Giuseppe Sergi, "champion" of Darwinism? [book]

Alessandro Volpone
2010 Journal of Anthropological Sciences  
The Italian anthropologist, psychologist and evolutionist Giuseppe Sergi (1841-1936) may be regarded in some respects today as an "atypical" Darwinist, but, almost paradoxically, he was considered a "champion" of Darwinism by colleagues and commentators of his own time. Probably, two aspects of his work are responsible for this apparent anomaly: his faith in the so-called soft inheritance and his claims regarding a theory concerning the polyphyletic origin of human races. The soft inheritance
more » ... eory, however, was needed by Sergi to support ideas regarding the complexity of inheritance in man, a fact that, in his opinion, could not completely be put down to mechanical laws, and polygeny was useful when trying to rectify the problem concerning the incompleteness of the fossil record. In both cases, it is possible to show that he was involved in supporting Darwinian theory during the most severe crisis of its consensus in Italy and at International level, between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Finally, the apparent unorthodox features which can be found in Sergi's ideas appear to be, in Kuhnian terms, ad hoc hypotheses put forward by Sergi himself in order to support the paradigm.
doi:10.4436/jass.89001 pmid:20841631 fatcat:iufn4y3jvje3nee2rdbo7ocm5y