Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term eugenics was coined by Sir Francis Galton in his book Inquiries into Human Faculty (1883). The term is taken from two Greek words: eu , which is the Greek word for the adverb “well,” and gen , which has its roots in the verb gignesthai , meaning “to become.” Galton described with this word the program of improving the human stock by giving the “more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable.” It was the Greek philosopher Plato (427–347 BC) who first developed the idea, which Galton later labeled eugenics. Plato wrote about improving the human stock. He took this idea directly from the successes of animal breeders, especially breeders of hounds and noble poultry. Already in his times, they increased desirable features in livestock by selectively mating only those specimens with the desired trait. In his classical work ...