Natural Selection, Hypercycles and the Origin of Life

Two aspects of the Eigen theory of the origin of life are separated: (i) a theory of evolution at the molecular level, and (ii) the special dynamical properties of hypercycles when that theory is applied to them. It is shown that the former can be applied to a variety of molecular systems which then satisfy Lewontin's criteria for evolution by natural selection. This insight is used to show how, at the molecular level, this theory of natural selection can be used to provide physical warrants for functional explanations. The position of hypercycles in this picture and the reasons for their suitability as a model for the origin of life are also discussed.
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Stuart A. Kauffman (1990). The Sciences of Complexity and "Origins of Order". PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:299 - 322.

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