Karl Vogt

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For the president of Williams College, see Carl W. Vogt.
Carl Vogt (1817-1895)
Karl Vogt during his career.

Carl Christoph Vogt (German: [foːkt]; 5 July 1817 in Gießen, Grand Duchy of Hesse – 5 May 1895 in Geneva, Switzerland) was a German scientist who emigrated to Switzerland. Vogt published a number of notable works on zoology, geology and physiology. All his life he was engaged in politics, in the German Frankfurt Parliament of 1848–9 and later in Switzerland.

Biography[edit]

Karl was the son of Dr. Wilhelm Vogt, professor of clinics, and Louise Follenius. His maternal uncle was Charles Follen.[1]

Academics[edit]

In 1847 he became professor of zoology at the University of Giessen, and in 1852 professor of geology and afterwards also of zoology at the University of Geneva. His earlier publications were on zoology. He dealt with the Amphibia (1839), Reptiles (1840), with Mollusca and Crustacea (1845) and more generally with the invertebrate fauna of the Mediterranean (1854). In 1842, during his time with Louis Agassiz in Neuchâtel, he discovered the mechanism of apoptosis, the programmed cell death, while studying the development of the tadpole of the midwife toad (Alytes obstetricians). Charles Darwin mentions Vogt's support for the theory of evolution in the introduction to his The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871).

Politics[edit]

Vogt was active in German politics and was a left-wing representative in the Frankfurt Parliament. Karl Marx scathingly replied to attacks by Karl Vogt in his book Herr Vogt (1860).[2] Marx's defenders pointed to the fact that, years later (1871), records published after the fall of the Second Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte III indicated that Vogt had been secretly in the pay of the French Emperor.

Polygenism[edit]

Karl Vogt was a proponent of polygenist evolution; he rejected the monogenist beliefs of most Darwinists and instead believed that each race had evolved from a different type of ape.[3] Vogt believed that the Negro was related to the ape. He wrote the White race was a separate species from Negroes. In Chapter VII of his Lectures on Man (1864) he compared the Negro to the White race and described them as “two extreme human types”. The differences between them, he claimed, are greater than those between two species of ape; and this proved that Negroes are a separate species from Whites.[4]

Works[edit]

  • Im Gebirg und auf den Gletschern (In the mountains and on the glaciers; 1843)
  • Physiologische Briefe (Letters on physiology; 1845–46)
  • Grundriss der Geologie (Outline of geology; 1860)
  • Lehrbuch der Geologie und Petrefactenkunde (Textbook on geology and petrification; 2 vols., 1846–47; ed. 4, 1879)
  • An English version of his Lectures on Man: his Place in Creation and in the History of the Earth was published by the Anthropological Society of London in 1864.

Honors[edit]

The city of Geneva, Switzerland named a boulevard (Boulevard Carl-Vogt) after Vogt and by erected a memorial bust in the park of the University of Geneva.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Sketch of Karl Vogt". Popular science monthly: 116. November 1897. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Franz Mehring (1918). "Chapter 10.5: Herr Vogt". Karl Marx: The story of his life. Translated by Edward Fitzgerald. Transcribed by Sally Ryan for marxists.org in 2000. 
  3. ^ Colin Kidd, The forging of races: race and scripture in the Protestant Atlantic world, 1600 - 2000, 2006, p.58
  4. ^ Gustav Jahoda, Images of savages: ancients [sic] roots of modern prejudice in Western culture, 1999, p. 83
  5. ^ Peter Schubert (April 2011). "Carl A. C. Vogt". Hydrozoa directory. Muséum Genève. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 

References[edit]

  • Untersuchungen über die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Geburtshelferkröte. (Alytes obstetricians), Solothurn: Jent und Gassman, (1842), pp 130
  • Fredrick Gregory: Scientific Materialism in Nineteenth Century Germany, Springer, Berlin u.a. 1977, ISBN 90-277-0760-X
  •  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Vogt, Karl Christoph". Encyclopædia Britannica 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 172. 

External links[edit]