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Replication without replicators

Synthese 179 (3):455-477 (2011)

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  1. The Evolution of Ecosystem Phenotypes.Sébastien Ibanez - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (2):91-106.
    Evolution by natural selection has been extended to several supraorganismic levels, but whether it can apply to ecosystems remains controversial on two main counts. First, local ecosystems are loosely individuated, so that it is unclear how they manifest heredity and fitness. Second, even if they did, the meta-ecosystem formed by this population of local ecosystems will also suffer from a very low degree of cohesion, which will jeopardize any ENS. We suggest a way to overcome both issues, focusing on ecosystem (...)
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  • From Survivors to Replicators: Evolution by Natural Selection Revisited.Pierrick Bourrat - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):517-538.
    For evolution by natural selection to occur it is classically admitted that the three ingredients of variation, difference in fitness and heredity are necessary and sufficient. In this paper, I show using simple individual-based models, that evolution by natural selection can occur in populations of entities in which neither heredity nor reproduction are present. Furthermore, I demonstrate by complexifying these models that both reproduction and heredity are predictable Darwinian products (i.e. complex adaptations) of populations initially lacking these two properties but (...)
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  • Popper's Darwinian Analogy.Bence Nanay - 2011 - Perspectives on Science 19 (3):337-354.
    One of the most deeply entrenched ideas in Popper's philosophy is the analogy between the growth of scientific knowledge and the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection. Popper gave his first exposition of these ideas very early on. In a letter to Donald Campbell, 1 Popper says that the idea goes back at least to the early thirties. 2 And he had a fairly detailed account of it in his "What is dialectic?", a talk given in 1937 and published in 1940: (...)
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  • Unconscious Goals: Specific or Unspecific? The Potential Harm of the Goal/Gene Analogy.Bence Nanay - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (2):152-153.
    Huang and Bargh’s definition of goals is ambiguous between ‘specific goals’ – the end-state of a token action I am about to perform – and ‘unspecific goals’ – the end-state of an action-type (without specifying how this would be achieved). The analogy with selfish genes pushes the authors towards the former interpretation, but the latter would provide a more robust theoretical framework.
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  • George Kubler and the Biological Metaphor of Art.Bence Nanay - 2018 - British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (4):423-434.
    George Kubler was one of the most important art historians of the twentieth century who is especially relevant today mainly for shifting the emphasis from high art to what is now known as ‘visual culture’ and for being the first genuinely global art historian. But what he has been most widely known for is the rejection of the biological metaphor of art—the general idea that artistic styles and movements grow, flower and then wither away. I argue that Kubler did not (...)
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  • Replicate After Reading: On the Extraction and Evocation of Cultural Information.Maarten Boudry - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):27.
    Does cultural evolution happen by a process of copying or replication? And how exactly does cultural transmission compare with that paradigmatic case of replication, the copying of DNA in living cells? Theorists of cultural evolution are divided on these issues. The most important objection to the replication model has been leveled by Dan Sperber and his colleagues. Cultural transmission, they argue, is almost always reconstructive and transformative, while strict ‘replication’ can be seen as a rare limiting case at most. By (...)
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