Re-examining lamarck : a historical perspective on the debate concerning directed mutation
This thesis argues that evolutionary theory uses metaphors to construct working scientific models and that these metaphors need not be empirically "true'' for the model to be effective. Furthermore, the historical exclusion of one model in favor of another by scientists does not necessarily imply the empirical superiority of one model over another. Additionally, this thesis examines the dialectic between Jean Baptiste Lamarck's theory of evolution and that of Charles Darwin with an emphasis on how successive evolutionists reinterpreted and reformulated this dialectic. Finally, this dialectic is phrased in terms of the current debate over directed mutation dealing specifically with the responses to the experimental results of John Cairns, Julie Overbaugh, and Stephan Miller as published in the September 8, 1988 edition of Nature. It is hoped that this historical analysis will shed some light on why the findings in this experiment are so controversial and on the role the "history of error" plays in contemporary science.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Levens, Joshua Philip, "Re-examining lamarck : a historical perspective on the debate concerning directed mutation" (1997). HIM 1990-2015. 78.