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Darwin-L Message Log 35: 66–83 — July 1996

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L was an international discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences, active from 1993–1997. Darwin-L was established to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present, and to encourage communication among scholars, scientists, and researchers in these fields. The group had more than 600 members from 35 countries, and produced a consistently high level of discussion over its several years of operation. Darwin-L was not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles Darwin, but instead addressed the entire range of historical sciences from an explicitly comparative perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology, systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical geography, historical anthropology, and related “palaetiological” fields.

This log contains public messages posted to the Darwin-L discussion group during July 1996. It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been reformatted, and error messages and personal messages accidentally posted to the group as a whole have been deleted. No genuine editorial changes have been made to the content of any of the posts. This log is provided for personal reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.

The master copy of this log is maintained in the Darwin-L Archives (rjohara.net/darwin) by Dr. Robert J. O’Hara. The Darwin-L Archives also contain additional information about the Darwin-L discussion group, the complete Today in the Historical Sciences calendar for every month of the year, a collection of recommended readings on the historical sciences, and an account of William Whewell’s concept of “palaetiology.”


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DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 35: 66-83 -- JULY 1996
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DARWIN-L
A Network Discussion Group on the
History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L@raven.cc.ukans.edu is an international network discussion group on
the history and theory of the historical sciences.  Darwin-L was established
in September 1993 to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of
which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present,
and to encourage communication among academic professionals in these fields.
Darwin-L is not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles
Darwin but instead addresses the entire range of historical sciences from an
interdisciplinary perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical
linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology,
systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical
anthropology, historical geography, and related "palaetiological" fields.

This log contains public messages posted to Darwin-L during July 1996.
It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease
of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been
reformatted, and some administrative messages and personal messages posted to
the group as a whole have been deleted.  No genuine editorial changes have been
made to the content of any of the posts.  This log is provided for personal
reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein
should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.
The master copy of this log is maintained on the Darwin-L Web Server at
http://rjohara.uncg.edu.  For instructions on how to retrieve copies of this
and other log files, and for additional information about Darwin-L and the
historical sciences, connect to the Darwin-L Web Server or send the e-mail
message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@raven.cc.ukans.edu.

Darwin-L is administered by Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu), Center for
Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Department of Biology, University of
North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A., and it
is supported by the Center for Critical Inquiry, University of North Carolina
at Greensboro, and the Department of History and the Academic Computing Center,
University of Kansas.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:66>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jul 18 12:00:27 1996

Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 13:00:18 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: July 18 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JULY 18 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1635: ROBERT HOOKE born at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight, England.  Though
he will be remembered primarily as an experimentalist associated with the
Royal Society, Hooke's researches will range widely, covering in addition
to mathematics and mechanics, geology and the nature of fossils as well: "My
first Proposition then is, That all, or the greatest part of these curiously
figured Bodies found up and down in divers Parts of the World, are either
those Animal or Vegetable Substances they represent converted into Stone, by
having their Pores fill'd up with some petrifying liquid Substance, whereby
their Parts are, as it were, lock'd up and cemented together in their Natural
Position and Contexture; or else they are the lasting Impressions made on
them at first, whilst a yielding Substance by the immediate Application of
such Animal or Vegetable body as was so shaped, and that there was nothing
else concurring to their Production, save only the yielding of the Matter
to receive the Impression, such as heated Wax affords to the Seal; or else a
subsiding or hardning of the Matter, after by some kind of Fluidity it had
perfectly fill'd or inclosed the figuring Vegetable or Animal Substance, after
the manner as a Statue is made of Plaister of Paris, or Alabaster-dust beaten,
and boil'd, mixed with Water and poured into a Mould."

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.
Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@raven.cc.ukans.edu or connect to
the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:67>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jul 18 12:03:19 1996

Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 13:03:13 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Re: Linguistics and evolution: where do we go from here? (fwd)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

--begin forwarded message--------------

To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Historical linguistics and evolution: where might we go from here?
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 11:47:22 -0400
From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger@pdj2-ra.F-REMOTE.CWRU.Edu>

Bob O'Hara writes:

: The relations between historical linguistics and evolution are a welcome
: and perennial topic of discussion on Darwin-L, and this pleases me very much
: because it is just the sort of thing that Darwin-L was created to explore.
: I have learned a great deal from these discussions and I hope other people
: have as well.  I am wondering if what we have learned might at this point be
: put into a more conventional form via publication, and my question aloud
: to the group is, what form might such a publication take?  If one were to
: write a paper outlining the parallels (and lack of parallels) that we have
: discussed, where would it be best to publish it?  If it went into a journal
: like _Evolution_ then it would reach a wide audience of evolutionary
: biologists, but it is unlikely that many linguists would ever see it.
: Likewise if it were to go in a linguistics journal such as _Language_: only
: half the intended audience would see it.  There are a few interdisciplinary
: journals, but they tend not to have very wide readership.  Perhaps some kind
: of simultaneous publication could be sought in two different journals?  This
: is rare in scholarly publication, but in this case it might be justified.
: Or perhaps a true generalist journal like _Science_ or _Proceedings of the
: Royal Society_ would be appropriate; anything in Science has to be very
: short, however.

The people who really need such an article, though I fear not many of
them would read it, are those who are neither biologists or linguists.
The evolution of tools (or technologies) and of legal forms (which is
my concern) become much more comprehensible when one is exposed to
such comparative studies.

Perhaps the solution is write the basic article or articles and then
the rest of us can write derivative works tying it all together for
our discipline (or lack thereof).

--
Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
Internet:  junger@pdj2-ra.f-remote.cwru.edu    junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu

--end forwarded message----------------

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<35:68>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jul 18 16:02:43 1996

Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 17:02:33 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: New publication on systematics and history
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a fine symposium
organized by Mike Ghiselin and Giovanni Pinna at the Milan Museum of Natural
History on systematics as an historical science.  The proceedings of that
symposium have just appeared, and although they will be widely distributed
in the museum community, they may not be noted extensively beyond that
group.  A number of the papers included may be of interest to members of
Darwin-L, including one of mine on "trees of history" in systematics and
philology.  I attach here a copy of the table of contents; copies of the
volume can be ordered (though I don't know the price) from the Museo Civico
di Storia Naturale, Corso Venezia 55, 20121 Milano, Italy.

  Pinna, Giovanni, and Michael Ghiselin, eds.  1996.  Systematic biology
  as an historical science.  _Memorie della Societa Italiana di Scienze
  Naturali e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano_, v. 27, fasc. 1.

    Michael Ghiselin - Systematic biology as an historical science:
    discussion and retrospect.

    E. Nicholas Arnold - The role of biological process in phylogenetics
    with examples from the study of lizards.

    Yves Bouligand - Morphological singularities and macroevolution.

    Mikhail A. Fedonkin - The Precambrian fossil record: new insight of
    life.

    Michael T. Ghiselin - Charles Darwin, Fritz Muller, Anton Dohrn and
    the origin of evolutionary physiological anatomy.

    James R. Griesemer - Some concepts of historical science.

    Alessandro Minelli - Some thought on homology 150 years after Owen's
    definition.

    Robert J. O'Hara - Trees of history in systematics and philology.

    Eugene Presnov and Valeria Isaeva - Topological classification: onto-
    and phylogenesis.

    Francesco M. Scudo - Symbiosis, the origins of major life forms and
    systematics: a review with speculations.

    Alberto M. Simonetta - Systematics: is historical perspective useful
    to understand modern debates on systematics and are we really equipped
    for sound evolutionary systematics?

    Rene Thom - Qualitative and quantitative in evolutionary theory with
    some thoughts on Aristotelian biology.

    Adam Urbanek - The origin and maintenance of diversity: a case study
    of Upper Silurian graptoloids.

    David B. Wake - Schmalhausen's evolutionary morphology and its value
    in formulating research strategies.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)      |
Cornelia Strong College, 100 Foust Building  |  http://rjohara.uncg.edu
University of North Carolina at Greensboro   |  http://strong.uncg.edu
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.      |

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:69>From dlhauser@sprynet.com Thu Jul 18 20:17:15 1996

Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 18:14:55 -0700
From: dlhauser@sprynet.com
Subject: Re: teaching cladistics
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu

One of the best ways to teach practical systematics is to use two programs:
Blindwatchmaker (the software comes with the book by Richard Dawkins) and
MacClade.

Blindwatchmaker allows students to conduct computerized breeding experiments
 over as many generations as they have patients.  While they do this, the
"morphs" evolve.  Have students save a single "morph" every few generations
and then try to "discover" the phylogeny by identifying characters and using
MacClade to build the tree.  Alternatively, you can have students swap their
collection of morphs and again try to reconstruct the phylogeny (this time
without knowing the answer).  Blindwatchmaker also allows you to vary the rate
in which the morphs change, thereby allowing students to assess the effects
of evolutionary rates on cladogram reconstruction.

We used this method in a first year biology class at the University of
Pennsylvania with great success.  It teaches the principles of evolution and
phylogeny - as well the practical difficulties associated with both.

David L. Hauser
Dept. of Biology
Villanova University

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:70>From danny@staff.cs.usyd.edu.au Sun Jul 21 22:24:30 1996

Subject: Book Review - Darwin's Dangerous Idea
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 13:23:44 +1000 (EST)
From: "Danny Yee" <danny@staff.cs.usyd.edu.au>

     title: Darwin's Dangerous Idea
          : Evolution and the Meanings of Life
        by: Daniel C. Dennett
 publisher: Simon & Schuster 1995
     other: 586 pages; bibliography; index

Evolutionary ideas appear in many places in Dennett's earlier writings;
he is one of the few philosophers who really seems at home with them.
In _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_ he turns his attention directly to the
idea of evolution by natural selection, trying to explain why so many
of his fellow philosophers (and even some biologists) have shied from
accepting its full ramifications.  Dennett begins by offering a
description of Darwinian theory at an abstract philosophical level.  He
then looks at how this perspective sheds light on some controversies
within evolutionary biology, and finally at its consequences outside
biology, for social and moral philosophy.

Dennett is insanely difficult to summarise, because he crams so much
into his books and presents much of his most interesting material as
digressions.  Darwinian evolution has a huge range of applications
(Dennett calls it a "universal acid") and taking it as his subject
gives him the opportunity to range across science and philosophy,
introducing bits and pieces of all kinds which he has picked up and
thinks are worth sharing.  This results in the volume as a whole being
a little disconnected, but more locally ideas are logically and clearly
presented.

--

Dennett begins by explaining why he thinks Darwin deserves the prize
for the "single best idea anyone has ever had" and why his idea was
(and is) so revolutionary, so dangerous.  He illustrates this with a
brief account of pre-Darwinian ideas -- with Locke as an exponent of
the traditional viewpoint and Hume as someone who came very close to
Darwin's insight.  The key elements of Darwin's "dangerous idea" are a
denial of essentialism and an understanding of natural selection as a
substrate neutral, algorithmic process, applicable to an extremely wide
range of phenomena and capable of achieving immense feats by slow
accumulation over large extents of time and space.

Darwin's original application of natural selection was, of course, to
the origin of species.  Dennett explores different ways of visualising
the "tree of life" and explains the problems involved in defining
species (decisions about species status are necessarily retrospective).
This is illustrated with an explanation of the often misunderstood
"Mitochondrial Eve" phenomena.

At this point Dennett introduces a metaphor which is used throughout
the book: "cranes" are devices or "good tricks" that allow design to
proceed faster, but which build on existing foundations; "skyhooks" are
entirely mysterious, pre-existing hooks in the sky which enable some
problem to be solved or some complexity to be created entirely
independently of ordinary processes of design.  Dennett argues that
there is no place at all for skyhooks and that the only bad
reductionism is a "greedy" reductionism that tries to do without
cranes.

Evolution can be seen as movement within the "Library of Mendel", the
set of all possible genomes, of which only a tiny fraction actually
exist.  The complex constraints imposed on genomes by developmental
biology and ecology reflect relative degrees of accessibility within
the library -- the accessible is a small subset of the possible, albeit
a much bigger one than the actual.  Dennnet goes on to argue that this
can be extended outside biology, that _all_ design can be seen as
movement through a single unified Design Space.  Human creativity is no
exception, and Paley's "watchmaker" analogy had more truth than it is
usually credited with.

--

Part two of _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_ looks at attacks on and
extensions of Darwinism inside biology.  Darwin himself carefully
restricted the domain to which he was prepared to apply his theory, but
Dennett argues that continuing to do so (at the behest of religion or
or otherwise) is no longer a tenable position to take.  He briefly
discusses two extensions:  to the origin of life (focusing on the ideas
of Cairns-Smith and Eigen) and to cellular automata (Conway's game of
Life).  Foreshadowing part three, he also mentions Nietzsche's "eternal
recurrence" and the psychological consequences of a world which is
self-creating and without foundations.

Though there are obvious differences between those things produced by
human design and those produced by evolution, biology _is_ engineering
at some fundamental level, and "reverse engineering" is a powerful tool
for biologists.  This creates a connection between two difficult
concepts -- "function" in biology and "meaning" in philosophy.  Dennett
fits work by Kauffman on self-organising systems into this framework,
arguing that it is an extension of Darwinism rather than a rebuttal.

A whole chapter is devoted to exploring the power of adaptionist
thinking and its centrality to understanding evolution.  While he
rejects Leibizian "panglossianism", Dennett sees adaptionism as a
fertile source of explanations; if these are not always correct that
does not diminish its general power.  (This is illustrated by a brief
look at the Aquatic Ape Theory, as an example of an unestablished,
controversial, but _interesting_ adaptionist hypothesis.)

This is followed by a chapter devoted almost solely to Stephen Jay
Gould.  Dennett continues his argument for the power of adaptionism
with an attack on its most famous critique, Gould and Lewontin's famous
"Spandrels of San Marco" paper.  Dennett's basic argument is that Gould
and Lewontin's arguments are misaimed, that "genuine" Darwinians have
always shunned both panadaptionism and preadaptionism and that "good
adaptionists are always on the lookout for hidden constraints".
Punctuated equilibrium is next against the wall, along with Gould's
analysis of the Burgess Shale (in _Wonderful Life_) and his arguments
for the contingency of evolution.

Dennett's conclusion from all of this is that Gould is "searching for
skyhooks to limit the power of Darwin's dangerous idea".  This prompted
a bit of soul-searching on my part and some rereading of Gould's works,
but I think that Dennett is wrong about this.  While there are passages
in Gould's writings and passages that can be read to support Dennett's
view, it seems clear to me that Gould's overriding drive is not a
search for skyhooks but rather an insistence on the complexity and
diversity of the cranes involved in evolution.  All the different forms
of heterochrony Gould discusses in _Ontogeny and Phylogeny_, for
example, are clearly cranes, and if he is more complimentary than some
to historical figures who were clearly looking for skyhooks, that says
more about his historiographical sensibilities than his own
philosophy.  Gould is no closer to any form of vitalism or mysticism
than someone like Dawkins is to "greedy reductionism".  Perhaps Dennett
sees things from too high above the fray of actual biology: while he
assents that cranes come in many types and that they interact in
complicated ways, his cranes versus skyhooks abstraction subsumes the
whole of biology into "cranes", leaving plenty of room for major
disagreements which are simply invisible at this level.

On a similar note, Dennett rings a wrong note when he claims that only
"greedy" reductionism (trying to do without cranes) is bad, and that
attacks on reductionism are either vain attempts to find skyhooks or
aimed at unrealistic portrayals of reductionism.  The most widespread
forms of reductionism are those that try to restrict the kinds of
cranes used or that place excessive stress on particular cranes
(typically privileging genetics above ecology and embryology or physics
above everything else).  These kinds of reductionism may not be a
problem philosophically, but they are definitely a menace elsewhere.

Dennett goes on to deal with other more harmless "heresies", though at
much less length: Hoyle's idea that the Earth was seeded with life,
aliens meddling with evolution, Teilhard de Chardin, and recent
Lamarckian revivals.  I'm not convinced most of these merited even this
much attention.  Dennett also offers a very brief look at the debate
about the level and units of evolution.  He argues that, while this is
important, it doesn't impinge on the fundamentals of Darwinism as he
has presented them.

--

One of the reasons Darwinian heresies are so widespread inside biology
is that many people desperately want to stop Darwinism applying to
people, and therefore seize any chance they can to undermine it.  In
part three of _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_ Dennett looks at how the
extension of evolutionary ideas outside biology has been resisted in
fields like linguistics, philosophy, and ethics.  This will be the most
interesting material for many, especially those already familiar with
the biological theory in parts one and two.

The application of Darwinism to culture rests on the concept of memes,
concepts or ideas which are propagated from person to person and
"compete" with one another.  They provide a basis for culture and allow
us to transcend our genetics.  While Dennett doubts that a science of
memetics with the power of genetics is possible, at a basic level
genetics and memetics work on the same principles: design by unthinking
processes of selection.  Human culture is a "crane-making crane", not a
set of "skyhooks"; indeed there are no "skyhooks" in culture any more
than there are in biology.

When it comes to refusing to accept the consequences of evolution by
natural selection, the worst offenders outside biology are people like
Chomsky, Searle, Penrose, Fodor, and Putnam.  Chomsky's long standing
opposition to the idea that language could be the result of natural
selection is an obvious target for Dennett, who spends a chapter on the
origins of language and the relationship between language and
intelligence.  Searle's espousal of "Original Intentionality" is a
perfect example of grasping for skyhooks.  (Skinner, on the other hand,
was a greedy reductionist, trying to explain everything in one step.)

A chapter on meaning and intentionality takes up the link between
biological definitions of function and philosophical definitions of
meaning introduced in part two.  Dennett deploys three complex but
compelling (and, as always, entertaining) thought experiments, aimed at
demonstrating that there can be no distinction between "real" meaning
and "artificial" meaning, that ultimately _all_ meaning emerges from
meaningless processes.  Drifting a little from evolution, he then
devotes a chapter to explaining why "attempts to use Goedel's theorem
to prove something important about the nature of the human mind" are
inherently flawed and to demolishing Penrose's "refutation of strong
AI" (in _The Emperor's New Mind_).

Dennett spends two chapters on the origins of morals, arguing, of
course, for a naturalist position (if you reject "original
intentionality" you can hardly have "original sin").  While the
excesses of some sociobiologists ("greedy reductionists") are
deplorable, that is no grounds for rejecting an evolutionary origin for
morality.  Once again Dennett finds time for a quick look at the
history of moral philosophy, placing Hobbes and Nietzsche as early
sociobiologists.  He goes on to address an important practical issue:
both utilitarian and Kantian ethical systems tend to be idealised to
the point where they are useless; construction of a practical "Moral
First Aid Manual" will require taking into account real computational
complexities.

In a brief final chapter Dennett explains how Darwin's dangerous idea
has influenced his political and ethical beliefs.  He sees it as a
basis for assigning value to diversity, whether artistic, cultural, or
biological.  While some have seen it as conducive to conservative
politics, Dennett thinks otherwise, ending with vision very much in the
liberal tradition.

--

Like Dennett's earlier books on free will and consciousness, I fear
_Darwin's Dangerous Idea_ is too complexly argued to make many
converts: some will quibble at minor points and dodge the basic
argument; others will become lost in the detail.  While it doesn't
require a technical background, it is not going to be easy reading for
those without a basic sympathy for Dennett's way of looking at the
world: I would recommend reading Dawkin's _The Selfish Gene_ before
tackling _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_.

For many, however, _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_ will a volume to read
slowly and to savour.  Arguably there are few original ideas in it (at
least for someone who has read Dennett's earlier works and has a
grounding in evolutionary biology), but few readers will fail to find
something new, or perhaps some familiar ideas in new contexts.  Many
books have been written about natural selection, but few have applied
it across such a wide swathe of philosophy.  Though I disagree with the
odd detail, I think that Dennett's basic argument is inexorable,
inescapable, and fully as potent as he claims it is.  He has produced a
vastly more sophisticated version of the bonfire the positivists wanted
to make of the cobwebs of metaphysics and any philosopher who wants to
talk sensibly about design or meaning must pass through its flames.

--

Acknowledgements: thanks to Cosma Shalizi for comments on a draft of this
review.

--

Disclaimer: I requested and received a review copy of _Darwin's
Dangerous Idea_ from Daniel Dennett, but I have no stake, financial or
otherwise, in its success.

--

%T	Darwin's Dangerous Idea
%S	Evolution and the Meanings of Life
%A	Daniel C. Dennett
%I	Simon & Schuster
%C	New York
%D	1995
%O	hardcover, bibliography, index
%G	ISBN 0-684-80290-2
%P	586pp
%K	evolution, philosophy

19 July 1996

        ------------------------------------------------
        Copyright (c) 1996 Danny Yee (danny@cs.su.oz.au)
        http://www.anatomy.su.oz.au/danny/book-reviews/
        ------------------------------------------------

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:71>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jul 22 21:58:47 1996

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 22:58:37 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: The space of time, and the geographer Arno Peters
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

I would like to reopen a discussion we were having a few weeks ago about
time and the representation of time.

My interest in this topic is related to how we speak of time in terms that
we also use for space: we speak of a "length" of time and of ancient events
being "far away" or "distant", etc.  I have for a while been applying some
ideas from cartographic theory that address the representation of space, to
historical/temporal representations, and I have a paper that will be out soon
on this topic.

I have just discovered a remarkable essay that I wish I had known about
earlier because I surely would have cited it:

  Peters, Arno.  1985.  Space and Time: Their Equal Representation as
    an Essential Basis for a Scientific View of the World.  New York:
    Friendship Press.

This is actually a dual-language edition, with the English text on one
page facing a parallel German text on the other (under the title _Raum und
Zeit: Ihre paritatische Darstellung als unabdingbare Pramisse eines
wissenschaftlichen Weltbildes_.)  Though published as a monograph, it is
really a small booklet about 40pp long.

