The Future of Human Evolution

There is a tendency in both scientific and humanistic disciplines to think of biological evolution in humans as significantly impeded if not completely overwhelmed by the robust cultural and technological capabilities of the species. The aim of this article is to make sense of and evaluate this claim. In Section 2 , I flesh out the argument that humans are ‘insulated’ from ordinary evolutionary mechanisms in terms of our contemporary biological understandings of phenotypic plasticity, niche construction, and cultural transmission. In Section 3 , I consider two obvious objections to the above argument based on the growing literatures related to gene-culture coevolution and recent positive selection on the human genome, as well as a pair of less common objections relating to the connection between plasticity, population size and evolvability. In Section 4 , I argue that both the ‘human evolutionary stasis argument’ and its various detractor theories are premised on a fundamental conceptual flaw: they take evolutionary stasis for granted, since they fail to conceive of stabilizing selection as a type of evolution and drift as a universal tendency that dominates in the absence of selection. Without the continued operation of natural selection, the very properties that are purported to reduce the evolutionary response to selection in humans would themselves drift into non-functionality. I conclude that properly conceived, biological evolution is a permanent and ineradicable fixture of any species, including Homo sapiens
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axr027
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Matteo Mameli (2004). Nongenetic Selection and Nongenetic Inheritance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):35-71.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

26 ( #182,874 of 1,932,585 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #456,398 of 1,932,585 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.