Instinct in the ‘50s: The British Reception of Konrad Lorenz’s Theory of Instinctive Behavior

Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):609-631 (2004)

Authors
Paul Edmund Griffiths
University of Sydney
Abstract
At the beginning of the 1950s most students of animal behavior in Britain saw the instinct concept developed by Konrad Lorenz in the 1930s as the central theoretical construct of the new ethology. In the mid 1950s J.B.S. Haldane made substantial efforts to undermine Lorenz''s status as the founder of the new discipline, challenging his priority on key ethological concepts. Haldane was also critical of Lorenz''s sharp distinction between instinctive and learnt behavior. This was inconsistent with Haldane''s account of the evolution of language, and, according to Haldane, inconsistent with elementary genetics. British attitudes to the instinct concept changed dramatically in the wake of Daniel S. Lehraman''s 1953 critique of Lorenz, and by the 1960s Lorenz drew a clear distinction between his own views and those of the English-speaking ethologists. The inconsistencies between Lorenz''s ideas and the trends in contemporary evolutionary genetics that are reflected in Haldane''s critiques may help to explain why the Lorenzian instinct concept was unable to maintain itself in Britian.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Biology   Evolutionary Biology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/sBIPH-004-0537-z
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,355
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Study of Instinct.N. Tinbergen - 1954 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5 (17):72-76.
Evolution: The Modern Synthesis.Julian Huxley - 1944 - Philosophy 19 (73):166-170.
Evolution: The Modern Synthesis.Julian Huxley - 1944 - Science and Society 8 (1):90-93.
The Instinct Concept of the Early Konrad Lorenz.Ingo Brigandt - 2005 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):571–608..
Giving Up Instincts in Psychology.Zing Yang Kuo - 1921 - Journal of Philosophy 18 (24):645-664.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Innateness and the Sciences.Matteo Mameli & Patrick Bateson - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):155-188.
Animal Behavior.Stephen J. Crowley & Colin Allen - 2008 - In Michael Ruse (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press. pp. 327--348.
Behavioural Ecology's Ethological Roots.Jean-Sébastien Bolduc - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (3):674-683.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Robustness in Signaling Games.Simon M. Huttegger - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):839-847.
Ethology, Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology.Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2011 - In Sahotra Sarkar & Anya Plutynski (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. West Sussex, UK: Wiley/Blackwell. pp. 393-414.
The Instinct Concept of the Early Konrad Lorenz.Ingo Brigandt - 2005 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):571–608..

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
109 ( #78,339 of 2,286,101 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #52,849 of 2,286,101 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature