that are new, relevant and plausible or it is not seriously deficient at all but is prone to attracting discontent and to the championing of ideas that are not very relevant, plausible and/or not really new. He argues for the second explanation. (...)
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  • The Creativity of Natural Selection? Part I: Darwin, Darwinism, and the Mutationists.John Beatty - 2016 - Journal of the History of Biology 49 (4):659-684.
    This is the first of a two-part essay on the history of debates concerning the creativity of natural selection, from Darwin through the evolutionary synthesis and up to the present. Here I focus on the mid-late nineteenth century to the early twentieth, with special emphasis on early Darwinism and its critics, the self-styled “mutationists.” The second part focuses on the evolutionary synthesis and some of its critics, especially the “neutralists” and “neo-mutationists.” Like Stephen Gould, I consider the creativity of natural (...)
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  • Soma to Germline Inheritance of Extrachromosomal Genetic Information Via a LINE-1 Reverse Transcriptase-Based Mechanism.Corrado Spadafora - 2016 - Bioessays 38 (8):726-733.
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  • Overheated Rats, Race, and the Double Gland: Paul Kammerer, Endocrinology and the Problem of Somatic Induction. [REVIEW]Cheryl A. Logan - 2007 - Journal of the History of Biology 40 (4):683 - 725.
    In 1920, Eugen Steinach and Paul Kammerer reported experiments showing that exposure to high temperatures altered the structure of the gonad and produced hyper-sexuality in "heat rats," presumably as a result of the increased production of sex hormones. Using Steinach's evidence that the gonad is a double gland with distinct sexual and generative functions, they used their findings to explain "racial" differences in the sexuality of indigenous tropical peoples and Europeans. The authors also reported that heat induced anatomical changes in (...)
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  • August Weismann and Theoretical Biology.Manfred D. Laubichler & Hans-Jörg Rheinberger - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (2):195-198.
  • Weismann Versus Morgan Revisited: Clashing Interpretations on Animal Regeneration. [REVIEW]Maurizio Esposito - 2013 - Journal of the History of Biology 46 (3):511-541.
    This paper has three principal aims: first, through a detailed analysis of the hypotheses and assumptions underlying Weismann’s and Morgan’s disagreement on the nature of animal regeneration, it seeks to readdress the imbalance in coverage of their discussion, providing, at the same time, a fascinating case-study for those interested in general issues related to controversies in science. Second, contrary to Morgan’s beliefs according to which Weismann employed a speculative and unempirical method of scientific investigation, the article shows that Weismann performed (...)
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  • “Enfant Terrible”: Lancelot Hogben’s Life and Work in the 1920s.Steindór Erlingsson - 2016 - Journal of the History of Biology 49 (3):495-526.
    Until recently the British zoologist Lancelot Hogben has usually appeared as a campaigning socialist, an anti-eugenicist or a popularizer of science in the literature. The focus has mainly been on Hogben after he became a professor of social biology at the London School of Economics in 1930. This paper focuses on Hogben’s life in the 1920s. Early in the decade, while based in London, he focused on cytology, but in 1922, after moving to Edinburgh, he turned his focus on experimental (...)
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  • Human progress by human effort: neo-Darwinism, social heredity, and the professionalization of the American social sciences, 1889–1925.Emilie J. Raymer - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (4):63.
    Prior to August Weismann’s 1889 germ-plasm theory, social reformers believed that humans could inherit the effects of a salubrious environment and, by passing environmentally-induced modifications to their offspring, achieve continuous progress. Weismann’s theory disrupted this logic and caused many to fear that they had little control over human development. As numerous historians have observed, this contributed to the birth of the eugenics movement. However, through an examination of the work of social scientists Lester Frank Ward, Richard T. Ely, Amos Griswold (...)
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  • Mendel and the Path to Genetics: Portraying Science as a Social Process.Kostas Kampourakis - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (2):293-324.
    Textbook descriptions of the foundations of Genetics give the impression that besides Mendel’s no other research on heredity took place during the nineteenth century. However, the publication of the Origin of Species in 1859, and the criticism that it received, placed the study of heredity at the centre of biological thought. Consequently, Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin himself, Francis Galton, William Keith Brooks, Carl von Nägeli, August Weismann, and Hugo de Vries attempted to develop theories of heredity under an evolutionary perspective, (...)
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  • August Weismann Embraces the Protozoa.Frederick B. Churchill - 2010 - Journal of the History of Biology 43 (4):767 - 800.
    This paper examines the contents and institutional context of August Weismann's long essay on Amphimixis (1891). Therein he presented detailed discussions of his on-going studies of reduction division and parthenogenesis, but more to the point, he included an elaborate examination of Émile Maupas's two major publications in protozoology. To understand the relevance of this part to the other two, the author briefly reviews highpoints in earlier nineteenth century protozoology and concludes that only in the mid-1870s and 1880s did protozoa add (...)
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  • From DNA- to NA-Centrism and the Conditions for Gene-Centrism Revisited.Alexis De Tiège, Koen Tanghe, Johan Braeckman & Yves Van de Peer - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (1):55-69.
    First the ‘Weismann barrier’ and later on Francis Crick’s ‘central dogma’ of molecular biology nourished the gene-centric paradigm of life, i.e., the conception of the gene/genome as a ‘central source’ from which hereditary specificity unidirectionally flows or radiates into cellular biochemistry and development. Today, due to advances in molecular genetics and epigenetics, such as the discovery of complex post-genomic and epigenetic processes in which genes are causally integrated, many theorists argue that a gene-centric conception of the organism has become problematic. (...)
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  • Parts and Theories in Compositional Biology.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):471-499.
    I analyze the importance of parts in the style of biological theorizing that I call compositional biology. I do this by investigating various aspects, including partitioning frames and explanatory accounts, of the theoretical perspectives that fall under and are guided by compositional biology. I ground this general examination in a comparative analysis of three different disciplines with their associated compositional theoretical perspectives: comparative morphology, functional morphology, and developmental biology. I glean data for this analysis from canonical textbooks and defend the (...)
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  • The Expanded Evolutionary Synthesis—a Response to Godfrey-Smith, Haig, and West-Eberhard.Eva Jablonka & Marion J. Lamb - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):453-472.
    In responding to three reviews of Evolution in Four Dimensions (Jablonka and Lamb, 2005, MIT Press), we briefly consider the historical background to the present genecentred view of evolution, especially the way in which Weismann’s theories have influenced it, and discuss the origins of the notion of epigenetic inheritance. We reaffirm our belief that all types of hereditary information—genetic, epigenetic, behavioural and cultural—have contributed to evolutionary change, and outline recent evidence, mainly from epigenetic studies, that suggests that non-DNA heritable variations (...)
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