The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition) (2012)

Ehud Lamm
Tel Aviv University
Organisms inherit various kinds of developmental information and cues from their parents. The study of inheritance systems is aimed at identifying and classifying the various mechanisms and processes of heredity, the types of hereditary information that is passed on by each, the functional interaction between the different systems, and the evolutionary consequences of these properties. We present the discussion of inheritance systems in the context of several debates. First, between proponents of monism about heredity (gene-centric views), holism about heredity (Developmental Systems Theory), and those stressing the role of multiple systems of inheritance. Second, between those analyzing inheritance solely in terms of replication and transmission, and views that stress the multi-generation reproduction of phenotypic traits. A third debate is concerned with different criteria that have been proposed for identifying and delimiting inheritance systems. A fourth controversy revolves around the significance of the “Lamarckian” aspects of some of the inheritance systems that have been identified, such as epigenetic inheritance and behavioral inheritance, that allow the transmission of environmentally induced characters (i.e., “soft inheritance”).
Keywords inheritance system  replicator  reproducer  information  Jablonka  niche construction
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,480
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Price Equation and Extended Inheritance.Heikki Helanterä & Tobias Uller - 2010 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 2 (20130604).
Weismann Rules! OK? Epigenetics and the Lamarckian Temptation.David Haig - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):415-428.
The Inheritance of Features.Matteo Mameli - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):365-399.


Added to PP index

Total views
64 ( #144,590 of 2,330,619 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #255,600 of 2,330,619 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes