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Romantic Philosophy and Natural Sciences

Blurred Boundaries and Terminological Problems

Elías Palti

Departing from a recent work by Helmut Müller-Sievers the author charts the intricacies of the debate between preformationism and epigeneticism and its theoretico-epistemological repercussions during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although the most common interpretation equals preformationism to mechanism and fixism, on one side, and evolutionism to epigeneticism and organicism, on the other, the actual picture, once key authors are analyzed, is far more complex. All preformationist theories were, in principle, mechanistic, but not all mechanistic theories were preformationist: they could also be epigenetist, which means that not all epigenetist theories were necessarily organicist. Although all organicist theories were, in principle, evolutionary, not all mechanistic theories were fixist. And finally, all preformationist theories were, in principle, fixist, but not all fixist theories were preformationist. The redefinition of the notion of embryonic preformation in the first decades of the nineteenth-century resulted, in turn, in a new concept of the “organism,” crystallizing a view of nature that combined fixism (at a phylogenetical level) and evolutionism (at the embryological level).

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A Concept of Transfer--Transfers of a Concept

Generation in Physiology, Pedagogy and Politics around 1800

Stefan Willer

Using the pattern of subsequent generations, contingent processes of historical change can be narrated as if they were something natural. The article explores this naturalizing potential of the modern concept of generation by tracing it back to its origin around the year 1800, when current physiological theories about the “epigenetic” self-organization of life became applicable to pedagogical and political programs of “new” and “forthcoming” generations. The article also discusses the methodological question of how such conceptual transfers can be adequately described.

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A Nomadic Diagram

Waddington's Epigenetic Landscape and Anthropology

Caroline Humphrey

The idea of the diagram as a ‘working object’ is used to discuss the biologist C. H. Waddington’s epigenetic landscape (EL) diagrams. This article investigates the diagrams’ history and discusses their usages in relation to Stengers’s idea of the ‘nomadic concept’. What is it about these diagrams that have made them a tool for transdisciplinary research? The article argues that it is useful to distinguish between the diagram and the illustration, and that it is in part because the EL diagrams retain an illustrative graphic character that they have been apt for imaginative adaptation and reuse. The diagram in this case becomes an ‘ontological go-between’ that is thereby able to function in different contexts, such as sociology and anthropology.

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Alexandra Senfft

the repressed continues to exist and spread its negative energy. Traumatic experiences can even lead to permanent genetic changes, as recent epigenetic research has shown. 2 One frequent consequence is anxiety and depression, which not only mars

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Technological Animism

The Uncanny Personhood of Humanoid Machines

Kathleen Richardson

, and development draw on studies of child development and the field of ‘epigenetic robotics’ (see Berthouze and Metta 2005 ; Zlatev and Balkenius 2001 ). This field sees the development of ‘intelligence’ as an incremental and experiential process that

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Replenishing Milk Sons

Changing Kinship Practices among the Sahrāwī, North Africa

Konstantina Isidoros

polygamous marriage by maximisation of inclusive fitness; Laura Fortunato (2012) examines the evolution of matriliny; and Hasan Ozkan and colleagues (2012) the epigenetics of milk kinship. Male Matrifocality and Milk Sons Matrilocality and

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Larissa Mellor

presentation at this served as the foundation for this article. Note 1 This recent research is known as epigenetic inheritance, which finds that environmental factors – trauma – can affect the genes of one’s children and grandchildren. References Adams , W

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Daniel Lord Smail

Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011). 22 See, inter alia, Jörg Niewöhner, “Epigenetics: Embedded Bodies and the Molecularisation of Biography and Milieu,” BioSocieties 6, no. 3 (13

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Anna Tsing

segregated, neither classification nor alienation is a problem. In contrast, these emergent pathogenicities tap the hidden terrain of the modern synthesis: epigenetics; environment; interspecies interactions. Some frogs exposed to pesticides die more easily