Skip to main content
main-content

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Sociobiology, Theory of Evolution, and Bioeconomics Introduction

Sociobiology, Theory of Evolution, and Bioeconomics Introduction

Abstract
Sociobiology forms a unifying theory of the social interactions in the human and in the animal world. Its principle unifying human and animal societies is the maximisation of genetic fitness by the individual. The maximisation of genetic fitness forms the basic “teleology” of the individual in society. As an application of the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis of evolution theory sociobiology extends Darwinian evolutionary theory to the realm of the social and economic sciences. Sociobiology becomes bioeconomics or the analysis of the economy of nature since individuals and species compete for the same scarce resources of nature to maximise their inclusive fitness and the survival of their off-spring. To make economic use of the resources of nature is a necessary part of maximising inclusive fitness. The life sciences are led by their own research to economic theory for being able to analyse the economy of nature. To live means to make economic use of one’s own resources and of those of one’s environment. Wasting resources implies reducing the development of life forms.
Peter Koslowski

Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, Sociobiology, and the Economy of Nature

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Darwinian Monism: The Economy of Nature

Abstract
Late in September of 1838 Charles Darwin read a book by Robert Malthus, and discovered natural selection. Darwin, then 29 years old, was the Secretary of the Geological Society of London. Malthus, who had died two years previously, had been the first professor of economics. The interdisciplinary relationship may serve to remind us of two very important points. First, Darwin transformed biology into an historical science, in the sense that geology is an historical science. Second, Darwin transformed biology into an economic science, by showing that the natural economy and the political economy are variations upon a common theme (Hirshleifer 1978).
Michael T. Ghiselin

Chapter 2. Coercion

Abstract
Over the last three decades, research in behavioural ecology has focussed on the choices that individuals make over food (Stephens/Krebs 1986), mating opportunities (Andersson 1995), parental care (Clutton-Brock 1991) and cooperation with other group members (Brown 1987; Clutton-Brock/Parker 1995b). Yet, in social species, most individuals rarely have the opportunity to choose freely because their options are constrained by the behaviour of dominant animals (Clutton-Brock/Parker 1995b). Coercion is common in many contexts where conflicts of interest occur, but is particularly important in interactions between the sexes, where it often has substantial costs to females. In a recent paper (1993), Smuts and Smuts argue that sexual coercion should be regarded as a third form of sexual selection, separate from intrasexual competition and intersexual mate choice. Whether or not this is accepted, it is clear that sexual coercion has not received the attention that it deserves.
Tim Clutton-Brock, Geoff A. Parker

Chapter 3. Does the Second Law of Thermodynamics Refute the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis?

Abstract
Ever since Darwin, there has been a troubled but changing relationship between two great achievements of nineteenth century science, thermodynam­ics and Darwinian evolutionary theory. The second law of thermodynamics, particularly in its Boltzmannian statistical formulation, predicts that as en­tropy increases to a maximum, so will disorder. Eventually, energy differ­ences in the universe will disappear, so that no more work will be possible. Darwin’s theory, by contrast, implies the possibility that biological systems can, though not necessarily, increase in ordered complexity over time through the action of natural selection. The increase in heterogeneity that is a hall­mark of life does not seem to follow the arrow of time that points toward the heat death of the universe.
Bruce H. Weber, David J. Depew

Natural Selection and Developmental Systems: Redrawing the Boundaries Between Genetic and Non-Genetic Factors of Evolution

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Evolutionary and Developmental Formation: Politics of the Boundary

Abstract
Much of my work has been concerned with what we could call the politics of the boundary. The meaning of “politics” here is very broad, having to do with all sorts of influence and power, but especially the power to define and privilege, include and exclude, render central or peripheral. Though this may involve matters “outside” science (a fraught frontier if ever there was one) it need not. Some of my reasons for working on the nature-nurture problem stem from concerns about publicly contested issues of, say, intelligence, race or sex, but most have to do with the kinds of distinctions that are made in the scientific work that draws on and feeds these larger disputes. Any theory carves the world in particular ways and so legitimates some entities and distinctions while leaving others beyond the pale--secondary, invisible or unintelligible.
Susan Oyama

Chapter 5. The Gene Is Dead — Long Live the Gene! Conceptualizing Genes the Constructionist Way

