I have been trying to work out a few things about ggplot2, and how supplemntary arguments inherit from the first part `ggplot()`

. Specifically, if inheritance is passed on beyond the `geom_***`

part.

I have a histogram of data:

```
ggplot(data = faithful, aes(eruptions)) + geom_histogram()
```

Which produces a fine chart, though the breaks are default. It appears to me (an admitted novice), that `geom_histogram()`

is inheriting the data specification from `ggplot()`

. If I want to have a smarter way of setting the breaks I could use a process like so:

```
ggplot(data = faithful, aes(eruptions)) +
geom_histogram(breaks = seq(from = min(faithful$eruptions),
to = max(faithful$eruptions), length.out = 10))
```

However, here I am re-specifying within the `geom_histogram()`

function that I want `faithful$eruptions`

. I have been unable to find a way to phrase this without re-specifying. Further, if I use the `data =`

argument in `geom_histogram()`

, and specify just `eruptions`

in `min`

and `max`

, `seq()`

still doesn't understand that I mean the `faithful`

data set.

I know that `seq`

is not part of ggplot2, but I wondered if it might be able to inherit regardless, as it is bound within `geom_histogram()`

, which itself inherits from `ggplot()`

. Am I just using the wrong syntax, or is this possible?

Answer:

Note that the term you are looking for is not "inheritance", but non standard evaluation (NSE). `ggplot`

offers a couple of places where you can refer to your data items by their column names instead of a full reference (NSE), but those are the `mapping`

arguments to the `geom_*`

layers only, and even then when you are using `aes`

. These work:

```
ggplot(faithful) + geom_point(aes(eruptions, eruptions))
ggplot(faithful) + geom_point(aes(eruptions, eruptions, size=waiting))
```

The following doesn't work because we are referring to `waiting`

outside of `aes`

and `mapping`

(note first arg to `geom_*`

is the `mapping`

arg):

```
ggplot(faithful) + geom_point(aes(eruptions, eruptions), size=waiting)
```

But this works:

```
ggplot(faithful) + geom_point(aes(eruptions, eruptions), size=faithful$waiting)
```

though differently since now `size`

is being interpreted litterally instead of being normalized as when part of `mapping`

.

In your case, since `breaks`

is not part of the `aes`

/`mapping`

spec, you can't use NSE and you are left using the full reference. Some possible work-arounds:

```
ggplot(data = faithful, aes(eruptions)) + geom_histogram(bins=10) # not identical
ggplot(data=faithful, aes(eruptions)) +
geom_histogram(
breaks=with(faithful, # use `with`
seq(from=max(eruptions), to=min(eruptions), length.out=10)
) )
```

And no-NSE, but a little less typing:

```
ggplot(data=faithful, aes(eruptions)) +
geom_histogram(
breaks=do.call(seq, c(as.list(range(faithful$eruptions)), len=10))
)
```

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