Peters is a rather well-known geographer who promoted a particular map
projection that seeks to represent areas equally.  (I don't know if Peters is
still alive and working; can anyone tell us?)  He also published a _Peters
Atlas of the World_ which covers the whole world in a single series of maps,
all of equal area.  His aim here was to counteract the sense of the world one
gets from, say, a standard European or American atlas in which there might be
10 plates of Europe but only one of two of all of Asia.

In his _Space and Time_ essay he argues that representations of time should
also follow this principle of "equal area."  He criticizes, for example, a
multi-volume history of the world that devotes two volumes to the first
three thousand years, and then eight more to the next one thousand.  This,
he says, is like making an atlas of the world with 10 plates for Europe
(where the cartographer is) but only two for everywhere else.  Peters' ideas
on historical representation have been put into practice in an historical
time-line that has recently been published; I will post a follow-up message
about that in a moment.

There are a number of very interesting issues here which might be discussed
at length.  I have been exploring some of them in my own papers without
knowing that Peters had also addressed this topic.  For the time being let
me ask these questions of the group:

 Can anyone tell us more about Arno Peters and how his work is regarded
 in the geographical community?

 Has anyone seen any other references to his work on temporal representation
 in addition to spatial representation?

 Does anyone know of any historians or philosophers of history who have
 commented on this particular problem, or have talked about "the space of
 time"?

My own papers that address these issues, for those who may be interested,
are the following:

  O'Hara, R. J.  [In press.]  Mapping the space of time: temporal
    representation in the historical sciences.  Proceedings of the
    California Academy of Sciences.

  O'Hara, R. J. 1993.  Systematic generalization, historical fate, and
    the species problem.  Systematic Biology, 42:231-246.

  O'Hara, R. J. 1992.  Telling the tree: narrative representation and
    the study of evolutioanry history.  Biology and Philosophy, 7:135-160.

Abstracts of the two earler ones may be found on the Darwin-L Web Server
on the page http://rjohara.uncg.edu/rjo.html

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)      |
Cornelia Strong College, 100 Foust Building  |  http://rjohara.uncg.edu
University of North Carolina at Greensboro   |  http://strong.uncg.edu
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.      |

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:72>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jul 22 22:11:40 1996

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 23:11:36 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Peters/Nothiger world history chart
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Arno Peters ideas about "equal area" representations of history have been
put into practice in a very nice historical time-line produced by Andreas
Nothiger:

  Nothiger, Andreas.  1991.  World History Chart.  Toronto: Penguin
    Books Canada.

This publication contains the large folding chart itself, and an accompanying
text describing it.  It is a very fine publication, and would be ideal for
use in classes of all kinds as well as for personal reference.  Fortunately
there is a web page available with information on how to order the chart,
and with browse-able samples.  The address is:

  http://www.hyperhistory.com/

Nothiger is apparently working on developing this site into an interactive
historical time-line.

I ordered a copy of the chart myself, and it really is excellent.  I expect
there are quite a few Darwin-L members who would enjoy it as well.

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:73>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jul 22 22:41:41 1996

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 23:36:53 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Dennett volume (fwd)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Much to my frustration the listserv software still seems to be processing
some messages incorrectly.  This one didn't make it through.

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)

--begin forwarded message--------------

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 96 08:52:57 EDT
From: staddon@psych.duke.edu (John Staddon)
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re:  Book Review - Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Congratulations to Danny Yee for a fine review of Dennett's
stimulating book, which is everything he sdays it is.  I quarrel
only with his aside about Skinner:  "(Skinner, on the other
hand,was a greedy reductionist, trying to explain everything in
one step.)"  Not really: Skinner was not really a mechanist or
reductionist at all -- and in one of his later papers "(Phylogeny
and ontogeny of behavior", 1966) espoused an impoverished
Darwinism.  His views are probably closest to pragmatism or
functionalism (see my book "Behaviorism: Mind, Mechanism and
Society" -- Duckworth, 1993).  He was not reductionist either in
the physiological sense (certainly not!) or even the black-box
sense.

John Staddon (staddon@psych.duke.edu)

--end forwarded message----------------

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:74>From philjohn@uclink.berkeley.edu Mon Jul 22 14:45:18 1996

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 12:42:46 -0700
From: Phillip E Johnson <philjohn@uclink.berkeley.edu>
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Reviews of Dennett

Since a review of Daniel Dennett's stimulating book was recently
sent out to this list, I'll add this supplement:

For those would would like to read a more critical appraisal
of _Darwin's Dangerous Idea_, I recommend H. Allen Orr's review in
_Evolution_ (50)(1), 1996, pp. 467-472.  Orr is a Professor of
Biology at the University of Rochester.  I think he is very sound
on both the biological and philosophical issues, and would be
interested in knowing if there is any disagreement about this.

There is also my own review, which appeared first in the October,
1995 issue of _The New Criterion_ and was republished in the
first issue of _Origins and Design_.  For information on _Origins
and Design_ see this WWW site:

http://www.arn.org/arn

My review of Dennett is available at that site (on the Phillip
Johnson page) or directly at the following page:

http://id-www.ucsb.edu/fscf/LIBRARY/JOHNSON/Dennett.html

Letters from Paul Gross and Daniel Dennett with my replies
appeared in subsequent issues of _The New Criterion_.  I'd be
glad to furnish this correspondence upon request.

In addition, an important review essay by Alvin Plantinga on
the Dennett book appeared in the May/June 1996 issue of _Books
and Culture_, but I seem to have given away or loaned out my
personal copies of that issue and cannot provide an exact title
or page number.  Plantinga is Professor of Philosophy at
Notre Dame.  _Books & Culture_ could be described as a Christian
version of the New York Review of Books.  I am a regular
contributor; my review essays for B&C, most of which deal with
issues related to Darwinism, are available at the ARN and USCB
web sites, above.

Another important reply to Dennett is contained in a book which
addresses the broader question of the Darwinian mechanism:
Michael Behe's _Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to
Evolution_.  This book, from Free Press, is officially scheduled
for publication August 2, but it is already in some book stores.
I have heard that it will be reviewed in the Sunday New York Times
Book Review in early August.  Many other reviews are anticipated.
My own review, which also reviews Richard Dawkins's _Climbing
Mount Improbable_, will appear in a future issue of _First Things_,
probably October. Behe is Associate Professor of Biochemistry at
Lehigh University.

Phillip Johnson
Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:75>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jul 22 23:14:35 1996

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 00:14:29 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Web site on ancient numismatics
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

A very nice introduction to the study of ancient Greek and Roman coins
has just been put up on the web at:

   http://www.math.montana.edu/~umsfwest/numis/

It is well stocked with images of coins from a wide variety of places and
eras, and is quite enjoyable to browse.

"Just as in civil history," said Buffon, "one refers to titles, looks for
medals, or deciphers ancient inscriptions, in order to work out the epochs of
human revolutions and establish the dates of intellectual events, so also in
natural history it is necessary to rummage through the archives of the
world."  This web site will help to make Buffon's analogy come alive for
modern-day natural historians.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)      |
Cornelia Strong College, 100 Foust Building  |  http://rjohara.uncg.edu
University of North Carolina at Greensboro   |  http://strong.uncg.edu
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.      |

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:76>From hanss@zondisk.sepa.tudelft.nl Tue Jul 23 06:34:05 1996

From: "Hans-Cees Speel" <hanss@zondisk.sepa.tudelft.nl>
Organization:  TUDelft
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 13:38:58 +0000
Subject: Re: The space of time, and the geographer Arno Peters

> I would like to reopen a discussion we were having a few weeks ago about
> time and the representation of time.
>
> My interest in this topic is related to how we speak of time in terms that
> we also use for space: we speak of a "length" of time and of ancient events
> being "far away" or "distant", etc.  I have for a while been applying some
> ideas from cartographic theory that address the representation of space, to
> historical/temporal representations, and I have a paper that will be out
> soon on this topic.

