F.A. Hayek’s 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 Hayek’s 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 —depending on the radius of interaction and learning neighborhood—eventually may adopt new strategies that lead to higher payoffs. (shrink)
Using a naturalistic video database, we examined whether gestures scaffolded the symbolic development of a language-enculturated chimpanzee, a language-enculturated bonobo, and a human child during the second year of life. These three species constitute a complete clade: species possessing a common immediate ancestor. A basic finding was the functional and formal similarity of many gestures between chimpanzee, bonobo, and human child. The child’s symbols were spoken words; the apes’ symbols were lexigrams, noniconic visual signifiers. A developmental pattern in which gestural (...) representation of a referent preceded symbolic representation of the same referent appeared in all three species (but was statistically significant only for the child). Nonetheless, across species, the ratio of symbol to gesture increased significantly with age. But even though their symbol production increased, the apes continued to communicate more frequently by gesture than by symbol. In contrast, by15-18 months of age, the child used symbols more frequently than gestures. This ontogenetic sequence from gesture to symbol, present across the clade but more pronounced in child than ape, provides support for the role of gesture in language evolution. In all three species, the overwhelming majority of gestures were communicative (paired with eye-contact, vocalization, and/or persistence). However, vocalization was rare for the apes, but accompanied the majority of the child’s communicative gestures. This finding suggests the co-evolution of speech and gesture after the evolutionary divergence of the hominid line. Multimodal expressions of communicative intent (e.g., vocalization plus persistence) were normative for the child, but less common for the apes. This finding suggests that multimodal expression of communicative intent was also strengthened after hominids diverged from apes. (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)
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)
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)
Since the BBS article in which Premack and Woodruff (1978) asked “Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?,” it has been repeatedly claimed that there is observational and experimental evidence that apes have mental state concepts, such as “want” and “know.” Unlike research on the development of theory of mind in childhood, however, no substantial progress has been made through this work with nonhuman primates. A survey of empirical studies of imitation, self-recognition, social relationships, deception, role-taking, and (...) perspective-taking suggests that in every case where nonhuman primate behavior has been interpreted as a sign of theory of mind, it could instead have occurred by chance or as a product of nonmentalistic processes such as associative learning or inferences based on nonmental categories. Arguments to the effect that, in spite of this, the theory of mind hypothesis should be accepted because it is more parsimonious than alternatives or because it is supported by convergent evidence are not compelling. Such arguments are based on unsupportable assumptions about the role of parsimony in science and either ignore the requirement that convergent evidence proceed from independent assumptions, or fail to show that it supports the theory of mind hypothesis over nonmentalist alternatives. Progress in research on theory of mind requires experimental procedures that can distinguish the theory of mind hypothesis from nonmentalist alternatives. A procedure that may have this potential is proposed. It uses conditional discrimination training and transfer tests to determine whether chimpanzees have the concept “see.” Commentators are invited to identify flaws in the procedure and to suggest alternatives. Key Words: apes; associative learning; concepts; convergence; deception; evolution of intelligence; folk psychology; imitation; mental state attribution; monkeys; parsimony; perspective-taking; primates; role-taking; self-recognition; social cognition; social intelligence; theory of mind. (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)
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)
Profiles three British voyagers who became fierce defenders of Darwin's theory of evolution, tracing the lives and scientific discoveries of Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace during respective voyages to the southern ...
