Thursday, April 5, 2007

Our evolutionarity is beyond a universal Darwinism

Indeed, it's our evolutionarity that gives appeal to the idea of unified theory, due to the evolved and ontogenic character of mind that inquires into "as such" prospects: So many modes of change; so, what is change as such? First, more or less, it was the power of a Sun god, then the oh-so-human Face of The Deep Creating the Heavens, etc. Everything is, so "is" Is, too?. But ultimately, we're beyond the question of "Being," back to the Sun, albeit relative to Earth's "goldilocks" water-hole distance from a star, Gaian depths of Time—geologeny, biologeny, paleoanthropogeny, culturality, history.

Richard R. Nelson, Columbia Earth Institute, Columbia University, provides a good example of the challenge of integrative discursivity that I discussed last week, in the last section of "philosophy as integrative discursivity," in his recent essay for Biology & Philosophy (22:1, January 2007): "Universal Darwinism and evolutionary social science." Here's the abstract:

"Save for Anthropologists, few social scientists have been among the participants in the discussions about the appropriate structure of a ‘Universal Darwinism’. Yet evolutionary theorizing about cultural, social, and economic phenomena has a long tradition, going back well before Darwin. And over the past quarter century significant literatures have grown up concerned with the processes of change operating on science, technology, business organization and practice, and economic change more broadly, that are explicitly evolutionary in theoretical orientation. In each of these fields of study, the broad proposition put forth by Darwin that change proceeds through a process involving variation, systematic selection, renewed variation... has proved both persuasive and powerful. On the other hand, the evolutionary processes involved in these areas differ in essential ways from those we now know are operative in the evolution of biological species. The objective of this essay is to highlight those differences, which a ‘Universal Darwinism’ needs to encompass, if it is to be broad enough to be a theory that is applicable to the evolution of human cultures as well as evolution in biology."