David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (4):353-365 (2007)
In his theory of evolution, Darwin recognized that the conditions of life play a role in the generation of hereditary variations, as well as in their selection. However, as evolutionary theory was developed further, heredity became identified with genetics, and variation was seen in terms of combinations of randomly generated gene mutations. We argue that this view is now changing, because it is clear that a notion of hereditary variation that is based solely on randomly varying genes that are unaffected by developmental conditions is an inadequate basis for evolutionary theories. Such a view not only fails to provide satisfying explanations of many evolutionary phenomena, it also makes assumptions that are not consistent with the data that are emerging from disciplines ranging from molecular biology to cultural studies. These data show that the genome is far more responsive to the environment than previously thought, and that not all transmissible variation is underlain by genetic differences. In Evolution in Four Dimensions (2005) we identify four types of inheritance (genetic, epigenetic, behavioral, and symbol-based), each of which can provide variations on which natural selection will act. Some of these variations arise in response to developmental conditions, so there are Lamarckian aspects to evolution. We argue that a better insight into evolutionary processes will result from recognizing that transmitted variations that are not based on DNA differences have played a role. This is particularly true for understanding the evolution of human behavior, where all four dimensions of heredity have been important
|Keywords||cultural evolution Darwinism directed mutations epigenetic inheritance evolutionary psychology information transmission Lamarckism language evolution memes social learning|
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References found in this work BETA
Eva Jablonka (2002). Information: Its Interpretation, its Inheritance, and its Sharing. Philosophy of Science 69 (4):578-605.
Luke Rendell & Hal Whitehead (2001). Culture in Whales and Dolphins. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (2):309-324.
Simon M. Reader & Katharine MacDonald (2003). Environmental Variability and Primate Behavioural Flexibility. In Simon M. Reader & Kevin N. Laland (eds.), Animal Innovation. OUP Oxford
Eva Jablonka (2004). The Evolution of the Peculiarities of Mammalian Sex Chromosomes: An Epigenetic View. Bioessays 26 (12):1327-1332.
Citations of this work BETA
Ronald J. Planer (2014). Replacement of the “Genetic Program” Program. Biology and Philosophy 29 (1):33-53.
Nicholas Shea (2011). Developmental Systems Theory Formulated as a Claim About Inherited Representations. Philosophy of Science 78 (1):60-82.
Joshua M. Moritz (2014). Animal Suffering, Evolution, and the Origins of Evil: Toward a “Free Creatures” Defense. Zygon 49 (2):348-380.
Nicholas Shea (2012). Genetic Representation Explains the Cluster of Innateness-Related Properties. Mind and Language 27 (4):466-493.
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