Article ID: CBB472956032

Leave Lamarck Alone! Why the Use of the Term “Lamarckism” and Its Cognates Must Be Shunned (2019)


Tanghe, Koen B. (Author)

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
Volume: 62
Issue: 1
Pages: 72-94
Publication date: 2019
Language: English

Many scholars avoid the use of the term “Darwinism.” It is not ideal, even to refer to Darwin’s own complex and fluid thinking about evolution, let alone to modern transformations of his ideas. The addition of the prefix neo- for those modern transformations does not solve the terminological problem. The same argument can be made for Lamarckism and its cognates: they are not ideal or meaningful labels to refer to Lamarck’s heterogeneous ideas. Lamarck’s name is even less appropriate as a label for modern developments in biology and, particularly, for the idea of the (presumed) inheritance of acquired characters. The dichotomous framing of modern thinking about evolution in terms of “Darwinian” and “Lamarckian” is especially confusing and un-helpful. Historians are obliged to use historical terms like “Lamarckism” or “Darwinism,” but philosophers and biologists should try to avoid using these terms and their cognates and learn to use more precise and less ambiguous, confusing, misleading, and emotionally charged words and phrases.

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Authors & Contributors
Hossfeld, Uwe
Ansart, Guillaume
Brömer, Rainer
Camós i Cabeceran, Agustí
Català Gorgues, Jesús Ignasi
Eldredge, Niles
Journal of the History of Biology
Asclepio: Archivo Iberoamericano de Historia de la Medicina
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Istoriko-Biologicheskie Issledovaniia
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Indiana University
Acumen Publishers
Columbia University Press
Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung
Natural selection
Rhetoric in scientific discourse
Darwin, Charles Robert
Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Antoine Pierre de Monet de
Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
Asajiro, Oka
Beurlen, Karl
Butler, Samuel
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
20th century, early
Great Britain
Soviet Union
Catalonia (Spain)

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