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  1. Darwinism, Memes, and Creativity: A Critique of Darwinian Analogical Reasoning From Nature to Culture.Maria Kronfeldner - 2007 - Dissertation, University of Regensburg
    The dissertation criticizes two analogical applications of Darwinism to the spheres of mind and culture: the Darwinian approach to creativity and memetics. These theories rely on three basic analogies: the ontological analogy states that the basic ontological units of culture are so-called memes, which are replicators like genes; the origination analogy states that novelty in human creativity emerges in a "blind" Darwinian manner; and the explanatory units of selection analogy states that memes are "egoistic" and that they can spread independently (...)
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  • The Inheritance of Features.Matteo Mameli - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):365-399.
    Since the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA, the standard account of the inheritance of features has been in terms of DNA-copying and DNA-transmission. This theory is just a version of the old theory according to which the inheritance of features is explained by the transfer at conception of some developmentally privileged material from parents to offspring. This paper does the following things: (1) it explains what the inheritance of features is; (2) it explains how the DNA-centric theory (...)
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  • Reconsidering Cultural Selection Theory.G. K. D. Crozier - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):455-479.
    This paper examines conceptual issues that arise in applications of Darwinian natural selection to cultural systems. I argue that many criticisms of cultural selectionist models have been based on an over-detailed reading of the analogy between biological and cultural units of selection. I identify five of the most powerful objections to cultural selection theory and argue that none cuts to its heart. Some objections are based on mistaken assumptions about the simplicity of the mechanisms of biological heredity. Other objections are (...)
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  • Using False Models to Elaborate Constraints on Processes: Blending Inheritance in Organic and Cultural Evolution.William C. Wimsatt - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (S3):S12-S24.
    Scientific models may be more useful for false assumptions they make than true ones when one is interested not in the fit of the model, but in the form of the residuals. Modeling Darwin’s “blending” theory of inheritance shows how it illuminates features of Mendelian theory. Insufficient understanding of it leads to incorrect moves in modeling population structure. But it may prove even more useful for organizing a theory of cultural evolution. Analysis of “blending” inheritance gives new tools for recognizing (...)
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  • Is Cultural Fitness Hopelessly Confused?Grant Ramsey & Andreas De Block - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
    Fitness is a central concept in evolutionary theory. Just as it is central to biological evolution, so, it seems, it should be central to cultural evolutionary theory. But importing the biological fitness concept to CET is no straightforward task—there are many features unique to cultural evolution that make this difficult. This has led some theorists to argue that there are fundamental problems with cultural fitness that render it hopelessly confused. In this essay, we defend the coherency of cultural fitness against (...)
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  • The Organism-Centered Approach to Cultural Evolution.Andreas De Block & Grant Ramsey - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):283-290.
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  • Darwinian 'Blind' Hypothesis Formation Revisited.Maria E. Kronfeldner - 2010 - Synthese 175 (2):193--218.
    Over the last four decades arguments for and against the claim that creative hypothesis formation is based on Darwinian ‘blind’ variation have been put forward. This paper offers a new and systematic route through this long-lasting debate. It distinguishes between undirected, random, and unjustified variation, to prevent widespread confusions regarding the meaning of undirected variation. These misunderstandings concern Lamarckism, equiprobability, developmental constraints, and creative hypothesis formation. The paper then introduces and develops the standard critique that creative hypothesis formation is guided (...)
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  • Internal History Versus External History.Bence Nanay - 2017 - Philosophy 92 (2):207-230.
  • Sculpting the Space of Actions. Explaining Human Action by Integrating Intentions and Mechanisms.Machiel Keestra - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Amsterdam
    How can we explain the intentional nature of an expert’s actions, performed without immediate and conscious control, relying instead on automatic cognitive processes? How can we account for the differences and similarities with a novice’s performance of the same actions? Can a naturalist explanation of intentional expert action be in line with a philosophical concept of intentional action? Answering these and related questions in a positive sense, this dissertation develops a three-step argument. Part I considers different methods of explanations in (...)
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  • Information, Complexity and Generative Replication.Geoffrey M. Hodgson & Thorbjørn Knudsen - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (1):47-65.
    The established definition of replication in terms of the conditions of causality, similarity and information transfer is very broad. We draw inspiration from the literature on self-reproducing automata to strengthen the notion of information transfer in replication processes. To the triple conditions of causality, similarity and information transfer, we add a fourth condition that defines a “generative replicator” as a conditional generative mechanism, which can turn input signals from an environment into developmental instructions. Generative replication must have the potential to (...)
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  • The Transition to Civilization and Symbolically Stored Genomes.Jon Beach - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34 (1):109-141.
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  • The Transition to Civilization and Symbolically Stored Genomes.Jon Beach - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 34 (1):109-141.
    The study of culture and cultural selection from a biological perspective has been hampered by the lack of any firm theoretical basis for how the information for cultural traits is stored and transmitted. In addition, the study of any living system with a decentralized or multi-level information structure has been somewhat restricted due to the focus in genetics on the gene and the particular hereditary structure of multicellular organisms. Here a different perspective is used, one which regards living systems as (...)
