The Search for General Principles of Social and Economic Evolution
Of paramount importance to the natural sciences, the principles of Darwinism, which involve variation, inheritance, and selection, are increasingly of interest to social scientists as well. But no one has provided a truly rigorous account of how the principles apply to the evolution of human society—until now.
In Darwin’s Conjecture, Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen reveal how the British naturalist’s core concepts apply to a wide range of phenomena, including business practices, legal systems, technology, and even science itself. They also critique some prominent objections to applying Darwin to social science, arguing that ultimately Darwinism functions as a general theoretical framework for stimulating further inquiry. Social scientists who adopt a Darwinian approach, they contend, can then use it to frame and help develop new explanatory theories and predictive models.
This truly pathbreaking work at long last makes the powerful conceptual tools of Darwin available to the social sciences and will be welcomed by scholars and students from a range of disciplines.
“One of the most accomplished institutional economists of our time and his coauthor argue for a generalized Darwinism for the social sciences. They are far from alone in thinking that the time is right!”--Marion Blute, University of Toronto
The Challenge of Darwinism for the Social Sciences
Rivals and Rebuttals
The Lamarckian Confusion
The Principle of Selection and Its Application to Social Evolution
Information, Complexity, and Generative Replication
From Group Selection to Organizational Interactors
Major Information Transitions in Social Evolution
Conclusions and Agenda for Future Research