I do not know any philosophers or scientists-sources. I do know
however that in books about managerial theories there are comparisons
between managers from for instance Japan, the USA and Europe in how
they see themselves in time. There were some striking differences, in
that USA managers tend to see themselves on a line from past to
future, while Japanese had a more complex view, not as sequential.
But I would have to look it up to be more precise. The book was called 'the
seven cultures of capitalism' or something like that.
If it is interesting for you let me know, than I can look it up.

greetings,
Hans-Cees Speel

Theories come and go, the frog stays [F. Jacob]
-------------------------------------------------------
|Hans-Cees Speel School of Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and management
|Technical Univ. Delft, Jaffalaan 5 2600 GA Delft PO Box 5015 The Netherlands
|telephone +3115785776 telefax +3115783422 E-mail hanss@sepa.tudelft.nl
www.sepa.tudelft.nl/~afd_ba/hanss.html featuring evolution and memetics!

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:77>From mdj@gac.edu Tue Jul 23 07:50:44 1996

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 07:50:41 -0500
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu
From: mdj@gac.edu (Mark D. Johnson)
Subject: Re: Peters/Nothiger world history chart

As to Peters suggestion that history, too, should be put into equal time
blocks, I should add as a geologist, this creates problems. We love to talk
about human history happening seconds before midnight on Dec 31st in the
earth-history-as-a-year model.

I have always disliked the term "prehistory," as if time were different
before written records.

While on Peters, the Lutheran church in America some years ago copied
extensively Peters world projection for its maps covering world relief
funds. The caption implied that the Peters projection accurately depicted
the world, which it really doesn't, to the lay mind. Rather than
understanding the concept of equal area, I feared that many would actually
believe Africa to have that slim, drippy shape.

Mark D. Johnson
Department of Geology, Gustavus Adolphus College
800 W. College, St. Peter, MN 56082
mdj@gac.edu  (507) 933-7442

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:78>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Tue Jul 23 07:56:28 1996

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 08:57:01 -0400
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: Kiriakoff (transl.)?

Hi List,

        Willi Hennig (1965) in discussing paraphyly credits Kiriakoff
(1960) with the idea of "cryptotypological" systems. Do any of you know if
Kiriakoff has been translated? Also while I am asking, is it true that
Hennig's book, Phylogenetic Systematics, is out of print?

        Thank you,

        - Jeremy

Hennig, W. (1965) "Phylogenetic Systematics" Annual Review of Entomology
10:97-116.

Hennig, W. (1979) Phylogenetic Systematics. Univ of Illinois Press. ISBN:
025200745X

Kiriakoff, S. G. (1960) Les fondaments philosophiques de la systematique
biologique. Natuurw. Tijdschr. (Ghent) 42:35-57.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:79>From Michael_Kenny@sfu.ca Tue Jul 23 09:57:14 1996

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 07:57:09 -0700 (PDT)
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu
From: Michael_Kenny@sfu.ca (Michael Kenny)
Subject: space and time

Dr. O'Hara asked:

> Does anyone know of any historians or philosophers of history who have
> commented on this particular problem, or have talked about "the space of
> time"?

Philosopher Henri Bergson wrote extensively about how our representations
of time are infected by our notions of space in the form of spatializing
metaphors (e.g. the 'flow' of time; 'points' in time, etc). The argument
was an attack on the kind of determinism that stem from applying Newtonian
logic to subjective duration through a tendency to spatialize duration - a
kind of billiard-ball logic about the causation of psychic events. Bergson
was arguing for free-will, hence his title *Time and Free Will*.

Spatial/directional metaphors have also received much attention in Lakoff
and Johnson's works, e.g. 'Metaphors We Live By.' They attempt to show that
some of the basic ways we envision logical operations derive from the
phenomenology of bodily experience, the basic directionality we possess by
virtue of being embodied beings of a certain type.

Michael G. Kenny
Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C.  V5A 1S6; Canada
Michael_Kenny@sfu.ca
phone: (604) 291-4270
fax:   (604) 291-5799

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:80>From GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu Tue Jul 23 12:53:58 1996

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 10:53:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: GREG RANSOM <GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu>
To: DARWIN-L@RAVEN.CC.UKANS.EDU
Subject: papers on limits to reduction, etc.

For those on Darwin-L who have requested copies of
my papers on the insuperable limits to reduction in
biology and on the selective mechanism at work in
Thomas Kuhn's evolutionary picture of the advance of
science, I have now made these papers available on the
World Wide Web.  If you can access these papers over
the Internet this will help to economize on my own limited
resources.

My web site is at:

http://members.gnn.com/logosapien/ransom.htm

My paper "Insuperable Limits to Reduction in Biology"
is at:

http://members.gnn.com/logosapien/biolimits.htm

My paper "Thomas Kuhn and the Differential Selection of
Community Members Acting on Alternative Implicit Criteria
for Theory Choice" is at:

http://members.gnn.com/logosapien/kuhnselection.htm

Members of Darwin-L might also find my paper "Science
Without Planning:  The General Economy of Sciece" of some
interest.  This paper expands Michael Ghiselin's notion
of 'general economy' to incude the the work of Thomas Kuhn,
Michael Polanyi, and Friedrich Hayek, who have shown how
community level properties and institutions make available
resources making possible human activities and structures
we otherwise would not be capable of.  This paper is at:

http://members.gnn.com/logosapien/scienceplan.htm

Another related paper, in its second section, links up more
directly the explanatory stategies of Darwinian biology
and economics as conceived (by Smith, Hayek, and others) as
a science of undesigned order.  This paper is at:

http://members.gnn.com/logosapien/hayekmyth.htm

Finally, I have made available a paper on Gerald Edelman, Tyler
Burge, and Friedrich Hayek on the nature of the problems of
human categorical capacities which supports the 'bottom-up' vs.
'top-down' thesis of Gerald Edelman, Gary Cziko, and Daniel
Dennett.  Discussions in my 'Hayek Myths' paper referenced just
above also develop this thesis.  This paper is at:

http://members.gnn.com/logosapien/BurgeEdelman.htm

Greg Ransom
Dept. of Philosophy
UC-Riverside
gransom@ucrac1.ucr.edu

P.S.  Comments and suggestions for improving these working
papers is warmly welcomed.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:81>From GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu Tue Jul 23 18:34:47 1996

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 16:34:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: GREG RANSOM <GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu>
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: RE: space and time

Anyone interested in the problem of 'time' should make
sure to read Lugwig Wittgenstein on this topic.  See especially
his _The Blue and Brown Book_ and _Remarks on the Foundations
of Mathematics_.  Look in _Blue Book_ under time.  Look in _Remarks_
under 'temporal (non-temporal).  Among philosophical works on
'time' see also Bas van Frassen _An introduction to the Philosophy of
Time and Space_.  Gerald Edelman's work should also be looked at,
among other things (!).  See G. Edelman, _Neural Darwinism_ and _The
Remembered Present_.  In some ways, Edelman builds on themes found
already in F. Hayek, _The Sensory Order_.  A complex and difficult can
of worms we have got ourselves into here!   Lewis Carroll might alos
also be consulted.

