Should “Heredity” and “Inheritance” Be Biological Terms? William Bateson’s Change of Mind as a Historical and Philosophical Problem

Philosophy of Science 79 (5):714-724 (2012)
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In 1894, William Bateson objected to the terms “heredity” and “inheritance” in biology, on grounds of contamination with misleading notions from the everyday world. Yet after the rediscovery of Mendel's work in the spring of 1900, Bateson promoted that work as disclosing the “principles of heredity.” For historians of science, Bateson's change of mind provides a new angle on these terms at a crucial moment in their history. For philosophers of science, the case can serve as a reminder of the potential of Putnam's hypothesis of a division of linguistic labor for analyzing the semantic lives of scientific kind terms.



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Gregory Radick
University of Leeds

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References found in this work

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
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Physics in the Galtonian Sciences of Heredity.Gregory Radick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):129-138.
Intellectual Property, Plant Breeding and the Making of Mendelian Genetics.Berris Charnley & Gregory Radick - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (2):222-233.

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