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The Innate Mind Volume 2: Culture and Cognition$
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Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195310139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195310139.001.0001

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The Baldwin Effect and Genetic Assimilation

The Baldwin Effect and Genetic Assimilation

Contrasting Explanatory Foci and Gene Concepts in Two Approaches to an Evolutionary Process

(p.91) 6 The Baldwin Effect and Genetic Assimilation
The Innate Mind

Paul E. Griffiths

Oxford University Press

A large body of literature exists on the so-called “Baldwin effect”, a controversial process by which an acquired trait supposedly evolves into an innate trait. C. H. Waddington's concept of “genetic assimilation” is significantly different from other ideas about how this might occur. From Waddington's perspective, evolutionary transitions between “innate” and “acquired” are to be expected because those categories have little meaning in terms of developmental genetics. Waddington's approach necessitates a different conception of the gene from that found in other literature on the Baldwin effect.

Keywords:   Waddington, social learning, innateness, nature-nurture

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