Abstract
Mae-Wan Ho (1988) pointed out that it is a particular problem of contemporary biology that it destroys the “Unity of Nature” by looking through the “Neo-Darwinian looking glass”. The “Unity of Nature” was, and is, a fact of immediate experience for many civilizations past and present. The history of science indicates, however, that science “is concerned with separating and reducing this unity into ever smaller and smaller fragments of which nature somehow must be glued together.” Ho continues: It is a history, not only of fragmentation, but of our own alienation from nature.“ Not only the inorganic world has become reduced to mechanisms and atoms, but the organic world as well. In this process it is “Neo-Darwinism which dealt the final blow in disintegrating the organism to a mere collection of particles (genes) shuffled by blind selective ‘forces’.” The result is that “....humanity [is left] to the dilemma of a disembodied and hence impotent mind pitched against the mindless automation of a body controlled by genes whose sole imperative is to replicate.” In opposition to this approach, Ho demands that we return to a rival tradition “that resolutely resists fragmentation in favour of integration and process.” Because: “once we begin to see biology again in the light of nature’s unity, mind and body will become reunited through processes embracing every level from the sociocultural to the molecular. The organism itself — its functions, volitions and actions — will then be rightly perceived, not as the sole consequence of natural selection, but as a focus of being immanent to process and emerging simultaneously with it.” (Ho 1988, p. 117f.). The organism becomes relocated within nature.
Eva M. Neumann-Held

Redrawing the Boundaries Between the Narratives of Evolutionary Biology and the Narratives of Hermeneutics, Mythology, and Philosophy

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. The Role of Hermeneutics in Biology

Abstract
This report attempts to sum up the many years of work (since 1972) of the Seminar on Theoretical Biology (now the Seminar on Biohermeneutics of the St. Petersburg League of Scientists). The Seminar deals not only with the subject of this report, but with that of the conference at hand as a whole. In addition, in Tver’ in February 1996 there was a workshop on theoretical biology and theoretical economics held by the Seminar and the V.A. Naishul Private Institute for a National Model of the Economy (proceedings in preparation), where the centre of interest was the problem of semiosis and interpretation as key processes in the functioning of living beings and economics.
Sergey V. Chebanov

Chapter 7. Science and Mythology: a New “metaxu”?

Abstract
Human intelligence is concerned with what the Scholastics called “adequatio cum re”. Concepts are elaborated by reality seizing. What is the counterpart of this Human activity when one has to cope with the three ultimate realities of human life: “Where do we come from?”, “What is the ultimate goal of one’s life?” and “Why is there is something instead of nothing?” Is it not in order to answer such essential and perennial questions and to avoid proceeding along the steep slopes of metaphysics towards the discovery of the ultimate Reality, the First Being, that mythologies or achetypes are built up? These fundamental questions pervade one’s reflexion and cannot but reappear within Science. After the dramatic divorce between Philosophy and Science during the period of the “Naturphilosophie”, although some philosophers have been concerned with the interrogations of the scientific world, the contrary is certainly not true. Even Wittgenstein maintains that, “Philosophy is a synopsis of trivialities” and Heisenberg, one of the founders of Quantum Mechanics affirms that, “Nothing can be done in Philosophy nowadays without reference to modern Physics.”
Jacques Vauthier

Chapter 8. What Is the Impact of a Philosophically Based Criticism of Socio-Biology on the Scientific Community?

Abstract
The topic of my lecture deals basically with the question: How to treat scientific results? As you know, there are different ways to do this.One is the example given by Copernicus when he found that the geocentric model of universe was wrong and had to be exchanged by the heliocentric one. He decided, for whatever reason, not to get his results published during his lifetime. One can speculate about the reasons he had for this, the one given by him is: “If the great and mighty God allows such a long time to pass until a human being finds out the great design of his universe he was so great to give us, so a few years more or less will mot make a big difference.”
Aloys Hüttermann

Synergetics, Symbiosis and Cooperation in Sociology and Biology

Frontmatter

Chapter 9. Synergetics in Sociology and Biology

Abstract
Each human being is embedded in some society. Here we take the word “society” in a wide sense and may understand by it a group of humans ranging from a family to the world population. In the following we want to study the relationship between the individual and the system from the point of view of synergetics, an approach that we shall outline below. When we consider an individual, there are two main factors that may determine his or her development. The one factor is the gene, where one extreme attitude is taken by Dawkins (Dawkins 1976) with his concept of the selfish gene. The other factor is the environment that acts on the individual in a variety of ways that we shall discuss below. Rather clearly, there is an interplay between the genetic outfit and the impact of the environment. Society being composed of individuals is by no means fixed, it behaves rather in a fluid manner. Moreover, a society does not only influence the individual, but the latter may also influence the society in a variety of ways. This leads us to the question of how we can characterize human social organization and what are the mechanisms that bring about such kind of organization. In my article I will adopt the attitude that society as well as any organism in nature underlies the laws of self-organization that have been unearthed by synergetics (Haken 1983, 1984). When dealing with complex systems, such as society, it will be a crucial task to characterize their collective features. Some manifestations of collective human behavior are certainly language and culture, but we would like to find means how to identify or characterize such collective features.
Hermann Haken

