Darwin-L Message Log 1:105 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<1:105>From John_Wilkins@udev.monash.edu.au  Sun Sep 12 18:03:23 1993

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1993 08:59:43 +0000
From: John Wilkins <John_Wilkins@udev.monash.edu.au>
Subject: Re: Evolution in linguistics?
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Reply to:
     Re: Evolution in linguistics?
Didn't Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman, authors of _Cultural evolution: A
quantitative approach_ (1984?) recently publish something on lingusitic
evolution in Scientific American?

I'm a masters research student studying cultural evolution in restricted cases
such as intellectual traditions (sciences, humanities), where there are
sufficiently strong selective pressures to create a darwinian evolutionary
process closely analogous to biological evolution.

Two issues concern me:

1. How much is cultural evolution REALLY affected by the so-called
intentionality of social agents? Does this really introduce a lamarckian
element (I think not)

2. What are the close analogies and the disanalogies between cultural and
biological evolution (Gould, eg, thinks that the term "evolution" ought to be
restricted to biology -- I think because he thinks cultural change is a
directed and staged process).

I'd be interested to discourse on this with whoever. My main sources are David
Hull of the Hull/Dawkins distinction, and Stephen Toulmin.


John Wilkins - Manager, Publishing
Monash University, Melbourne Australia
Internet: john_wilkins@udev.monash.edu.au
Tel: (+613) 565 6009

Monash and I often, but not always, concur

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