Nonequilibrium thermodynamics and different axioms of evolution

Acta Biotheoretica 35 (1-2):77-106 (1986)

Abstract
Proponents of two axioms of biological evolutionary theory have attempted to find justification by reference to nonequilibrium thermodynamics. One states that biological systems and their evolutionary diversification are physically improbable states and transitions, resulting from a selective process; the other asserts that there is an historically constrained inherent directionality in evolutionary dynamics, independent of natural selection, which exerts a self-organizing influence. The first, the Axiom of Improbability, is shown to be nonhistorical and thus, for a theory of change through time, acausal. Its perception of the improbability of living states is at least partially an artifact of closed system thinking. The second, the Axiom of Historically Determined Inherent Directionality, is supported evidentially and has an explicit historical component. Historically constrained dynamic populations are inherently nonequilibrium systems. It is argued that living, evolving systems, when considered to be historically constrained nonequilibrium systems, do not appear improbable at all. Thus, the two axioms are not compatible. Instead, the Axiom of Improbability is considered to result from an unjustified attempt to extend the contingent proximal actions of natural selection into the area of historical, causal explanations. It is thus denied axiomatic status, and the effects of natural selection are subsumed as an additional level of constraint in an evolutionary theory derived from the Axiom of Historically Determined Inherent Directionality
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DOI 10.1007/BF00118368
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References found in this work BETA

Order Out of Chaos.Ilya Prigogine & Isabelle Stengers - 1985 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 36 (3):352-354.
Phylogenetic Systematics.Willi Hennig, D. Dwight Davis & Rainer Zangerl - 1980 - Philosophy of Science 47 (3):499-502.
From Being to Becoming.I. Prigogine - 1982 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 33 (3):325-329.
Aspects of Scientific Explanation.Michael D. Resnik - 1966 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 27 (1):139-140.

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Citations of this work BETA

Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (3):344-355.
Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (3):344-355.

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