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  • The Semiotics of Memes in the Law: Jack Balkin’s Promise of Legal Semiotics. [REVIEW]Christopher B. Gray - 2009 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 22 (4):411-424.
    The jurisprudent Jack M. Balkin introduced the analogy of memes as a semiotic device for understanding the law. His notion of cultural software into which this device was inserted is developed first, followed by a development of memetic analysis and its several semiotic dimensions. After a brief treatment of the position of ideology in view of memetic analysis, and the corresponding notion of transcendence, Balkin’s explicitly semiotic setting for this doctrine is displayed. This method is then briefly applied to the (...)
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  • Commentary: Reengineering the Darwinian Sciences in Social Context.William C. Wimsatt - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (4):338-341.
  • Generalized Darwinism and Evolutionary Economics: From Ontology to Theory.Geoffrey M. Hodgson & Thorbjørn Knudsen - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (4):326-337.
    Despite growing interest in evolutionary economics since the 1980s, a unified theoretical approach has so far been lacking. Methodological and ontological discussions within evolutionary economics have attempted to understand and help rectify this failure, but have revealed in turn further differences of perspective. One aim of this article is to show how different approaches relate to different levels of abstraction. A second purpose is to show that generalized Darwinism is some way from the most abstract level, and illustrates how it (...)
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  • Bill Wimsatt on Multiple Ways of Getting at the Complexity of Nature.William Bechtel, Werner Callebaut, James R. Griesemer & Jeffrey C. Schank - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (2):213-219.
  • An Evolutionary Social Science? A Skeptic’s Brief, Theoretical and Substantive.Joseph M. Bryant - 2004 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (4):451-492.
    So-called grand or paradigmatic theories—structural functionalism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, rational-choice theory—provide their proponents with a conceptual vocabulary and syntax that allows for the classification and configuring of wide ranges of phenomena. Advocates for any particular “analytical grammar” are accordingly prone to conflating the internal coherence of their paradigm—its integrated complex of definitions, axioms, and inferences—with a corresponding capacity for representational verisimilitude. The distinction between Theory-as-heuristic and Theory-as-imposition is of course difficult to negotiate in practice, given that empirical observation and measurement are (...)
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  • Replication Without Replicators.Bence Nanay - 2011 - Synthese 179 (3):455-477.
    According to a once influential view of selection, it consists of repeated cycles of replication and interaction. It has been argued that this view is wrong: replication is not necessary for evolution by natural selection. I analyze the nine most influential arguments for this claim and defend the replication–interaction conception of selection against these objections. In order to do so, however, the replication–interaction conception of selection needs to be modified significantly. My proposal is that replication is not the copying of (...)
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  • Articulating Babel: An Approach to Cultural Evolution.William C. Wimsatt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):563-571.
    After an initial discussion of the character of interdisciplinary linkages between complex disciplines, I consider an area with confluences of many diverse disciplines—the study of cultural evolution. This must embrace not only the traditional biological sciences, but also the multiple often warring disciplines of the human sciences. This interdisciplinary articulation is in its early stages compared, e.g., to that of evolutionary biology or evolutionary developmental biology, and I try to lay out major axes along which its articulation should plausibly occur, (...)
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  • Understanding Culture: A Commentary on Richerson and Boyd’s Not By Genes Alone.Matteo Mameli - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (2):269-281.
    (2) There is significant cultural variation in the way people reason, categorize, and react to various aspects of the world. A proper understanding of such variation has implications for theories about human nature – and cognitive architecture – and its malleability. In turn, these theories have implications for theories about the status and generalisability of psychological explanations (see Nisbett 2003), for theories about the extent to which social engineering and social reform is possible (see Singer 2000), etc.
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  • Using False Models to Elaborate Constraints on Processes: Blending Inheritance in Organic and Cultural Evolution.William C. Wimsatt - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S12-S24.
    Scientific models may be more useful for false assumptions they make than true ones when one is interested not in the fit of the model, but in the form of the residuals. Modeling Darwin’s “blending” theory of inheritance shows how it illuminates features of Mendelian theory. Insufficient understanding of it leads to incorrect moves in modeling population structure. But it may prove even more useful for organizing a theory of cultural evolution. Analysis of “blending” inheritance gives new tools for recognizing (...)
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  • Reengineering the Darwinian Sciences in Social Context.William C. Wimsatt - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (4):338.
  • A Formal Investigation of Cultural Selection Theory: Acoustic Adaptation in Bird Song.G. K. D. Crozier - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (5):781-801.
    The greatest challenge for Cultural Selection Theory lies is the paucity of evidence for structural mechanisms in cultural systems that are sufficient for adaptation by natural selection. In part, clarification is required with respect to the interaction between cultural systems and their purported selective environments. Edmonds et al. have argued that Cultural Selection Theory requires simple, conclusive, unambiguous case studies in order to meet this challenge. To that end, this paper examines the songs of the Rufous-collared Sparrow, which seem to (...)
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