Blute Blog

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

Archive for April 2020

What would I change?

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I have sometimes been asked what would I change today in the book I published a decade ago on Darwinian Sociocultural Evolution: Solutions to Dilemmas in Cultural and Social Theory? Not a lot actually in the sense that it is largely free of those little flaws of typing, spelling, miswordings etc. thanks to Cambridge’s excellent text editor and two friends – Gail Greer and Hank Jerzy. As Hank put it then “reading for that is a different kind of reading”.

Of course Tang Shiping in the acknowledgments should have been Shiping Tang and there is the spelling mistake on the first page of the introduction – “complemented” for “complimented”! There are a few others. The caption for the diagram on p. 39 should have read “family tree of world’s language families” not of world’s languages; on p. 42 Darwin’s tree did not show several branches going off from a single point, only two; on p. 122 a space instead of an h was inserted in “that”; and on p. 77 the brackets on the equation for the logistic function ended up slightly misplaced – they should have been as in Blute (2016).

With respect to the chapter on “history: where did something come from” there has subsequently been a huge expansion by many investigators of applications of phylogenetic methods borrowed from biology to social and cultural subject matters. Many of these were reviewed in Blute & Jordan (2018). Together they more than confirm the thesis that the subject matters of the social sciences do indeed descend with modification. Similarly, I see no reason today to change the balanced approach I took on major issues – history and necessity, cooperation and conflict, the ideal and the material, reason and reinforcement, the subjective and the objective, culture and social structure, and the biological and the sociocultural. I have however subsequently expanded on the substance of three points. As is often said, one sees only through a glass darkly (at first at least). The three are density-dependent selection, sexual selection and the proposed new definition of evolution by natural selection. I intend to briefly explain each of these extensions in subsequent posts.

Blute, Marion. 2016. “Density-Dependent Selection Revisited: Mechanisms Linking Explanantia and Explananda.” Biological Theory 11(2) 113-121.
Blute, Marion & Fiona M. Jordan. 2018. “The Evolutionary Approach to History: Sociocultural     Phylogenetics.” In Rosemary L. Hopcroft (Ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Evolution,     Biology, and Society. Oxford University Press. Chpt. 28: 621-640.

Written by Marion Blute

April 28, 2020 at 3:47 pm