Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Extending the Explanatory Scope of Evolutionary Theory: The Origin of Historical Kinds in Biology and Culture

Version 1 : Received: 22 April 2019 / Approved: 24 April 2019 / Online: 24 April 2019 (11:20:29 CEST)

How to cite: Wagner, G.; Tomlinson, G. Extending the Explanatory Scope of Evolutionary Theory: The Origin of Historical Kinds in Biology and Culture. Preprints 2019, 2019040266 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201904.0266.v1). Wagner, G.; Tomlinson, G. Extending the Explanatory Scope of Evolutionary Theory: The Origin of Historical Kinds in Biology and Culture. Preprints 2019, 2019040266 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201904.0266.v1).

Abstract

Since its inception, evolutionary theory has experienced a number of extensions. The most important of these took the forms of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis (MES), embracing genetics and population biology in the early 20th century, and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) of the last thirty years, embracing, among other factors, non-genetic forms of inheritance. While we appreciate the motivation for this recent extension, we argue that it does not go far enough, since it restricts itself to widening explanations of adaptation by adding mechanisms of inheritance and variation. A more thoroughgoing extension is needed, one that widens the explanatory scope of evolutionary theory. In addition to adaptation and its various mechanisms, evolutionary theory must recognize as a distinct intellectual challenge the origin of what we call “historical kinds.” Under historical kinds we include any process that acquires a quasi-independent and traceable lineage-history in biological and cultural evolution. We develop the notion of a historical kind in a series of paradigmatic exemplars, from genes and homologues to rituals and music, and we propose a preliminary characterization.

Subject Areas

historical individuals, extended evolutionary synthesis, evolutionary innovation, culture

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