Chapter 10. Symbiosis, Mutualism and Cooperation in Biological Evolution

Abstract
Living organisms interact with their environment, and both positive and negative interactions between organisms are driving forces in the organisation and development of ecosystems. Negative interactions like competition, which is often regarded as the most important of these forces, directly take part in selection. On the other hand, positive interactions in symbiosis, especially mutualism, and cooporation may considerably contribute to the generation of variability and complexity and to an enormous increase in fitnes. This will be elucidated discussing examples of the various types of associations. The evolution of the eucyte (eukaryotic cell) as a basic unit of life and sexual reproduction being unique for eukaryotes has been possible on the basis of symbiosis (interspecific associations) and cooperation (intraspecific associations), respectively.
Hans-Dieter Görtz

Evolutionary Biology and Economic Theory

Frontmatter

Chapter 11. Are Economic Systems Like Organisms?

Abstract
Hodgson (1993) and Ormerod (1994) are the latest among a string of economists to declare their own discipline “in crisis” within the past 15 years. And like the others before them, they trace the crisis to the mechanistic foundations of modern western science itself. They call for an alternative, organicist approach to economics. Precisely the same critique of neo(classical) Darwinian theory of evolution has been taking place since the 1970s (see Saunders, and Oyama, this volume; Ho/Saunders 1984; Ho/Fox, 1988; Ho 1996a), with a “new organicism” emerging (see Ho 1996b and references therein) which explicitly affirms Whitehead’s (1925) view that nature cannot be understood except in terms of a theory of the organism that participates in knowing and in constructing reality. This happy coincidence in the evolution of ideas entices me to explore more tangible links between a tentative theory of the organism and sustainable economic systems.
Mae-Wan Ho

Chapter 12. Darwinism and Economic Theory

Abstract
There has always been a close connection between evolution theory and economics. Both Darwin and Wallace acknowledged their debt to Malthus, whose famous observation that populations have the potential to increase faster than the resources on which they depend became one of the axioms from which the theory of natural selection is derived. The influence of economics did not stop there, of course, but continues to the present day. Terms such as cost-benefit analysis and investment are in common use in evolution, and with their usual meanings. One evolutionist has even described his own book as a “cross between the Kama Sutra and the Wealth of Nations” (Ghiselin 1974, p. 1). Conversely, many economists, for example Marshall, Veblen and, more recently, Friedman (1953), have looked to Darwinism for ideas.
Peter T. Saunders

Chapter 13. Evolutionary Economics and Evolutionary Biology

Abstract
Present theorizing in economics is mainly directed towards two goals. First, there is the functionalist endeavor at explaining, or better rationalizing, why certain kinds of behavior and institutions can be observed in the economy. Second, efforts are made to attribute, in a hypothetico-normative manner, certain features, such as efficiency, equity, or optimality, to the outcome of the economic process. Both strands of thought relate to a definition of economics as a discipline which deals with the problem of scarcity. As a result of “nature’s parsimony”, as Ricardo once put it, humans (and probably not only humans, see Ghiselin 1978) have to use scarce means to achieve given ends. An alternative to this latently normative orientation is to interprete economics as a theory of human social behavior in the context of what are usually considered economic activities, namely production, accumulation, distribution, exchange, and consumption. From this perspective, explaining why and how the historically observable forms of production, accumulation, distribution, exchange, and consumption change so significantly and why the changes have accelerated so much in the last few centuries is a natural goal for economic theorizing.
Ulrich Witt

Conclusion

Frontmatter

Chapter 14. The Theory of Evolution as Sociobiology and Bioeconomics A Critique of Its Claim to Totality

Abstract
Sociobiology constitutes a new development among the science disciplines on the frontier between the social and the natural sciences.1 According to the program of its founder, E. O. Wilson, from whom the very concept of sociobiology stems, it should effect a new synthesis between biology and the social sciences.
Peter Koslowski

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen