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Whatever Happened to Reversion?

Pence, Charles H. (2022) Whatever Happened to Reversion? [Preprint]

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Abstract

The idea of ‘reversion’ or ‘atavism’ has a peculiar history. For many authors in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries – including Darwin, Galton, Pearson, Weismann, and Spencer, among others – reversion was one of the central phenomena which a theory of heredity ought to explain. By only a few decades later, however, Fisher and others could look back upon reversion as a historical curiosity, a non-problem, or even an impediment to clear theorizing. I explore various reasons that reversion might have appeared to be a central problem for this first group of figures, focusing on their commitment to a variety of conceptual features of evolutionary theory; discuss why reversion might have then ceased to be an interesting phenomenon; and, finally, close with some more general thoughts about the death of scientific problems.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Pence, Charles H.charles@charlespence.net0000-0002-6836-6047
Keywords: reversion, atavism, Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, Karl Pearson, W. F. R. Weldon, R. A. Fisher
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Depositing User: Charles H. Pence
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2022 02:23
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2022 02:23
Item ID: 20184
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Date: 31 January 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20184

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