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)
Nelson and Winter’s An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change (1982) was the foundational work of what has become the thriving sub-discipline of evolutionary economics. In attempting to develop an alternative to neoclassical economics, the authors looked to borrow basic ideas from biology, in particular a concept of economic “natural selection.” However, the evolutionary models they construct in their seminal work are in many respects quite different from the models of evolutionary biology. There is no reproduction in any usual sense, (...) “mutation” is directed as opposed to blind, and there is no meaningful distinction between phenotype and genotype. Despite these substantial departures from the conceptions of evolutionary biology, I argue that the “evolutionary” economics of Nelson and Winter is indeed a legitimate extension of Darwinian evolutionary principles to a novel domain, and that the traditional conception of evolution by natural selection must be revised. The novel features of evolutionary economics models reflect the distinctive theoretical requirements faced by economists. I further contend that reproduction, heredity, blind variation, and the genotype/phenotype distinction are all inessential to evolutionary theory, and that their role in evolutionary biology is a domain-specific feature of biological theory. (shrink)
For many years the evolution of language has been seen as a disreputable topic, mired in fanciful “just so stories” about language origins. However, in the last decade a new synthesis of modern linguistics, cognitive neuroscience and neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory has begun to make important contributions to our understanding of the biology and evolution of language. I review some of this recent progress, focusing on the value of the comparative method, which uses data from animal species to (...) draw inferences about language evolution. Discussing speech first, I show how data concerning a wide variety of species, from monkeys to birds, can increase our understanding of the anatomical and neural mechanisms underlying human spoken language, and how bird and whale song provide insights into the ultimate evolutionary function of language. I discuss the “descended larynx” of humans, a peculiar adaptation for speech that has received much attention in the past, which despite earlier claims is not uniquely human. Then I will turn to the neural mechanisms underlying spoken language, pointing out the difficulties animals apparently experience in perceiving hierarchical structure in sounds, and stressing the importance of vocal imitation in the evolution of a spoken language. Turning to ultimate function, I suggest that communication among kin (especially between parents and offspring) played a crucial but neglected role in driving language evolution. Finally, I briefly discuss phylogeny, discussing hypotheses that offer plausible routes to human language from a non-linguistic chimp-like ancestor. I conclude that comparative data from living animals will be key to developing a richer, more interdisciplinary understanding of our most distinctively human trait: language. (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)
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.
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)
In late September 1838, Darwin read Malthus's Essay on Population, which left him with “a theory by which to work.”115 Yet he waited some twenty years to publish his discovery in the Origin of Species. Those interested in the fine grain of Darwin's development have been curious about this delay. One recent explanation has his hand stayed by fear of reaction to the materialist implications of linking man with animals. “Darwin sensed,” according to Howard Gruber, “that some would object (...) to seeing rudiments of human mentality in animals, while others would recoil at the idea of remnants of animality in man.”116 With this link closed, Darwin hung the materialist chain around his own neck, where it rested most uncomfortably. Stephen Gould, supporting Gruber's argument, finds evidence for this reconstruction in Darwin's M and N notebooks, whichinclude many statements showing that he espoused but feared to expose something he perceived as far more heretical than evolution itself: philosophical materialism-the postulate that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. No notion could be more upsetting to the deepest traditions of Western thought than the statement that mind-however complex and powerful-is simply a product of brain.117The proferred hypothesis suggests, then, that Darwin was acutely sensible of the social consequences of equating men with animals and therefore mind with brian, and that he thus shied from publically revealing his views until the intellectual climate became more tolerant.The history I have examined makes this hypothesis implausible. Even if Darwin warily explored the implications of his emerging theory in his notebooks, his subsequent study of Fleming, Wells, Brougham, and Kirby should have quieted any trepidation. If these natural theologians did not flinch at seeing human reason prefigured in the mind of a worm, should Darwin have? Moreover, he recognized in his M notebook that the thesis of evolutionary continuity between men and animals did not require an explicit avowal of his conviction that brain was the agent of thought.118 And in any case, his materialism was of a rather benign sort; at least he so expressed it in an annotation in Abercrombie's Inquiries concerning the Intellectual Powers (1838): “By materialism I mean, merely the intimate connection of thought with form of brain — like kind of attraction with nature of element.”119 This belief would have held little terror for British intellectuals, who were quite familiar — some even comfortable-with Locke's anti-Cartesian argument that there was nothing contradictory in supposing God could make matter to think.120 Finally, even if the intellectual atmosphere of early nineteenth-century Britain were inhospitable to Darwin's brand of materialism, there is little reason to believe he breathed a different air at mid-century while preparing his manuscript.That Darwin should not have feared suspicions of materialism, of course, does not mean that he did not. But I think there were other, more persistent sources of anxiety that kept him from rushing to publish: namely, the several conceptual obstacles he had to overcome if his theory of evolution by natural selection were to be made scientifically acceptable. Prominent among these were the problems surrounding his changing notions of instinct.The inertia of his older ideas about instinct at first made it hard for Darwin to gauge how far the theory of natural selection might be applied to behavior. By the early 1840s he finally felt ready to meet the challenge of the natural theologians by providing a naturalistic explanation for the wonderful instincts of animals. In his “Essays” of 1842 and 1844 one sort of instinct is, however, not considered-that of neuter insects. Yet Darwin seems to have appreciated the difficulties such instincts entailed at least by 1843, when he read Kirby and Spence. He simply required time to work out a solution to a problem he initially perceived as “fatal to my whole theory.” Even while writing the “Species Book” in the summer of 1857, he was still juggling several possible solutions compatible with natural selection. It was only a short time before he actually turned to work on the Origin of Species that he appears to have settled on a single explanation for the difficulties posed by the instincts of worker bees and ants. The force of his theory of community selection snapped the last critical support of the creationist hypothesis and, conveniently enough, also fractured the generalized Lamarckian account of the evolution of behavior. These results were worth waiting for. (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)
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)
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)
During the 20th century two major ventures were launched to advance Darwinian evolutiontheory. 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)
Sterelny's Thought in a Hostile World () presents a complex, systematically structured theory of the evolution of cognition centered on a concept of decoupled representation. Taking Godfrey-Smith's () 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)
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 evolutiontheory 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. Evolutiontheory, 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 evolutiontheory 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)
“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)
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)
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)
The authors explore the heuristic implications of chaos theory for the study of the process of communicating. Chaos theory's application to the study of communication is delineated from a socio?cultural perspective. The basic tenants of chaos theory are outlined and some of the parallels between chaos theory, as developed for the physical sciences, and the process of communicating are described. Theoretical foundations for a chaos theory of communicating are laid, and suggestions are made for future (...)evolution and testing of these foundations. (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.
