Article ID: CBB001230066

Gemmules and Elements: On Darwin's and Mendel's Concepts and Methods in Heredity (2010)


Deichmann, Ute (Author)

Journal for General Philosophy of Science
Volume: 41
Pages: 85--112

Publication Date: 2010
Edition Details: Part of a special issue: “Darwinism, Philosophy, and Experimental Biology”
Language: English

Inheritance and variation were a major focus of Charles Darwin's studies. Small inherited variations were at the core of his theory of organic evolution by means of natural selection. He put forward a developmental theory of heredity (pangenesis) based on the assumption of the existence of material hereditary particles. However, unlike his proposition of natural selection as a new mechanism for evolutionary change, Darwin's highly speculative and contradictory hypotheses on heredity were unfruitful for further research. They attempted to explain many complex biological phenomena at the same time, disregarded the then modern developments in cell theory, and were, moreover, faithful to the widespread conceptions of blending and so-called Lamarckian inheritance. In contrast, Mendel's approaches, despite the fact that features of his ideas were later not found to be tenable, proved successful as the basis for the development of modern genetics. Mendel took the study of the transmission of traits and its causes (genetics) out of natural history; by reducing complexity to simple particulate models, he transformed it into a scientific field of research. His scientific approach and concept of discrete elements (which later gave rise to the notion of discrete genes) also contributed crucially to the explanation of the existence of stable variations as the basis for natural selection.

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Article Bächtold, Manuel (2010) Saving Mach's View on Atoms. Journal for General Philosophy of Science (p. 1). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Bowler, Peter J.
Hall, Brian K.
Brown, William L.
Brzezinski Prestes, María Elice de
Canseco, Juan
Elsdon-Baker, Fern
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B, Molecular and Developmental Evolution
Biology and Philosophy
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Journal for General Philosophy of Science
Linnean Society of London
University of California, Berkeley
Cambridge University Press
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
Fundo Mackenzie de Pesquisa
Hill & Wang
Natural selection
Darwin, Charles Robert
Mendel, Gregor Johann
Galton, Francis
Gulick, John Thomas
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Brooks, William Keith
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
18th century
20th century, late
21st century
Great Britain
United States
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

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