Greg Ransom
Dept. of Philosophy
UC-Riverside
gransom@ucrac1.ucr.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:82>From eshortell@mecn.mass.edu Tue Jul 23 19:41:17 1996

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 20:41:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ellen Shortell <eshortell@mecn.mass.edu>
Subject: Re: Peters/Nothiger world history chart
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu

Perhaps it's time for me to emerge briefly from my lurking status.  As an
art historian, my concerns may seem peripheral to your subject at best.  I
started listening in because of my interest in theories and systems of
classification in the construction of my own academic discipline, and
especially for late medieval buildings.  That end of the project is on
hold for the moment until I finish writing up a few other things, but
I've found the discussions here enlightening.

In your present discussion, I  thought you might be intersted in

George Kubler, The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things, Yale,
1962

Kubler was a Precolumbian specialist, and I've heard he wrote this book
to distract him during a stay in the hospital; it's a quick read in any
case.  His main theme involves different long and short cycles in human
history, and I'm sure you'll find it quite unscientific, based on several
decades of observation, but more intuitive than empirical.  In any case,
it should perhaps be included in a general bibliography on the topic.

Ellen Shortell
Assistant Professor of Art History
Department of Critical Studies
Massachusetts College of Art
Boston, MA

eshortell@mecn.mass.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<35:83>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu Tue Jul 23 09:48:38 1996

Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 10:49:10 -0400
To: darwin-l@raven.cc.ukans.edu (Darwin List)
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy C. Ahouse)
Subject: analogy, archival thoughts (part 1 of 2)

        On the way to suggesting deep connections between evolutionary
systems (cultural and biological) Martin Sereno (1991) offers the
following.

        Complex generative and explanatory analogy is characterized
        by four distinct activities:

        (1) decomposition of the source and target systems
        (2) establishment of a map between the two systems
        (3) generation of predictions about the target
        (4) testing of the predictions.

        Few of the comments in our discussion so far (or the archived
discussion from September and October of 1993  mentioned by Gregory Mayer)
address the analogy problem so forthrightly. Do you buy Sereno's taxonomy
of criteria for evaluating explanatory analaogies?

        My recent critique, suggesting that there was plenty of disanalogy
when comparing language change and biological evolution amounted to
accepting the historical component but suggested that the ability to
uncover monophyletic language groups was due to a process of diffusion
constrained by monophyletic human lineages. Kent Holsinger used a criterion
of mutual understanding to suggest an independent way to make languages
cohere. He explicitly analogized this to the interbreeding criterion that
attracts some biologists when describing species.

        Compare the following from Schliecher (found in Sereno's review);

        "Languages are natural organisms which, outside the human
        will and subject to fixed laws, are born, grow, develop, age
        and die; thus they also illustrate the series of phenomena
        that are usually comprehended under the term life.
        Consequently, the science of language is a natural science."
        (1863, quoted in Aarsleff, 1982: 16).

        Darwin discusses the parallel while he is discussing classification
(arguing for classification based on genealogy) and when discussing the use
of vestigial organs when inferring genealogy (analogizing unpronounced
letters in words with vestigial organs).

        "It may be worth while to illustrate this view of
        classification, by taking the case of languages. If we
        possessed a perfect pedigree of mankind, a genealogical
        arrangement of the races of man would afford the best
        classification of the various languages now spoken
        throughout the world; and if all extinct languages, and all
        intermediated and slowly changing dialects, had to be
        included, such an arrangement would, I thinkbe the only
        possible one. Yet it might be that some very ancient
        language had altered little, and had given rise to few new
        languages, whilst others (owing to the spreading and
        subsequent isolation and states of civilization of the
        several races, descended from a common race) had altered
        much, and had given rise to many new lnaguages and dialects.
        The various degress of difference in the languages from the
        same stock, would have to be expressed by groups
        subordinated to groups; but the proper or even only possible
        arrangement would still be genealogical; and this would be
        strictly natural, as it would connect together all
        languages, extinct and modern, by the closest affinities,
        and would give the filiation and the origin of each tongue."
        (Darwin 1859: 422-423)

        "Rudimentary organs may be compared with the letters in a
        wordm still retained in the spelling, but become useless in
        the pronunciation, but which serve as a clue in seeking for
        its derivation." (Darwin 1859: 455)

        Sereno offers a general interpretation of inspired by Darwin's
thoughts on the parallel.

        The overall scheme is:

        Species    <-> Language community
        Organism   <-> Speaker
        Cell/genes <-> ?

        His list of particulars includes:
Analogies
        gene flow             <-> intercommunicating group of people
        embryonic development <-> language ability development
        heritability          <-> language transmitted to offspring
        mutation              <-> sound & meaning changes that generate
variation
        allopatric speciation <-> languages diverge when spatially separated
        subspecies, clines    <-> geographical dialects
        macroevolution        <-> wholesale phonology and syntax changes
        sympatric speciation  <-> sociolinguistic isolation
        cladistics            <-> language relationship inference

Disanalogies
        1. languages borrow words without regard for phylogenetic distance
        2. spoken languages don't become better adapted overtime (technical
language may be an exception).

        I offer these to stimulate discussion and encourage you to read the
rest of Sereno's paper.

        I will leave this now to take you on a tour of quotes from the
Sep/Oct 93 discussion of these issues. You should (of course) not accept my
selective packaging of that discussion and visit the archive yourself. One
of the nicest parts of going back and doing this was seeing the care that
went into so many of the comments. These comments should certainly be
wrapped into a package for more general consumption.

        I hope we have more discussion of Elihu Gerson's comments (below)
about possible misapplication of causal efficacy (assuming that lower level
processes should always be awarded causal priority).

        - Jeremy

___________
Aarsleff, H. (1982). "From Locke to Saussure: essays on the study of
language and intellectual history" University of Minnesota Press,
Minneapolis, MN.

Darwin, C. (1859). "On the origin of species by means of natural selection,
or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life." John
Murray, London.

Sereno, M. I. (1991). Four Analogies Between Biological and
Cultural/Linguistic Evolution. Journal of Theoretical Biology 151, 467-507.
___________

A smattering of thoughts on analogs of biological evolution from the
DarwinL archives.

O'Hara, Bob (09/05/93) "Geology and Language, and a Darwin-L Update"

        As a sample of the kind of comparisons these early authors made,
consider John William Donaldson in 1850:

        "The study of language is indeed perfectly analogous to
        Geology; they both present us with a set of deposits in a
        present state of amalgamation which however may be easily
        discriminated, and we may by an allowable chain of reasoning
        in either case deduce from the _present_ the _former_
        condition, and determine by what causes and in what manner
        the superposition or amalgamation has taken place."  (The
        New Cratylus; or Contributions Toward a More Accurate
        Knowledge of the Greek Language. London.  From the second
        edition, 1850:14.)

Raben, Joseph (09/11/93) "Evolution in linguistics?"

        The recent mention of similarities between reasoning in science and
in linguistics raises the question, Have there been discussions of
linguistic evolution as a process closely paralleling biological evolution?
Of course, there is always a free and general metaphoric correspondence
implied in all talk of language families, but I would like to know whether
anyone has attempted a systematic correspondence between the two
activities.

