Definition of hereditarian in US English:



  • Relating to the theory that heredity is the primary influence on human behavior, intelligence, or other characteristics.

    • ‘After World War I they were less sanguine about progress and more inclined to the hereditarian pessimism of eugenics.’
    • ‘It then discusses Galton's strong hereditarian and eugenic beliefs.’
    • ‘In other cases, such as some inherited neurological disorders, an extreme hereditarian explanation is correct.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, eighteenth-century writers did not conceptualize human diversity in rigidly hereditarian or strictly physical terms.’
    • ‘A series of racial laws had a strongly medical and hereditarian component.’
    • ‘Apart from the arbitrariness of the organic basis of classification, the greatest dangers of the race concept lie in its hereditarian psychological implications and in its misapplication to cultures.’
    • ‘Frustrated by the growing numbers of chronic patients in psychiatric hospitals and influenced by evolutionary theory, many psychiatrists turned to hereditarian explanations.’
    • ‘Readily affirming hereditarian views on race, IQ, and sex differences, but repeatedly asking that his book be re-published and actually read by his critics, Brand was eventually fired by Edinburgh University in August 1997.’
    • ‘Fisher moved toward environmental rather than hereditarian explanation of attitudes toward saving.’
    • ‘Francis Galton, a strong believer in the hereditarian position, founded the discipline of eugenics, which sought to improve the quality of human heredity by manipulating human reproduction.’
    • ‘In fact, one could easily make the opposite case of Pinker: that those who have stressed human nature in the form of hereditarian theories, have been responsible for numerous and documented forms of oppression and tyranny.’


  • An advocate of a hereditarian view.

    • ‘Unfortunately, that fact does not deter certain influential hereditarians from assailing ‘dumb people.’’
    • ‘Eysenck, speaking for the hereditarians, by contrast, argues that although environment plays a role in determining IQ, genetic factors are also important.’
    • ‘It will be interesting to see whether Prof. Diamond's focus on geography attracts the dread label ‘reductionist’ so often slapped on hereditarians.’
    • ‘No hereditarians I've ever heard of believe the environment is unimportant.’
    • ‘This new meritocracy is not the product of militant hereditarians.’
    • ‘Richardson's achievement is to get us to recognize this fact and its implications, as well as the part played by their writings in the late-century debates between the hereditarians and the environmentalists.’
    • ‘Chris Brand says that he first became an hereditarian when he worked as a prison psychologist and noted that criminals all blamed their criminality on their families - even though other members of the family were generally not criminal.’
    • ‘According to Wilson, when we look at the issue from the superior perspective of genetics, we see that nurturists ‘think that culture is held on a very long genetic leash’ while hereditarians ‘believe the leash is short’.’
    • ‘The latter believe more of an animal's actions are due to culture (training or environment) than do the hereditarians.’
    • ‘Goddard and his contemporary hereditarians, says Gould, were convinced that, ‘High intelligence not only permits us to do our sums; it also engenders the good judgement that underlies all moral behavior.’’
    • ‘Sometimes the environmentalists are in the saddle, so they will look at fatally flawed data and say, ‘Look, these suggest an environmental interpretation,’ and other times the hereditarians are in the saddle and say, ‘Look, these suggest a genetic interpretation.’’
    • ‘As the chapter's initial subheading states, both the hereditarians and the environmentalists are triumphant.’