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)
Habermas's theory of social evolution has been subjected to critique by environmentally motivated sociologists. They argue that his decision to recast social theory in terms of an extended, if selective analogy with biology leads him into a set of practical positions that are irreconcilable with Green politics and inconsistent with the goals of traditional critical theory. This article argues that these criticisms are based on an inaccurate assessment of the role of evolutionary concepts in Habermas's thought. (...) By drawing out the similarities between Habermas and Kant on the question of the relationship between history and natural history, it is possible to see that Habermas's use of evolutionary metaphors plays a regulative rather than a constitutive role in his thinking on society. This strategy does not save Habermas's position, but shows instead that it may be vulnerable to an immanent critique that pulls out the real underlying antagonisms in his system. (shrink)
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.
A fundamental philosophical question that arises in connection with evolutionary theory is whether the fittest patterns of behavior are always the most rational. Are fitness and rationality fully compatible? When behavioral rationality is characterized formally as in classical decision theory, the question becomes mathematically meaningful and can be explored systematically by investigating whether the optimally fit behavior predicted by evolutionary process models is decision-theoretically coherent. Upon investigation, it appears that in nontrivial evolutionary models the expected behavior is not (...) always in accord with the norms of the standard theory of decision as ordinarily applied. Many classically irrational acts, e.g. betting on the occurrence of one event in the knowledge that the probabilities favor another, can under certain circumstances constitute adaptive behavior.One interesting interpretation of this clash is that the criterion of rationality offered by classical decision theory is simply incorrect (or at least incomplete) as it stands, and that evolutionary theory should be called upon to provide a more generally applicable theory of rationality. Such a program, should it prove feasible, would amount to the logical reduction of the theory of rational choice to evolutionary theory. (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.
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)
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'>evolutiontheory in the reconceptualization of anxiety and PTSD. We discuss the relevance of evolutiontheory 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, evolutiontheory 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. Evolutiontheory may offer a conceptual framework in DSM-V both for treatment and for research on psychopathology. (shrink)
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)
Signaling games with reinforcement learning have been used to model the evolution of term languages (Lewis 1969, Convention. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; Skyrms 2006, “Signals” Presidential Address. Philosophy of Science Association for PSA). In this article, syntactic games, extensions of David Lewis’s original sender–receiver game, are used to illustrate how a language that exploits available syntactic structure might evolve to code for states of the world. The evolution of a language occurs in the context of available vocabulary (...) and syntax—the role played by each component is compared in the context of simple reinforcement learning. (shrink)
"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)
: 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)
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)
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)
Formulation of a general model of evolution is presented which is based upon the recognition of the ?biosocial? entity, that is the biosphere and human society, as a component?system. It can be demonstrated that the interactions of the components (moleculas, cells, organisms, ecosystems in the biological realms and people, artifacts and ideas in the societies) have replicative organization. We suggest an explanation for the spontaneous emergence of replicative function and organization, a process called autogenesis. During autogenesis, hierarchical levels of (...) replicative organization emerge and compartmentalization and convergence of replicative information occurs. Questions of the origin and evolution of life are discussed. The replicative paradigm can also be applied to the processes of cultural evolution, in which complex replicative networks of people, ideas, and man?made artifacts show all stages and phenomena of autogenesis. Finally, the present state of evolution of the whole global biosocial system is discussed. (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)