Panpsychic Organicism: Sewall Wright’s Philosophy for Understanding Complex Genetic Systems

  title={Panpsychic Organicism: Sewall Wright’s Philosophy for Understanding Complex Genetic Systems},
  author={David M Steffes},
  journal={Journal of the History of Biology},
  • David M Steffes
  • Published 11 August 2006
  • Biology
  • Journal of the History of Biology
Sewall Wright first encountered the complex systems characteristic of gene combinations while a graduate student at Harvard’s Bussey Institute from 1912 to 1915. In Mendelian breeding experiments, Wright observed a hierarchical dependence of the organism’s phenotype on dynamic networks of genetic interaction and organization. An animal’s physical traits, and thus its autonomy from surrounding environmental constraints, depended greatly on how genes behaved in certain combinations. Wright… 

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