Holistic Darwinism: Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Bioeconomics of Evolution

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University of Chicago Press, Dec 15, 2005 - Philosophy - 546 pages
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In recent years, evolutionary theorists have come to recognize that the reductionist, individualist, gene-centered approach to evolution cannot sufficiently account for the emergence of complex biological systems over time. Peter A. Corning has been at the forefront of a new generation of complexity theorists who have been working to reshape the foundations of evolutionary theory. Well known for his Synergism Hypothesis—a theory of complexity in evolution that assigns a key causal role to various forms of functional synergy—Corning puts this theory into a much broader framework in Holistic Darwinism, addressing many of the issues and concepts associated with the evolution of complex systems. Corning's paradigm embraces and integrates many related theoretical developments of recent years, from multilevel selection theory to niche construction theory, gene-culture coevolution theory, and theories of self-organization. Offering new approaches to thermodynamics, information theory, and economic analysis, Corning suggests how all of these domains can be brought firmly within what he characterizes as a post–neo-Darwinian evolutionary synthesis.
 

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Contents

The New Evolutionary Paradigm
1
Synergy and Evolution From the Origins of Life to Global Governance
9
Synergy Another Idea Whose Time Has Come?
11
Holistic Darwinism Synergistic Selection and the Evolutionary Process
17
The Synergism Hypothesis On the Concept of Synergy and Its Role in the Evolution of Complex Systems
47
Synergy versus SelfOrganization in the Evolution of Complex Systems
89
The ReEmergence of Emergence A Venerable Concept in Search of a Theory
123
Synergy Cybernetics and the Evolution of Politics
141
From Thermodynamics and Information Theory to Thermoeconomics and Control Information
311
To Be or Entropy Thermodynamics Information and Life Revisited
313
Thermoeconomics Beyond the Second Law
335
Control Information The Missing Element in Norbert Wieners Cybernetic Paradigm?
361
Evolution and Ethics
377
Evolutionary Ethics An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
379
The Sociobiology of Democracy Is Authoritarianism in Our Genes?
403
Fair Shares A Biological Approach to Social Justice
417

Devolution as an Opportunity to Test the Synergism Hypothesis and the Cybernetic Theory of Political Systems
165
Synergy and the Evolution of Superorganisms Past Present and Future
187
Bioeconomics and Evolution
213
Evolutionary Economics Metaphor or Unifying Paradigm?
215
Bioeconomics as a Subversive Science
237
Biological Adaptation in Human Societies A Basic Needs Approach
253
Acknowledgments
449
Notes
453
References
473
Index
529
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About the author (2005)

Peter A. Corning is director of the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems. He is the author of The Synergism Hypothesis and Nature's Magic, among other books.

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