Winlow, H (2019) 'Lamarckianism.' In: Kobayashi, A, ed. International encyclopedia of human geography. 2nd ed. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 77-86. ISBN 9780081022955

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Lamarckian doctrines had a widespread influence on the development of evolutionary ideas in the 19th and early 20th centuries—an influence that has increasingly been recognized by recent historians of science. At a time when the evolutionary mechanism was still open to interpretation and scientific proof of genetic inheritance was in its infancy, an intermingling of Darwinian and Lamarckian evolutionary theories was evident in the writings of biological and social theorists alike. This entry outlines the historical development of Lamarckianism and the late 19th Century emergence of a neo-Lamarackian movement, which emphasized selected elements of Lamarck's original thesis. The influence of Lamarckian theories on the emergence of modern geography is illustrated through selected examples, focusing on: American geography, including the work of W.M. Davis and E.C. Semple; theories of mutual aid in Russia, evidenced through the work of P. Kropotkin; the development of regional geography in the work of P. Vidal de la Blache; and the racial geographies of H.J. Fleure in Britain and E. Huntington in the United States. By the late 1920s, neo-Lamarckianism had been replaced by the modern Darwinian synthesis and gradually these theories disappeared from geographical accounts. In recent decades, some social scientists have argued for the continued relevance of Lamarckian ideas in social and cultural evolution, reengaging with concepts such as mutual aid and arguing that new inventions, new ideas, and new ways of organizing the world are inherited by future generations. In the last few years, the development of epigenetics has also led some biological scientists to reengage with earlier Lamarckian theories.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Keywords: environment, epigenetics, evolution, genetics, (inheritance of) acquired characteristics ladder metaphor, Lamarckianism, linear progressionism, mutual aid, neo-Lamarckianism, organism analogy, possibilism, racial hierarchy, regional geography, social Darwinism, use-inheritance
Divisions: School of Sciences
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Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2023 11:25
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2023 11:25
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