BlurbPurchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: changes; and even if the cause of the variation is of a psychological nature, we can hardly call it an effort, unless we give a very unusual extension to the meaning of the word. The truth is, it is necessary to dig beneath the effort Innk for a dpppfr cruise. This is especially necessary, we believe, if we wish to get at a cause of regular hereditary variations. We are not going to enter here into the controversies over the transmissibility of acquired characters; still less do we wish to take too definite a side on this question, which is not within our province. But we cannot remain completely indifferent to it. Nowhere is it clearer that philosophers can not to-day content themselves with vague generalities, but must follow the scientists in experimental detail and discuss the results with them. If Spencer had begun by putting to himself the question of the heredita- bility of acquired characters, his evolutionism would no doubt have taken an altogether different form. If (as seems probable to us) a habit contracted by the individual were transmitted to its descendants only in very exceptional cases, all the Spencerian psychology would need re-making, and a large part of Spencer's philosophy would fall to pieces. Let us say, then, how the problem seems to us to present itself, and in what direction an attempt might be made to solve it. After having been affirmed as a dogma, the transmissibility of acquired characters has been no less dogmatically denied, for reasons drawn o priori from the supposed nature of germinal cells. It is well known how Weismann was led, by his hypothesis of the continuity of the germ-plasm, to regard the germinal cells ? ova and spermatozoa ? as almost independent of the somatic cells. Starting from this, it has been claimed, and is still claime...
Member Reviews Write your own review
Be the first person to reviewLog in to comment