O'Hara, Bob (09/11/93) "Re: Evolution in linguistics?"

        First, are there explicit comparisons between the process of
language change and the process of evolution (i.e. variation and selection
in populations)? That I can't say, although I feel there must be some out
there.

        Second, are there explicit comparisons between language history and
evolutionary history (phylogeny)?  The answer to this is a decided "yes".
Dick Burian correctly remembers one, by Platnick and Cameron in 1977, but
these comparisons have been made since the mid-1800s.  Darwin uses a couple
of linguistic examples in the Origin of Species, for example, to illustrate
the difficulties caused by the absence of intermediate forms.  This general
topic may be called the topic of "trees of history" -- the history of
entities like languages, species, and populations that have branching
genealogies.  I have a pretty good bibliography on "trees of history" and
will post it following this message.  The first section of the bibliography
lists several explicit phylogeny/philology comparisons.  (As mentioned
before, I plan to mount these bibliographies on the ukanaix computer
sometime soon, but am still learning the list management business so it may
take a little while.)

        Perhaps the most comprehensive single volume on the topic, for
those who don't want to work through the whole bibliography, is:

        Hoenigswald, Henry M., & Linda F. Wiener, eds.  1987.  Biological
Metaphor and Cladistic Comparison: An Interdisciplinary Perspective.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

        It contains a variety of historical and theoretical papers by
systematists and philologists, including a very good one by Cameron that
expands upon his earlier work with Platnick.  This is the only volume of
its kind to date, though, as far as I am aware.

Wilkins, John (09/12/93) "Re: Evolution in linguistic"

        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).

Simon, Morris (09/13/93) "Re: Evolution in linguistic"

        On Sun, 12 Sep 1993, John Wilkins wrote:
> 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)

        The phrasing of your question suggests to me that you regard
"cultural evolution" as a "given" process. The monolithic view of social
darwinism is now a remote 'racial' memory, having been replaced by its very
distant decendants, "universal" and "multilinear" evolutionism. Both are
oriented toward the use of energy in food production, and both are mainly
applicable to cultural systems which no longer exist. In my view, there are
certainly no "Lamarckian" influences underlying more recent theories of
cultural evolution.

> 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 share the thought you attribute to Gould. I seldom find theories
of cultural evolution to be very useful, either to explain well-documented
cases of culture change or to analyze ongoing change processes as they
occur in modern cultures. The "multilinear" model of Julian Steward, with
its central concept of "cultural ecology," is more interesting to me than
the energy-based constructs of the "universalists" after Leslie White, but
neither of these modern cultural evolution theories share essential
analogies with biolgical evolution to a degree which justifies labelling
them as "evolutionary."

Dewar, Robert (09/12/93) "Re: Evolution in linguistic"

        This is a response to Joseph Raben's request about a comparison
between lingistic and biological evolutionary processes.  The place to
start is Edward Sapir's 1921 book entitled "Language".  Sapir was quite
possibly the smartest anthropologist of the 20th century, and he devotes a
couple of chapters to considering the processes of language change, and a
full chapter to considering the relatio n of changes in language, culture
and race. He describes language change interm s that I at least find
difficult to view as metaphoric extensions of evoluton b y natural
selection.  But no matter if I am right, his ample discussion (aimed not at
linguists but at the rest of us) provides food for thought.

Griffiths, Paul (09/13/93) "Re: Evolution in linguistic"

        Joseph Raben asks about linguistics and evolution.

        The following piece is about to appear.

        D Penny, E.E. Watson, & M.A. Steel, "Trees from languages and genes
are very similar",  Systematic Biology, XLII (1993):  in press.

        There is interesting work of this sort going on by a range of New
Zealand researchers.

        Also: L.L Cavalli-Sforza et al, "Reconstruction of Human Evolution:
Bringing Together Genetic, Archeological and Linguistic Data" , Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences, LXXXV (1988): 6002-6.

Mayer, Gregory (09/13/93) "Sewall Wright & linguistics"

        I've been much interested in the references and discussion on the
study of language evolution and the study of biological evolution.  It may
be of interest to record that Sewall Wright was also interested in language
evolution. Wright (1889-1988), for those unfamiliar with him, was (and is)
one of the most influential figures in evolutionary biology.  Along with
Haldane and Fisher, he is one of the triumvirate that reconciled Mendelian
genetics with natural selection and thus began the evolutionary synthesis
that is the historical progenitor of our present views.  Wright's interest
in language evolution is described W.B. Provine's magnificent intellectual
biography _Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology_ (University of Chicago
Press, 1986).  Wright's interest is worth mentioning here not only for the
sake of those who are not evolutionary biologists, but even these
biologists, who are quite familiar with Provine's book, may not be aware of
it, as there is no entry for "language", "linguistics", "philology", etc.
in Provine's index.

        Provine writes:

        "Sewall began to use his knowledge of Greek... and other
        languages [Latin, German]....he read an article On Grimm's
        law.... He became fascinated by the evolution of the
        Indo-European languages and began to keep notebooks on
        cognate words and grammatical forms....He literally filled a
        number of notebooks with these philological endeavors. This
        interest in philology indicates an early and deep
        fascination with the evolution of patterns.  How languages
        become transformed over time, and perhaps branched out to
        become several languages, was often analogized to processes
        of evolution in nature by late-nineteenth-century
        intellectuals." (p.14)

        Provine quotes Wright as follows:

        "Father..was sometimes sarcastic about my enthusiasms,
        especially that for the evolution of the Indo-European
        languages..." (a recollection by Wright in 1978; p.17)

        It is important to note that Wright engaged in this activity in
high school.  Provine records no further references by Wright to language
evolution, either published or unpublished, but it might be interesting to
reread some of Wright's work with this early interest in mind.

Wills, Jeffrey (09/13/93) "Folktales and texts"

        The interconnections between biological and linguistic history are
well known, but it is wonderful to see textual history receiving more
attention. In addition to stemmatics (manuscript history), Peter has
included the history of writs, and I would like to mention
folktales/folkloric narratives.  To non-specialists the names of Jakob and
Wilhelm Grimm are less associated with Grimm's Law than with Grimm's Fairy
Tales. The 19th century burst of work in reconstructing Indo-European
linguistics was accompanied by parallel (but less formalized) work in
Indo-European story and myth. The age of Victorian collectors led to the
age of Scandinavian taxonomists (shades of Linnaeus?) and the
Aarne-Thompson Motif-Index we have today. Historical linguistics has been
out of fashion for over a generation due to the Chomskian revolution, but
efforts at reconstructing folktale "histories" became suspect much earlier
(not without reason, considering previous work), but I think the questions
are still valid, even the methods are difficult.

        For the purposes of this list, I am struck by some work of C.W. von
Sydow (from his *Selected Papers on Folklore*).  He has a 1932 paper "Om
traditionsspridning" (="On the Spread of Tradition") following up on the
earlier debate between migration and inheritance theories in which he says
"scholars have failed to study the biology of tradition" and discusses
"active" and "passive" bearers. The title of his 1934 "Geography and
Folk-Tale Oicotypes" explicitly uses a botanical term. As he explains:

"In the science of botany *oicotype* is a term used to denote a hereditary
plant-variety adapted to a certain milieu . . . through natural selection
amongst hereditary dissimilar entities of the same species. When then in
the field of traditions a widely spread tradition, such as a tale or a
legend [i.e. a sagn], forms special types through isolation inside and
suitability for certain culture districts, the term oicotype can also be
used in the science of ethnology and folklore."

