Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Lewontin on ID, adaptationism and stuff

Richard Lewontin has an article coming out in the next (current?) New York Review of Books, which Michael Ruse has published on the Philosophy of Biology blog. In it Lewontin discusses the desire to find unitary explanations for culture, human nature, and everything using Darwinism.

In the course of the piece, after making some fairly standard and common sense criticisms of evolutionary psychology, Lewontin discusses the work of Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd. I have an interest in this regard, because I think that culture does evolve, and it does do so in a "darwinian" fashion. In fact I have written a piece on Lewontin and Fracchia's attack on that notion myself. But it does rather depend on what one means by "darwinian" - for me it doesn't need to commit us to particulate inheritance or weismannism of cultural development.