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Summary

This book deals with the acute problems that arose in the relationship between philosophy and genetics from the time of its inception and to our day. The history of genetics is not only a history of scientific search for the essence of heredity and mutation, but also a history of dramatic discussions and philosophical struggles, in which, at different stages, Marxist philosophers played an anything but unambiguous role. This was felt most distinctly during the time T. D. Lysenko's pseudo-scientific ideas predominated in the USSR.

How did this search and discussion in the history of genetics proceed, notably in the Soviet Union? What is the true relationship between scientific philosophy and genetics, and what does dialectics contribute to the latter? How can pseudo-dialectics pervert genetics, and how did it do so? How did the discussion in Soviet genetics proceed in connection with dialectics?

All these questions are examined in I. T. Frolov's book, which is based on a study done by the author twenty years ago (Genetics and Dialectics, Moscow, 1968) and on his other research in philosophy and the history of genetics.

The book shows the philosophical significance of the works of Gregor Mendel, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Nikolai Vavilov, Alexander Serebrovsky, Ivan Schmalthausen, and others. It contains a critical study of the views of T. D. Lysenko and his followers, and also of the present-day advocates of neoeugenics, socio-biology, and the like. The methodological problems of the history of genetics are intimately linked with the socio-ethical, which are elaborated upon in connection with new research in human genetics and gene engineering.

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