Darwin on Variation and Heredity

Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):425-455 (2000)

Authors
Rasmus Winther
University of California, Santa Cruz
Abstract
Darwin's ideas on variation, heredity, and development differ significantly from twentieth-century views. First, Darwin held that environmental changes, acting either on the reproductive organs or the body, were necessary to generate variation. Second, heredity was a developmental, not a transmissional, process; variation was a change in the developmental process of change. An analysis of Darwin's elaboration and modification of these two positions from his early notebooks (1836-1844) to the last edition of the /Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication/ (1875) complements previous Darwin scholarship on these issues. Included in this analysis is a description of the way Darwin employed the distinction between transmission and development, as well as the conceptual relationship he saw between heredity and variation. This paper is part of a larger project comparing commitments regarding variation during the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Keywords Charles Darwin  development  externalism  generation  heredity  Pangenesis  nineteenth century  transmission  variation
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DOI 10.1023/A:1004834008068
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References found in this work BETA

The Dialectical Biologist.Richard Levins - 1985 - Harvard University Press.
The Triumph of the Darwinian Method.Michael T. Ghiselin - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 40 (3):466-467.
Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature.D. Walsh - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (4):613-617.
Evolution: The History of an Idea.Peter J. Bowler - 1985 - Journal of the History of Biology 18 (1):155-157.

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Citations of this work BETA

August Weismann on Germ-Plasm Variation.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2001 - Journal of the History of Biology 34 (3):517-555.
Cell Theory, Specificity, and Reproduction, 1837–1870.Staffan Müller-Wille - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (3):225-231.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

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