Journal of the History of Biology 39 (3):525 - 563 (2006)

Sander Gliboff
Indiana University, Bloomington
To some, a misguided Lamarckian and a fraud, to others a martyr in the fight against Darwinism, the Viennese zoologist Paul Kammerer (1880-1926) remains one of the most controversial scientists of the early 20th century. Here his work is reconsidered in light of turn-of-the-century problems in evolutionary theory and experimental methodology, as seen from Kammerer's perspective in Vienna. Kammerer emerges not as an opponent of Darwinism, but as one would-be modernizer of the 19th-century theory, which had included a role for the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Kammerer attempted a synthesis of Darwinism with genetics and the chromosome theory, while retaining the modifying effects of the environment as the main source of favorable variation, and he developed his program of experimentation to support it. Kammerer never had a regular university position, but worked at a private experimental laboratory, with sidelines as a teacher and a popular writer and lecturer. On the lecture circuit he held forth on the significance of his science for understanding and furthering cultural evolution and he satisfied his passion for the arts and performance. In his dual career as researcher and popularizer, he did not always follow academic convention. In the contentious and rapidly changing fields of heredity and evolution, some of his stances and practices, as well as his outsider status and part-Jewish background, aroused suspicion and set the stage for the scandal that ended his career and prompted his suicide.
Keywords Darwinism  evolution  experiment  Hans Przibram  Hugo Iltis  laboratory  Lamarckism  Mendelism  Paul Kammerer  Vienna  Vivarium  William Bateson
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10739-005-3051-5
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,268
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

Evolution: The Modern Synthesis.Julian Huxley - 1944 - Philosophy 19 (73):166-170.
Life Sciences in the Twentieth Century.Garland Allen - 1976 - Journal of the History of Biology 9 (2):323-323.
The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth.Peter J. Bowler - 1990 - Journal of the History of Biology 23 (3):529-531.
The Biological Basis of Human Nature.L. L. Bernard - 1931 - Journal of Philosophy 28 (13):359-362.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Gateway, Instrument, Environment: The Aquarium as a Hybrid Space Between Animal Fancying and Experimental Zoology.Christian Reiß - 2012 - NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 20 (4):309-336.
Freud’s Lamarckism’ and the Politics of Racial Science.Eliza Slavet - 2008 - Journal of the History of Biology 41 (1):37-80.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Built for Speed, Not for Comfort.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 2001 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 23:423-463.
The Toronto Manifesto.David Loye - 2002 - World Futures 58 (2 & 3):125 – 126.
The Discovery of Evolution.David Young - 2007 - Cambridge University Press, in Association with Natural History Museum, London.
Mutationism and the Dual Causation of Evolutionary Change.Arlin Stoltzfus - 2006 - Evolution and Development 8 (3):304-317.
Universal Darwinism and Evolutionary Social Science.Richard R. Nelson - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):73-94.


Added to PP index

Total views
57 ( #185,377 of 2,444,960 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #457,173 of 2,444,960 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes