In a critical review of late twentieth-century gene-culture co-evolutionary models labelled as ‘global phylogeny’, the authors present evidence for the long legacy of co-evolutionary theories in European-based thinking, highlighting that (1) ideas of social and cultural evolution preceded the idea of biological evolution, (2) linguistics played a dominant role in the formation of a unified theory of human co-evolution, and (3) that co-evolutionary thinking was only possible due to perpetuated and renewed transdisciplinary reticulations between scholars of different (...) disciplines—especially within the integrative framework of the ‘humanid’ and the ‘hominid’ branches of anthropology. (shrink)
Considering the close relation between language and theory of mind in development and their tight connection in social behavior, it is no big leap to claim that the two capacities have been related in evolution as well. But what is the exact relation between them? This paper attempts to clear a path toward an answer. I consider several possible relations between the two faculties, bring conceptual arguments and empirical evidence to bear on them, and end up arguing for a (...) version of co-evolution. To model this co-evolution, we must distinguish between different stages or levels of language and theory of mind, which fueled each other’s evolution in a protracted escalation process. (shrink)
This paper supplements an earlier one (Wassermann 1978b). Its views aim to reinforce those of Lewontin and other prominent evolutionists, but differ significantly from the opinions of some philosophers of science, notably Popper (1957) and Olding (1978). A basic distinction is made between 'laws' and 'theories of mechanisms'. The 'Theory of Evolution' is not characterized by laws, but is viewed here as a hypertheory which explains classifiable evolutionary phenomena in terms of subordinate classifiable theories of 'evolution-specific mechanisms' (ESMs), (...) each of which could apply to a host of species. Adaptations could result from ESMs that are rooted in molecular complementarities. The status of optimization theories that aim to predict best adapted states of organisms or populations is also discussed. (shrink)
Dr. Marjorie Grene has argued that criteria taken from a personalist philosophy of science have regulative force in the dispute between orthogenetic and synthetic or neo-Darwinian theories of evolution, and that these criteria commend the acceptance of the orthogenetic position. Grene's position includes two basically correct theses concerning the limitations of operationism and reductionism. However, she fails to show that personalist tenets are necessary for the validation of these two theses. Moreover, the proposed modifications of evolutionary theory depend upon (...) additional premisses: that biology must study individuals rather than populations, and that the synthetic theory must prove that natural selection and mutation are the only possible factors for control of the direction of evolutionary change. The evidence for these premisses is called into question. (shrink)
Kary (1990) defends the view that evolution by natural selection can be adequately explained in terms of a theory incorporating only a single level of selection. Here I point out some of the inherent inadequacies of such a theory.
How relevant is the notion of evolution for economics? In view of the paradigmatic influence of Darwinian thought, several recently advocated interpretations are discussed first which rely on Darwinian concepts. As an alternative, a notion of evolution is suggested that is based on a few, abstract, common principles which all domain?specific evolutionary processes share, including those in the economy. A different, ontological question is whether and, if so, how the various domain?specific evolutionary processes are connected. As an answer, (...) an evolutionary continuity hypothesis is postulated and its concrete economic implications are discussed exemplarily for the theory of production. (shrink)
The theory of evolution has beenused in arguments regarding animalexperimentation. Two such arguments areanalyzed, one against and one in favor. Eachargument stresses the relevance of the theoryof evolution to normative ethics but attemptsexplicitly to avoid the so-called naturalisticfallacy.According to the argument against animalexperimentation, the theory of evolution`undermines' the idea of a special humandignity and supports `moral individualism'. Thelatter view implies that if it is wrong to usehumans in experiments, then it is also wrong touse animals, unless there (...) are relevantdifferences between them that justify adifference in treatment. No such differencescan be found with regard to animals which lead`biographical lives'.The argument in favor of animal experimentationis based on evolutionary psychology. It statesthat humans, as all social animals, arespeciesist by nature and stresses that thisshould be taken seriously in normative ethics.This does not mean that animal interests shouldnot be considered, only that vital humaninterests may outweigh them.In order to assess the arguments, one has totake a stand on certain more basic issues: `is'versus `ought', impartiality versus specialobligations, and feelings/intuitions versusreason. Given the author's own position withregard to these more basic considerations, theevolutionary argument in favor of animalexperimentation is judged to be more convincingthan the one against but not decisive. It isalso maintained that not all animal experimentsare acceptable. Which animal experiments areacceptable and which are not has to be decidedon a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss the epistemological positions of evolution theories. A sharp distinction is made between the theory that species evolved from common ancestors along specified lines of descent (here called the theory of common descent), and the theories intended as causal explanations of evolution (e.g. Lamarck's and Darwin's theory). The theory of common descent permits a large number of predictions of new results that would be improbable without evolution. For instance, (a) phylogenetic trees have been (...) validated now; (b) the observed order in fossils of new species discovered since Darwin's time could be predicted from the theory of common descent; (c) owing to the theory of common descent, the degrees of similarity and difference in newly discovered properties of more or less related species could be predicted. Such observations can be regarded as attempts to falsify the theory of common descent. We conclude that the theory of common descent is an easily-falsifiable & often-tested & still-not-falsified theory, which is the strongest predicate a theory in an empirical science can obtain. Theories intended as causal explanations of evolution can be falsified essentially, and Lamarck's theory has been falsified actually. Several elements of Darwin's theory have been modified or falsified: new versions of a theory of evolution by natural selection are now the leading scientific theories on evolution. We have argued that the theory of common descent and Darwinism are ordinary, falsifiable scientific theories. (shrink)
Drawing on his investigation of over one hundred mid-Victorian British newspapers and periodicals, Alvar Ellegård describes and analyzes the impact of Darwin's theory of evolution during the first dozen years after the publication of the Origin of Species . Although Darwin's book caused an immediate stir in literary and scientific periodicals, the popular press largely ignored it. Only after the work's implications for theology and the nature of man became evident did general publications feel compelled to react; each social (...) group responded according to his own political and religious prejudices. Ellegård charts the impact of this revolution in science, maintaining that although the idea of evolution was generally accepted, Darwin's primary contribution, the theory of natural selection, was either ignored or rejected among the public. (shrink)
During the 20th century two major ventures were launched to advance Darwinian evolution theory. Both involved historic visions and were vital steps for science and society, but then something happened on the way to the millennium. By mid-century the first venture had become a virtual scientific monopoly governed by the biology of the neoDarwinian paradigm. The second venture then set out in the 1980s to remedy the inadequacies of the neoDarwinian paradigm by widening the prospects for evolution theory. (...) But overwhelmed by the underlying mismatch between scientific abstraction and evolutionary reality the first venture established, it soon settled into a fierce attempt to further expand the territory for the neoDarwinian monopoly into what became a militant ideology for sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. This special issue of World Futures contains the papers of a small "task force" of the General Evolution Research Group that set out in the summer of 2000 to try to put behind us what increasingly looms as the "old" paradigm, as well as the "old" story, of evolution. (shrink)
“I often said before starting, that I had no doubt I should frequently repent of the whole undertaking.” So wrote Charles Darwin aboard The Beagle , bound for the Galapagos Islands and what would arguably become the greatest and most controversial discovery in scientific history. But the theory of evolution did not spring full-blown from the head of Darwin. Since the dawn of humanity, priests, philosophers, and scientists have debated the origin and development of life on earth, and with (...) modern science, that debate shifted into high gear. In this lively, deeply erudite work, Pulitzer Prize–winning science historian Edward J. Larson takes us on a guided tour of Darwin’s “dangerous idea,” from its theoretical antecedents in the early nineteenth century to the brilliant breakthroughs of Darwin and Wallace, to Watson and Crick’s stunning discovery of the DNA double helix, and to the triumphant neo-Darwinian synthesis and rising sociobiology today. Along the way, Larson expertly places the scientific upheaval of evolution in cultural perspective: the social and philosophical earthquake that was the French Revolution; the development, in England, of a laissez-faire capitalism in tune with a Darwinian ethos of “survival of the fittest”; the emergence of Social Darwinism and the dark science of eugenics against a backdrop of industrial revolution; the American Christian backlash against evolutionism that culminated in the famous Scopes trial; and on to today’s world, where religious fundamentalists litigate for the right to teach “creation science” alongside evolution in U.S. public schools, even as the theory itself continues to evolve in new and surprising directions. Throughout, Larson trains his spotlight on the lives and careers of the scientists, explorers, and eccentrics whose collaborations and competitions have driven the theory of evolution forward. Here are portraits of Cuvier, Lamarck, Darwin, Wallace, Haeckel, Galton, Huxley, Mendel, Morgan, Fisher, Dobzhansky, Watson and Crick, W. D. Hamilton, E. O. Wilson, and many others. Celebrated as one of mankind’s crowning scientific achievements and reviled as a threat to our deepest values, the theory of evolution has utterly transformed our view of life, religion, origins, and the theory itself, and remains controversial, especially in the United States (where 90% of adults do not subscribe to the full Darwinian vision). Replete with fresh material and new insights, Evolution will educate and inform while taking readers on a fascinating journey of discovery. (shrink)
Sterelny’s Thought in a Hostile World ([ 2003 ]) presents a complex, systematically structured theory of the evolution of cognition centered on a concept of decoupled representation. Taking Godfrey-Smith’s ([ 1996 ]) analysis of the evolution of behavioral flexibility as a framework, the theory describes increasingly complex grades of representation beginning with simple detection and culminating with decoupled representation, said to be belief-like, and it characterizes selection forces that drive evolutionary transformations in these forms of representation. Sterelny’s ultimate (...) explanatory target is the evolution of human agency. This paper develops a detailed analysis of the main cognitive aspects. It is argued that some of the major claims are not correct: decoupled representation as defined doesn’t capture belief-like representation, and, properly understood, decoupled representation turns out to be ubiquitous among multicellular animals. However, some of the key ideas are right, or along the right lines, and suggestions are made for modifying and expanding the conceptual framework. (shrink)
The main problem discussed in this paper is: Why and how did animal cognition abilities arise? It is argued that investigations of the evolution of animal cognition abilities are very important from an epistemological point of view. A new direction for interdisciplinary researches – the creation and development of the theory of human logic origin – is proposed. The approaches to the origination of such a theory (mathematical models of ``intelligent invention'' of biological evolution, the cybernetic schemes of (...) evolutionary progress and purposeful adaptive behavior) as well as potential interdisciplinary links of the theory are described and analyzed. (shrink)
This paper traces the historical origins of Friedrich A. Hayek's theory of cultural evolution, and argues that Hayek's evolutionary thought was significantly inspired by Alexander M. Carr-Saunders and Oxford zoology. While traditional Hayek scholarship emphasizes the influence of Carl Menger and the British eighteenth-century moral philosophers, I claim that these sources underdetermine what was most characteristic of Hayek's theory, viz. the idea that cultural evolution is a matter of group selection, and the idea that natural selection operates on (...) acquired as well as on inherited properties. (shrink)
Among scientists today a matter that many had assumed was long laid to rest is moving from the background to the foreground in the minds of the broad-gauged and the discerning. It is that what we call evolution theory requires a massive updating, integrating, and streamlining if it is to meet the needs of the 21st century. On one hand here is a planet with threats to the survival of ourselves and all species everywhere on the rise. On the (...) other hand are the sciences, to which we look for answers on how to meet the threats, in disarray. Evolution theory, for example, supposedly provides the grounding for all science. Yet behind an outdated and dangerously constricted assumption of unity, instead of any useful cohesion it offers a bewilderingly disparate and unfocused sprawl. How then are we to move toward the evolutionary gestalt or framework needed to pull together science into some new intelligibility? But of more immediate urgency, how are we to build an evolution theory that can provide the practical guidance-or road map to the future-to our species at a time of exponentially escalating confusion and need? (shrink)
The main claim here is that Aquinas’s theory of natural law is false because it is incompatible with the occurrence of evolution by variation and natural selection. This contradicts the Thomist opinion that there is no conflict between the two. The conflict is deep and pervasive, involving the core elements of Aquinas’s theory. The problematic elements include: 1) the fundamental precept that good should be done and pursued, and evil avoided; 2) the claim that every organism aims at the (...) good and that it is wrong to frustrate nature; 3) the Aristotelian preconception that everything has a single preeminent end; 4) the putative natural inclinations attributed to human beings; 5) the assumption that species essentialism is true; and 6) the notion that God’s intentions are discernible in the natural world. It is concluded that the problems are so extensive that Aquinas’s theory is beyond rescue. (shrink)
MacDonald and Kreitman (1991) propose a test of the neutral mutationrandom drift (NM-RD) hypothesis, the central claim of the neutral theory of molecular evolution. The test involves generating predictions from the NM-RD hypothesis about patterns of molecular substitutions. Alternative selection hypotheses predict that the data will deviate from the predictions of the NM-RD hypothesis in specifiable ways. To conduct the test Mac- Donald and Kreitman examine the evolutionary dynamics of the alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene in three species of Drosophila. (...) The test compares the number of DNA sequence changes between species and within species. The number of DNA differences is an indicator of the evolutionary rate of the Adh gene. Based on the test they conclude that there is strong evidence for adaptive protein evolution at particular sites in the gene. Understanding the test requires some basic knowledge about molecular terms and the predictions of neutral theory. The two important terms are fixed differences and polymorphisms. These are determined by comparing DNA sequences made up of thousands of individual nucleotide sites. A site that is unchanged within a species but different from a related species counts as a fixed difference. These are mutations that occur in some common ancestor of the lineage such that all descendants inherit the change. A site that differs within a species counts as a polymorphism. Determining the number of fixed differences and polymorphisms requires placing 1 each individual gene sequence onto a phylogenetic tree. A coalescent tree charts the ancestral relationships for a set of individual gene sequences. Sequences sampled from within a species form a within-species tree. The common ancestors of each within-species tree form a between-species tree. A detected difference counts as a polymorphism or a fixed difference depending on where it occurs in the phylogenetic tree (cf. Table 1). The test uses the numbers of polymorphisms and fixed differences as indicators of evolutionary rates.. (shrink)
language to explain, and I want to show how this depends on what you think language is. So, what is language? Everybody recognizes that language is partly culturally dependent: there is a huge variety of disparate languages in the world, passed down through cultural transmission. If that’s all there is to language, a theory of the evolution of language has nothing at all to explain. We need only explain the cultural evolution of languages: English, Dutch, Mandarin, Hausa, etc. (...) are products of cultural history. However, most readers of the present volume probably subscribe to the contemporary scientiﬁc view of language, which goes beneath the cultural differences among languages. It focuses on individual language users and asks. (shrink)
F.A. Hayekâs theory of cultural evolution has often been regarded as incompatible with his earlier works. Since it lacks an elaborated theory of individual learning, we try to back his arguments by starting with his thoughts on individual perception described in hisTheory of Mind. With a focus on the current discussion concerning biological and cultural selection theories, we argue hisTheory of Mind leads to two different stages of societal evolution with well-defined learning processes, respectively. The first learning process (...) describes his Morality of Small Groups, in which Hayekâs thoughts coincide with learning theories that do not allow for the perception of behavior from outside the group. His second stage of cultural evolution, the Open Society, involves a different kind of learning behavior. We connect this notion with a model of local interaction in which the cultural learning aspect is addressed by a distinction between interaction and learning neighborhoods. This results in a situation in which individuals change their strategy and âdepending on the radius of interaction and learning neighborhoodâeventually may adopt new strategies that lead to higher payoffs. (shrink)
Sign languages exhibit all the complexities and evolutionary advantages of spoken languages. Consequently, sign languages are problematic for a theory of language evolution that assumes a gestural origin. There are no compelling arguments why the expanding spiral between protosign and protospeech proposed by Arbib would not have resulted in the evolutionary dominance of sign over speech.
One of the earliest and most influential papers applying Darwinian theory to human cultural evolution was Donald T. Campbell’s paper “Variation and Selective Retention in Sociocultural Systems.” Campbell’s programmatic essay appeared as a chapter in a book entitled Social Change in Developing Areas (Barringer et al., 1965). It sketched a very ambitious project to apply Darwinian principles to the study of the evolution of human behavior. His essential theses were four.
This article examines some of the main tenets of competition theory in light of the theory of evolution and the concept of an ecological niche. The principle of competitive exclusion and the related assumption that communities exist at competitive equilibrium - fundamental parts of many competition theories and models - may be violated if non-equilibrium conditions exist in natural communities or are incorporated into competition models. Furthermore, these two basic tenets of competition theory are not compatible with the theory (...) of evolution. Variation in ecologically significant environmental factors and non-equilibrium in population numbers should occur in most natural communities, and such changes have important effects on community relations, niche overlap, and the evolution of ecosystems. Ecologists should view competition as a process occurring within a complexdynamic system, and should be wary of theoretical positions built upon simple laboratory experiments or simplistic mathematical models.In considering the relationship between niche overlap and competition, niche overlap should not be taken as a sufficient condition for competition; many factors may prevent or diminish competition between populations with similar resource utilization patterns. The typically opposing forces of intraspecific and interspecific competition need to be simultaneously considered, for it is the balance between them that in large part determines niche boundaries. (shrink)
This paper is about the reconstruction of the Darwinian Theory of Natural Selection. My aim here is to outline the fundamental law of this theory in an informal way from its applications in The Origin of Species and to make explicit its fundamental concepts. I will introduce the theory-nets of special laws that arise from the specialization of the fundamental law. I will assume the metatheoretical structuralist frame. I will also point out many consequences that my proposal has about a (...) few metatheoretical discussions around the theory and, finally, I will relate my propose to other reconstructions available. (shrink)
The “hypervigilance, escape, struggle, tonic immobility” evolutionarily hardwired acute peritraumatic response sequence is important for clinicians to understand. Our commentary supplements the useful article on human tonic immobility (TI) by Marx, Forsyth, Gallup, Fusé and Lexington (2008). A hallmark sign of TI is peritraumatic tachycardia, which others have documented as a major risk factor for subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). TI is evolutionarily highly conserved (uniform across species) and underscores the need for DSM-V planners to consider the inclusion of (...) class='Hi'>evolution theory in the reconceptualization of anxiety and PTSD. We discuss the relevance of evolution theory to the DSM-V reconceptualization of acute dissociativeconversion symptoms and of epidemic sociogenic disorder(epidemic “hysteria”). Both are especially in need of attention in light of the increasing threat of terrorism against civilians. We provide other pertinent examples. Finally, evolution theory is not ideology driven (and makes testable predictions regarding etiology in “both directions”). For instance, it predicted the unexpected finding that some disorders conceptualized in DSM-IV-TR as innate phobias are conditioned responses and thus better conceptualized as mild forms of PTSD. Evolution theory may offer a conceptual framework in DSM-V both for treatment and for research on psychopathology. (shrink)
Making Sense of Evolution explores contemporary evolutionary biology, focusing on the elements of theories—selection, adaptation, and species—that are complex and open to multiple possible interpretations, many of which are incompatible with one another and with other accepted practices in the discipline. Particular experimental methods, for example, may demand one understanding of “selection,” while the application of the same concept to another area of evolutionary biology could necessitate a very different definition.
Julian Huxley on Darwinian evolution: A snapshot of a theory Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9499-8 Authors Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32303, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Much of the material MacNeilage cites to support his frame/content theory for the evolution of speech production in humans is not unique to mammals. Parallels can be drawn for comparable evolution of vocal flexibility (specifically the reproduction of human speech) in birds. I describe several such parallels and conclude that MacNeilage's hypotheses may have broader application than he envisioned.
The theory of punctuated equilibrium has been proposed as a challenge to the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory. Two important issues are raised. The first is scientific: whether morphological change as observed in the paleontological record is essentially always associated with speciation events. This paper argues that there is at present no empirical support for this claim: the alleged evidence is based on a definitional fallacy. The second issue is epistemological: whether macroevolution is an autonomous field of study, independent from (...) microevolutionary knowledge. It is herein argued that macroevolution and microevolution are not decoupled in two senses: identity at the level of events and compatibility of theories. But macroevolution is autonomous in the epistemologically important sense: macroevolutionary theories are not reducible to microevolutionary principles. It is finally pointed out that the discipline of macroevolution is notoriously lacking in theoretical constructs of great import and generality. (shrink)
Darwin's art collection : the prints, drawings, and photographs Darwin collected in the 1860s and 70s -- Illustrations and illusion : strategies Darwin used in illustrating his books -- Art, experience, and observation : Darwin's knowledge of art history and use of illustration in his books -- Darwin and the passions : how passion manuals informed Darwin's research -- Photography and evolution meet : connections between photography and biology in the 1860s -- Method to their madness : how photography (...) in mental hospitals influenced Darwin -- Laughing and crying : Darwin's quest for pictures of expressive babies -- Darwin's eyes and ears : the artists who guided Darwin's search for pictures -- Darwin's art photographer : Oscar Rejlander, Darwin's favorite photographer -- Rejlander's performances : posing for Darwin's pictures -- Alice, eugenics, and the spirit world : the aftermath of Darwin's experiments. (shrink)
The essays in this collection examine developments in three fundamental biological disciplines--embryology, evolutionary biology, and genetics--in conflict with each other for much of the twentieth century. They consider key methodological problems and the difficulty of overcoming them. Richard Burian interweaves historical appreciation of the settings within which scientists work, substantial knowledge of the biological problems at stake and the methodological and philosophical issues faced in integrating biological knowledge drawn from disparate sources.
"By combining recent advances in the physical sciences with some of the novel ideas, techniques, and data of modern biology, this book attempts to achieve a new and different kind of evolutionary synthesis. I found it to be challenging, fascinating, infuriating, and provocative, but certainly not dull."--James H, Brown, University of New Mexico "This book is unquestionably mandatory reading not only for every living biologist but for generations of biologists to come."--Jack P. Hailman, Animal Behaviour , review of the first (...) edition "An important contribution to modern evolutionary thinking. It fortifies the place of Evolutionary Theory among the other well-established natural laws."--R.Gessink, TAXON. (shrink)
In this controversial new book O'Hear takes a stand against the fashion for explaining human behavior in terms of evolution. He contends that while the theory of evolution is successful in explaining the development of the natural world in general, it is of limited value when applied to the human world. Because of our reflectiveness and our rationality we take on goals and ideals which cannot be justified in terms of survival-promotion or reproductive advantage. O'Hear examines the nature (...) of human self-consciousness, and argues that evolutionary theory cannot give a satisfactory account of such distinctive facets of human life as the quest for knowledge, moral sense, and the appreciation of beauty; in these we transcend our biological origins. It is our rationality that allows each of us to go beyond not only our biological but also our cultural inheritance: as the author says in the Preface, "we are prisoners neither of our genes nor of the ideas we encounter as we each make our personal and individual way through life.". (shrink)
It is increasingly evident that there is more to biological evolution than natural selection; moreover, the concept of evolution is not limited to biology. We propose an integrative framework for characterizing how entities evolve, in which evolution is viewed as a process of context-driven actualization of potential (CAP). Processes of change differ according to the degree of nondeterminism, and the degree to which they are sensitive to, internalize, and depend upon a particular context. The approach enables us (...) to embed phenomena across disciplines into a broad conceptual framework. We give examples of insights into physics, biology, culture and cognition that derive from this unifying framework. (shrink)
: This paper charts the gradual development of a theory of real space, underlying the created world and constituted by the extension of God Himself, in the writings of the Cambridge Platonist, Henry More. It identifies two impediments to More's embracing such a theory in the earlier part of his career, namely his initial commitment to the principles that (a) space was not real and (b) God was not extended, and it shows how he finally came to renounce these principles (...) in order to devise the theory so closely associated with him. (shrink)
This document explains, from the viewpoint of a philosopher/scientist atheist, why intelligent design should be taught alongside standard evolutionary theory. I have been very disappointed by things I have read by scientists recommending suppression of this topic, and even in one case arguing that the worst arguments in favour of ID should be collected together and refuted, which is a prescription for scientific dishonesty. An honest attack would present the best arguments, as cogently as possible, before exposing their flaws. (Something (...) I learnt from the writings of Karl Popper.). (shrink)
The paper characterizes Darwin's theory, providing a synthesis of recent historical investigations in this area. Darwin's reading of Malthus led him to appreciate the importance of population pressures, and subsequently of natural selection, with the help of the wedge metaphor. But, in itself, natural selection did not furnish an adequate account of the origin of species, for which a principle of divergence was needed. Initially, Darwin attributed this to geographical isolation, but later, following his work on barnacles which underscored the (...) significance of variation, and arising from his work on botanical arithmetic, he supposed that diversity allowed more places to be occupied in a given region. So isolation was not regarded as essential. Large regions with intense competition, and with ample variation spread by blending, would facilitate speciation. The notion of place was different from niche, and it is questioned whether Darwin's views on ecology were as modern as is commonly supposed. Two notions of struggle are found in Darwin's theory; and three notions of variation. Criticisms of his theory led him to emphasize the importance of variation over a range of forms. Hence the theory was populational rather than typological. The theory required a Lamarckian notion of inheritable changes initiated by the environment as a source of variation. Also, Darwin deployed a use/habit theory; and the notion of sexual selection. Selection normally acted at the level of the individual, though kin selection was possible. Group selection was hinted at for man. Darwin's thinking (and also the exposition of his theory) was generally guided by the domestic-organism analogy, which satisfied his methodological requirement of a vera causa principle. (shrink)
Here I discuss the basic elements, major stages, and completion of progressive evolution. The cosmic world of self-realization is based on extensive self-development within a closed contour: temporal counter-transitions of spatial counter-elements (energy bonds and media and, basically, substance structures) form of local worlds within it through evolution of informational structures. The organic world of reproduction develops through the open informational path: the initial substance, through energy exchange and metabolism, reproduces similar substance; the latter interacts with the environment (...) and, subsequently, reproduces its like, and so on. The animal world of self-regulation builds up a closed informational contour in the environment through the informational input and command output. The human world of self-cognition forms the intensive type of development within the internal closed informational contour of cognition. Counter-transitions of ideal images and signs relate to their real prototypes. In the course of cognition, abstractive thinking develops and brings man to the possibility of reflection of the initial world in its integrity (thus, elevates man to the infinite, by Hegel). (shrink)
We show 13 stages of the development of tool-use and tool making during different eras in the evolution of Homo sapiens. We used the NeoPiagetian Model of Hierarchical Complexity rather than Piaget's. We distinguished the use of existing methods imitated or learned from others, from doing such a task on one's own.
The evolution of humans required performing increasingly hierarchically complex tasks within multiple domains. Hierarchical complexity increases task by task. Tasks occur within, and differ by, determinable domains, their stages of performance measurable using the Model of Hierarchical Complexity. How well one performs within single and multiple domains is considered to indicate intelligence. Original task-initiation is more difficult than imitational learning and can create new domains. Levels of support reduce task difficulty, increasing performance. Task-performance may be generalized to other domains. (...) Stages of developing tools and empathy are presented to demonstrate domains' roles in the evolution of human intelligence. (shrink)
Ongoing hostilities between evolution and intelligent design adherents reveal deeper epistemological and ethical crises in American life. First, when adjudicating sociopolitical differences among people, how much epistemological “diversity” can be embraced before the very canons of judgment become suspect? Pragmatist notions of inquiry, warranted assertability, and pluralism can help strike a better balance. Second, the related crisis of factionalized “communities” might be addressed, along Deweyan lines, by the construction of a philosophical “total attitude” redolent of democratic ideals, more broadly (...) conceived. This attitude could grow out of reconstructed educational methods that train imaginative and interactive habits of inquiry and communication. (shrink)
Darwinian theories of culture need to show that they improve upon the commonsense view that cultural change is explained by humans? skillful pursuit of their conscious goals. In order for meme theory to pull its weight, it is not enough to show that the development and spread of an idea is, broadly speaking, Darwinian, in the sense that it proceeds by the accumulation of change through the differential survival and transmission of varying elements. It could still be the case that (...) the best explanation of why the idea has developed and spread is the conscious pursuit of human goals. Meme theory has the potential to do explanatory work in diverse ways. It can challenge the goal-based account of cultural change directly. Other possibilities for meme theory include explaining the acquisition of our goals and showing that memes and genes evolve together, each affecting the selective forces acting on the other. Raising the question of meme theory?s explanatory payoff brings out the importance of the ?selfish-meme? idea and the idea of non-content biases. Both have the potential to challenge the claim that our goals are in the driver?s seat. In order to show that a Darwinian theory of culture is more than an idle redescription, however, it is necessary to make the case that it offers explanatory gain over its competitors, in particular over the common sense goal-based account. (shrink)
Theories about the evolution of consciousness relate in an intimate way to theories about the distribution of consciousness, which range from the view that only human beings are conscious to the view that all matter is in some sense conscious. Broadly speaking, such theories can be classified into discontinuity theories and continuity theories. Discontinuity theories propose that consciousness emerged only when material forms reached a given stage of evolution, but propose different criteria for the stage at which this (...) occurred. Continuity theories argue that in some primal form, consciousness always accompanies matter and as matter evolved in form and complexity consciousness co-evolved, for example into the forms that we now recognise in human beings. Given our limited knowledge of the necessary and sufficient conditions for the presence of human consciousness in human brains, all options remain open. On balance however continuity theory appears to be more elegant than discontinuity theory. (shrink)
We have demonstrated, using the Cantor dust method, that the statistical distribution of appearance and disappearance of rodents species (Arvicolid rodent radiation in Europe) follows power laws strengthening the evidence for a fractal structure set. Self-similar laws have been used as model for the description of a huge number of biological systems. With Nottale we have shown that log-periodic behaviors of acceleration or deceleration can be applied to branching macroevolution, to the time sequences of major evolutionary leaps (global life tree, (...) sauropod and theropod dinosaurs postural structures, North American fossil equids, rodents, primates and echinoderms clades and human ontogeny). The Scale-Relativity Theory has others biological applications from linear with fractal behavior to non-linear and from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Brackets and tables, circles and maps, 1554-1872 -- Early botanical networks and trees, 1766-1815 -- The first evolutionary tree, 1786-1820 -- Diverse and unusual trees of the early nineteenth century, 1817-1834 -- The rule of five, 1819-1854 -- Pre-Darwinian branching diagrams, 1828-1858 -- Evolution and the trees of Charles Darwin, 1837-1868 -- The trees of Ernst Haeckel, 1866-1905 -- Post-Darwinian nonconformists, 1868-1896 -- More late-nineteenth-century trees, 1874-1897 -- Trees of the early twentieth century, 1901-1930 -- The trees of Alfred (...) Sherwood Romer, 1933-1966 -- Additional trees of the mid-twentieth century, 1931-1943 -- The trees of William King Gregory, 1938-1951 -- Hints of new approaches, 1954-1969 -- Phenograms and cladograms, 1958-1966 -- Early molecular trees, 1962-1987 -- Notable trees of the past four decades, 1970-2010 -- Primeval branches and universal trees of life, 1997-2010. (shrink)
Classical evolutionary explanations of social behavior classify behaviors from their effects, not from their underlying mechanisms. Here lies a potential objection against the view that morality can be explained by such models, e.g. Trivers’reciprocal altruism. However, evolutionary theory reveals a growing interest in the evolution of psychological mechanisms and factors them in as selective forces. This opens up perspectives for evolutionary approaches to problems that have traditionally worried moral philosophers. Once the ability to mind-read is factored-in among the relevant (...) variables in the evolution of moral abilities and counted among the selection pressures that have plausibly shaped our nature as moral agents, an evolutionary approach can contribute, so I will argue, to the solution of a long-standing debate in moral philosophy and psychology concerning the basic motivation for moral behavior. (shrink)
Attempts to explain the origin of macroevolutionary innovations have been only partially successful. Here it is proposed that the patterns of major evolutionary transitions have to be understood first, before it is possible to further analyse the forces behind the process. The hypothesis is that major evolutionary innovations are characterized by an increase in organismal autonomy, in the sense of emancipation from the environment. After a brief overview of the literature on this subject, increasing autonomy is defined as the evolutionary (...) shift in the individual system–environment relationship, such that the direct influences of the environment are gradually reduced and a stabilization of self-referential, intrinsic functions within the system is generated. This is described as relative autonomy because numerous interconnections with the environment and dependencies upon it are retained. Features of increasing autonomy are spatial separations, an increase in homeostatic functions and in body size, internalizations and an increase in physiological and behavioral flexibility. It is described how these features are present in different combinations in the major evolutionary transitions of metazoans and, consequently, how they should be taken into consideration when evolutionary innovations are studied. The hypothesis contributes to a reconsideration of the relationship between organisms and their environment. (shrink)
What evolved first: Languages for communicating, or languages for thinking (Generalised Languages: GLs)? (PDF) http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/talks/#glang Presented to Language and Cognition Seminar, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham. 19th Oct 2007..
In Book II of the Physics Aristotle remarks, “If the ship-building art were in the wood, it would produce the same results by nature.” Aristotle is here contrasting nature and art. Nature provides the raw materials (here wood); art provides the means for fashioning those materials (here into a ship). For Aristotle, art consists in the knowledge and skill to produce an object and presupposes the imposition of form on the object from outside. On the other hand, nature consists in (...) capacities inherent in the physical world--capacities that produce objects, as it were, internally and without outside help. Thus in Book VII of the Metaphysics Aristotle writes, “Art is a principle of movement in something other than the thing moved; nature is a principle in the thing itself.” Consequently, Aristotle refers to art as completing “what nature cannot bring to a finish.” Thomas Aquinas took this idea and sacramentalized it into grace completing nature. (shrink)