Blute Blog

Blute's blog about evolutionary theory: biological, sociocultural and gene-culture.

Necessity and invention

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In response to a query on a list serve, Geoffrey Hodgson with his usual exhaustive knowledge of the history of institutional economics, came up with a sought after quote from Thorstein Veblen, The Instinct of Workmanship (1914, p. 314):

“And here and now, as always and everywhere, invention is the mother of necessity.”

Exactly! Sociocultural evolution is Darwinian rather than Lamarckian.

In the first chapter of his lovely little book on The Evolution of Technology titled “Diversity, Necessity and Evolution”, George Basalla explains how the plethora of diversity in the made world can no more be explained by necessity than can the plethora of diversity in the natural world.

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Written by Marion Blute

December 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

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