In another passages he discusses the introduction of new elements into the
sequence of a folktale in a way which might remind some of hybrids and
genetic codes (the history of "sequences" themselves in folklore theory is
a separate topic):

"If we let K signify what is common to both oicotypes, then they have
become separate from one another by the Slav adding the motives a, b, c,
while the Indo-Iranian has instead added the motives p,q,r. The old
Egyptian version has K+abc+pqr+xyz. In the whole of its composition the old
Egyptian variant is unlike anything that we know of Egyptian folktale
production, and is typically Indo-European . . . . Both oicotypes must have
developed before 1300 B.C. Two traditors, one from each direction, met and
told one another the tale. One introduced the other oicotype's peculiar
features into his own version, and in this enlarged form told the tale to
an Egyptian scribe, who wrote it down with his own additions."  --as you
can see, he pictures this transmission as related to manuscript
transmission.

Before one can engage in a proper study of folktales, though, von Sydow
wants a better taxonomy (fuller than Aarne-Thomson that is).  In the 1937
"Popular Prose Traditions and Their Classification" we read:

"My demand for a natural scientific system is therefore not a negatively
critical demand, but concerns a purely positive study of tales. We must
first of all decide what tales are closely related and then place them in
natural groups, greater and smaller. It is these groups which ought to be
studied, and it is necessary to discover the laws which govern the
different groups, their origin and development, their use and distribution.
. . . Just as a zoologist cannot without reservation apply the scientific
results obtained at from the study of bats to elephants or whales, so the
student of tradition . . .etc." And he goes on to discuss the
categorization of animal tales as his prime example.

Wilkins, John (09/17/93) "Culture, evolution and Lamarck"

On 14 Sept, Morris Simon <msimon7@ua1ix.ua.edu> replied to something I wrote:

JW:
> 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)

MS: The phrasing of your question suggests to me that you regard "cultural
evolution" as a "given" process. The monolithic view of social darwinism is
now a remote 'racial' memory, having been replaced by its very distant
decendants, "universal" and "multilinear" evolutionism. Both are oriented
toward the use of energy in food production, and both are mainly applicable
to cultural systems which no longer exist. In my view, there are certainly
no "Lamarckian" influences underlying more recent theories of cultural
evolution.

JW:
> 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).

MS: I share the thought you attribute to Gould. I seldom find theories of
cultural evolution to be very useful, either to explain well-documented
cases of culture change or to analyze ongoing change processes as they
occur in modern cultures. The "multilinear" model of Julian Steward, with
its central concept of "cultural ecology," is more interesting to me than
the energy-based constructs of the "universalists" after Leslie White, but
neither of these modern cultural evolution theories share essential
analogies with biolgical evolution to a degree which justifies labelling
them as "evolutionary."

While Anax wrote:
> While the mechanism of Lamarck was the inheritance of aquired
> characteristics (and I admit my example on dog breeding was a poor
> choice), the overall point that Lamarck tried to make was that 'lower'
> forms of life arose from inanimate matter and progressed towards a
> level of greater complexity and perfection; that is, that all things
> had an inherent drive towards greater complexity. For lamarck, the
> environment operated as the guiding force, directing the increase in
> complexity towards some end that would create the 'perfect' organism.
> While this sounds logical, its a bit different from natural selection
> in which the environment just removes those forms which don't work,
> allowing a number of possible solutions to and environmental
> 'problem'.

> Thinking over your message and previous ones, I find it hard to see
> how society and culture could be modelled in terms of evolution and
> natural selection.  While society does change, and it would be
> interesting to be able to predict the changes, I don't think evolution
> would be quite the right word for it.  Half the discussion on this
> list seems to deal in one sense or another with clarifying the
> definition of the term evolution, as quite a number of people have
> been using it in  a sloppy sense. Maybe Gould was right - evolution
> should be restricted to the life sciences and another term sought for
> the mechanisms that guide human culture.

I would like to take this up in a bit of detail.

Yes, I do take cultural evolution to be a given. That is -- I consider the
changes that occur in certain circumstances to be purely darwinian
evolutionary processes ["darwinian" means here generalised processes of the
sort that in biology are Darwinian evolutionary processes; typically,
hereditary variation that is random with respect to economic selection
pressures]. The usual disanalogies presented to cultural evolution are that
it is intentional (and therefore neo-lamarckian), that not all change is
evolutionary, that history is progressive or staged, and that much of
culture is inadaptive (the persistence of obviously wrong cosmologies,
etc).

In response to this, I would answer that all the above objections have been
made to biological Darwinism (the neo-Lamarckists, pre-Synthetic
geneticists, romantic philosophers such as Shaw or Koestler, and the recent
debates on optimality, in order), and that no evidence has come to my
attention to establish without question that evolutionary theories in a
sense that Gould would be happy with cannot be generalised and applied to
culture.

There are going to be strong and weak selective processes. A number of
cultural institutions will survive and even change simply because they have
no adaptive significance. The interesting cases will be those institutions
that, like science, have variations that are strongly selected in terms of
differential resource acquisition as well as having strong transmission of
traits. The gene-equivalents I call 'transmits' following Toulmin, rather
than 'memes' following Dawkins, since I do not wish to commit myself to a
units-of-selection debate in culture.

Culture is going to be at least as complex if not several orders of
magnitude greater than biology, since it is at least supervenient upon
biological processes. In my view, it is an emergent level on biology, and
has several levels within its domain.

Why cannot such strong processes be modelled darwinianly? Economics has
obvious evolutionary/ecological parallels, and is viewed anything but
lamarkian by an increasing number of economists (the "rational-man" theory
seems to have had its day, although even here I would argue that the
parallel is with game-theoretic analyses of genetic interest -- more a
useful calculative fiction than an echt account of how entities "choose" to
gamble).

The real difficulty in modelling cultural evolution is to (a) determine
what counts as a 'transmit' (Dawkins instances a snatch of a tune or a form
of lyrics; Hull, a theory or professional citation; Cavalli-Sforza and
Feldman use economic examples and linguistic transformations, and so
forth), and (b) to establish what the selective advantages are -- ie, what
the economic resources the acquisition of which affect differential
transmission are. I do not see why we need to posit simple unary
explanations for the entire range of cultural process -- an example from
science need not work in linguistics. If we can model a restricted domain
darwinianly, and rid ourselves of the myth of rational change (where it is
a myth), that is in itself useful.

Incidentally, there are three senses of Lamarckism -- the inheritance of
acquired characteristics (the usual sense applicable to cultural
evolutionary theories, which Darwin shared and was not invented by
Lamarck); progressivist perfectionism and/or a scale of being from lower to
higher forms; and the view that striving affects the evolutionary process
in the direction striven. All three senses are applied in criticism of
cultural evolution models.

It is clear to me, at any rate, that history is *not* a series of
predetermined developmental stages, nor is it in the long term progressive.
Societies and cultures, schools and institutions, all wax and wane
according to how well they do compared with their competitors. They are
populational entities, with transmitted structures. There are
transformation rules between the developmental and economic spaces (to
adapt a model of Lewontin's) in culture as in biology.

So, why not?

_______________________________________________________________________________
Darwin-L Message Log 35: 66-83 -- July 1996                                 End

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