Overqualified: generative replicators as Darwinian reproducers

Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):595-605 (2012)
Darwin’s Conjecture is a bold attempt to bring evolutionary explanation to the social sciences, particularly economics. The book outlines the history of Darwinian explanation in social science then puts forward a generalized replicator account of social evolution by natural selection. The authors identify habits and routines as examples of the generative replicators necessary in order that social evolution is Darwinian. This reviewer notes that the replicator approach limits the generality of this account and suggests that habits and routines might better be seen as members of a Darwinian population in the tradition of Godfrey-Smith’s (2009) generalized account of natural selection instead. Furthermore, the existence of levels of social evolution will constrain what evolution can occur low in the hierarchy.
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-011-9281-3
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Daniel C. Dennett (1996). Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Behavior and Philosophy 24 (2):169-174.
David L. Hull (1980). Individuality and Selection. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 11:311-332.
Kim Sterelny (2006). Memes Revisited. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):145-165.

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