Articles

Peter A. Corning. Synergy And Self-Organization In The Evolution Of Complex Systems

Synergy of various kinds has played a significant creative role in evolution; it has been a prodigious source of evolutionary novelty. Elsewhere it has been proposed that the functional (selective) advantages associated with various forms of synergistic phenomena have been an important cause of the "progressive" evolution of complex systems over time. Underlying the many specific steps in the complexification process, a common functional principle has been operative. Recent mathematical modellin...

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Geoffrey M. Hodgson. The Eclipse of the Uncertainty Concept in Mainstream Economics

This paper examines the decline in use of the Knight-Keynes uncertainty concept in mainstream economics. Using electronic archives, it shows that the frequency of its appearance in leading journals of economics has fallen rapidly from the 1950s. As well as to the declining popularity of Keynesian ideas since about 1970, the decrease in this use of the uncertainty concept is additionally related to the increasing mathematical formalization of economics and to the prevalence of a positivist emphas...

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Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Thorbjørn Knudsen. Dismantling Lamarckism: why descriptions of socio-economic evolution as Lamarckian are misleading

This paper addresses the widespread tendency to describe socio-economic evolution as Lamarckian. The difference between Lamarckian and Darwinian replication is clarified. It is shown that a phenotype-genotype distinction must first be established before we can identify Lamarckian transmission. To qualify as Lamarckian inheritance, acquired properties at the phenotypic level must be encoded in a genotype that is passed on to the next generation. Some possible social replicators (or genotypes) are...

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Peter A. Corning. Biological Adaption In Human Societies: A ‘Basic Needs’ Approach

The ground-zero premise (so to speak) of the biological sciences is the assumption that survival and reproduction is the basic, continuing, inescapable problem for all living organisms; life is at bottom a “survival enterprise.” Whatever may be our perceptions, aspirations, or illusions, this tap-root assumption is applicable to the human species as well. Survival is the “paradigmatic problem” for all human societies; it is a prerequisite for any other, more exalted objectives. A key concept in ...

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Geoffrey M. Hodgson. The Evolution of Institutions: An Agenda for Future Theoretical Research

This article reviews some theoretical questions concerning the processes of institutional evolution. The necessity of assuming the prior existence of some other institutions, such as language, is underlined. Arguably, the emergence and stability of some institutions may be enhanced by processes of ‘downward causation’ through which institutional constraints lead to the formation of concordant habits of thought and behaviour. Having pointed to the importance of pre-existing, as well as emerging, ...

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Laurence S. Moss. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Economics and Evolution: A Review Article

Alfred Marshall suggested over a century ago that in the "more advanced stages of economics" the Mecca of the economist is economic biology. According to Marshall, ordinary static concepts (such as "equilibrium") change in meaning and acquire a definite "biological tone" when economists focus their attention to the historical development of economicinstitutions. Such economists study the balance between the "organic forces of life and decay" rather than the balancing of "crude forces" such as ...

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