Many scholars avoid the use of the term “Darwinism.” It is not ideal, even to refer to Darwin’s own complex and fluid thinking about evolution, let alone to modern transformations of his ideas. The addition of the prefix neo- for those modern transformations does not solve the terminological problem. The same argument can be made for Lamarckism and its cognates: they are not ideal or meaningful labels to refer to Lamarck’s heterogeneous ideas. Lamarck’s name is even less appropriate as a label for modern developments in biology and, particularly, for the idea of the (presumed) inheritance of acquired characters. The dichotomous framing of modern thinking about evolution in terms of “Darwinian” and “Lamarckian” is especially confusing and un-helpful. Historians are obliged to use historical terms like “Lamarckism” or “Darwinism,” but philosophers and biologists should try to avoid using these terms and their cognates and learn to use more precise and less ambiguous, confusing, misleading, and emotionally charged words and phrases.


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pp. 72-94
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