||A non-Darwinian theory of evolutionary change originating with the French naturalist Jean Baptiste de Lamarck. As a doctrine of organic progression, Lamarckism in the pre-Darwinian period differed substantially from its post-Darwinian Neo-Lamarckian successor. Lamarck himself did not conceive of evolution as a system of common descent, but rather of \'separate lines progressing in parallel along the same hierarchy\' (Bowler, 1989, p. 85). The dynamic behind this organic progress was the active power of nature impelling life along predetermined sequences. What facilitated this tendance de la nature was the conjoint processes of environmental stimulus and the efforts of organisms to adapt to modified conditions through changed habits and the use and disuse of organs (Burkhardt, 1977).
In the post-Darwinian period it was the Lamarckian insistence on the inheritance of acquired characteristics that provided an alternative mechanism to that of classical Darwinism (Bowler, 1983). In the decades around 1900, when Darwinism itself was in eclipse as a consequence of a series of criticisms within the scientific community, Lamarckian mechanisms achieved considerable support. These neo-Lamarckians perpetuated certain elements in Lamarck\'s original system but married them to the principle of natural selection as a secondary mechanism in a distinctively non-Darwinian way.
Particularly in the United States, but also in Britain, this alternative evolutionary theory attracted widespread support during the second half of the nineteenth century (Pfeifer, 1965). Cope and Hyatt spearheaded the movement among paleontologists; LeConte and King added their geological approval; Argyll and Romanes in anthropology and psychology also helped swell the tide. In France, Lamarckian doctrines found institutional expression in the SociÃ©tÃ© Zoologique d\'Acclimatation under the direction of Isidore Greffroy St-Hilaire, which systematically investigated the question of environmentally induced hereditary modification â€” a zoological project that had more or less direct implications for human cosmopolitanism (Osborne, 1994). Even more dramatic was the official endorsement of Lamarckian evolution in the Soviet Union during the 1930s under the influence of T.D. Lysenko; because he was convinced that it fitted more comfortably with Marxist political ideology than did classical neo-Darwinism, Lysenko famously erected his theory of agricultural improvement on Lamarckian foundations.
A loose coalition of dissident evolutionary theory was thus available for those with a passion for socializing evolution during the decades around 1900 (Fichman, 1997). Of those conventionally labelled Social Darwinians â€” not least Spencer himself â€” many drew more inspiration from neo-Lamarckian dogma than from classical Darwinism (see also Social Darwinism). Thus in neo-Lamarckian evolution, many found grounds for looking to environment as the driving force behind social processes. Others, more taken with the evolutionary significance Lamarckism attributed to mind and will, took a more idealist turn; indeed it was because Lamarckism reserved space for psychic elements in evolution that many sought in it refuge from the \'cultural decay, fatalistic philosophies and genetic determinism\' that gripped the end of century mentalitÃ© (Crook, 1994, p. 73). Either way, Lamarckism could be mobilized to justify the politics of interventionism (Jones, 1980). The ramifications of engaging social Lamarckism were thus many and diverse (Stocking, 1962); it undergirded Herbert Spencer\'s naturalistic sociology, for example. In the United States Lester Frank Ward found in it the justification for educating his children with the right values for he believed they would then become part of the race\'s inherited repertoire. Similarly the geologist Joseph Le Conte could only find firm scientific grounds for education in the principles of neo-Lamarckian inheritance (Russett, 1976).
Given these particular conceptual alignments it is not surprising that a number of geographers would find the neo-Lamarckian construal of evolution to their liking, not least because the environment played such a key directive role in the scenario (Campbell and Livingstone, 1983; Livingstone, 1992). In the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, numerous advocates of environmental determinism, such as Shaler, Davis, Semple, Brigham, and Huntington, betray the infiltration of neo-Lamarckism. In one way or another, these environmentalist geographers fastened upon the heritability of environmentally induced modifications both physically and culturally. Similarly, the recapitulationist strains in Turner\'s frontier thesis, which portrayed American society as recapitulating the stages of social evolution with each advance of the settlement frontier, drew inspiration from Lamarckian environmentalism (Coleman, 1966). Griffith Taylor in Australia equally found elements of the Lamarckian system attractive, though he did not discount the significance of Mendelian genetics in his elaboration of racial history and ecology which built on the work of the vertebrate paleontologist, William D. Matthew, whose Climate and evolution of 1915 closely connected mammalian evolution with climatic conditions (Christie, 1994).
In late Victorian Britain similar convictions are discernible among those who were drawn to Lamarckism\'s emphasis on the directive evolutionary significance of consciousness. Geddes, for instance, used it to advocate various urban planning and educational reforms; Kropotkin, critical of the cut-throat ethics of capitalist competitive struggle (cf. capitalism), found in Lamarckism the grounds for a more benign social order â€” an anarchistic humanism â€” built upon mutual aid (Todes, 1989; cf. anarchism); and Herbertson and Fleure both mobilized the idea in their considerations of regional geography. Lamarckian motifs have also been discerned in Vidal de la Blache\'s gÃ©ographie humaine (see possibilism) which, while stressing the transforming power of human agency, nonetheless retained strongly naturalistic, ecological, and organicist strains (Archer, 1993).
In more general terms, neo-Lamarckism facilitated geography\'s transition from a natural theology framework to that of evolutionary naturalism largely due to the ease with which it could be given a teleological reading (Livingstone, 1984). And this, together with its widespread influence on numerous key individuals, demonstrates how profound its impact on the modern geographical tradition has been.Â (DNL)
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