Darwinism, memes, and creativity [Elektronische Ressource] : a critique of Darwinian analogical reasoning from nature to culture / vorgelegt von Maria E. Kronfeldner
323 Pages
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Darwinism, memes, and creativity [Elektronische Ressource] : a critique of Darwinian analogical reasoning from nature to culture / vorgelegt von Maria E. Kronfeldner

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DARWINISM, MEMES, AND CREATIVITY A Critique of Darwinian Analogical Reasoning From Nature To Culture Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde im Fach Philosophie der Philosophischen Fakultät I (Philosophie und Kunstwissenschaften) der Universität Regensburg vorgelegt von Maria E. Kronfeldner Regensburg Dezember 2005 Gutachter Erstgutachter: Prof. Dr. Hans Rott (Universität Regensburg) Zweitgutachter: Prof. Dr. Holmer Steinfath (Universität Regensburg) Drittgutachter: Prof. Dr. Peter McLaughlin (Universität Heidelberg) für meine Mutter, in ewiger Liebe, und für alle, die nicht einmal wissen, dass sie ein Recht auf ihre Träume haben CONTENTS IN BRIEF Preface ...............................................................................................i 1 From the Darwin industry to the Darwinian analogies ..................1 2 The structure of Darwinian explanations of change ....................24 3 Ontological analogy: Genes and memes .....................................96 4 Origination analogy: Darwinian novelty in culture ...................167 5 Explanatory units of selection analogy: Selection of memes ..... 236 Epilogue ........................................................................................291 Reference list ..............................................

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Published 01 January 2007
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DARWINISM, MEMES, AND CREATIVITY
A Critique of Darwinian Analogical Reasoning From Nature To Culture












Inaugural-Dissertation zur
Erlangung der Doktorwürde
im Fach Philosophie
der Philosophischen Fakultät I
(Philosophie und Kunstwissenschaften)
der Universität Regensburg
vorgelegt von







Maria E. Kronfeldner



Regensburg
Dezember 2005















Gutachter
Erstgutachter: Prof. Dr. Hans Rott (Universität Regensburg)
Zweitgutachter: Prof. Dr. Holmer Steinfath (Universität Regensburg)
Drittgutachter: Prof. Dr. Peter McLaughlin (Universität Heidelberg)












für meine Mutter, in ewiger Liebe,
und für alle, die nicht einmal wissen, dass sie ein Recht auf ihre Träume haben



CONTENTS IN BRIEF









Preface ...............................................................................................i
1 From the Darwin industry to the Darwinian analogies ..................1
2 The structure of Darwinian explanations of change ....................24
3 Ontological analogy: Genes and memes .....................................96
4 Origination analogy: Darwinian novelty in culture ...................167
5 Explanatory units of selection analogy: Selection of memes ..... 236
Epilogue ........................................................................................291
Reference list ................................................................................. 296



CONTENTS


Preface ...........................................................................................................i

1 From the Darwin industry to the Darwinian analogies .......................1
1.1 The Darwin industry ...........................................................................1
Folk-Darwinism 1
Evolution in philosophy, science, and politics 1
1.2 Literal extensions and analogical applications of Darwinism to culture 3
Culture and Darwinism 3
Literal extensions of Darwinism to culture 3
Analogical applications of Darwinism 5
1.3 The analogical approaches to culture ...................................................6
History of Darwinian analogical reasoning 6
The three main analogical approaches to culture 7
1.4 Course, process, and creators of evolution ......................................... 10
Fact, course and process of evolution 10
Existence of a creator 10
1.5 A critique of Darwinian analogies ..................................................... 12
Culture is important 12
Darwinism, creativity, and culture 14
Three basic analogies 14
Evaluating an analogy 17
What is at stake for us 21

2 The structure of Darwinian explanations of change ......................... 24
2.1 General selection theory .................................................................... 24
Fact, mechanism and formal principles of evolution 24
The essential blindness of Darwinian evolution 26
Explanations of origination and fitness differences 27
Ontological generality 28
2.2 Patterns of change ............................................................................. 29
Creationism, Lamarck, and Darwin 29
Creation 29
Transformational evolution 37
Variational evolution 42
Conclusion 44
2.3 Darwinian evolution as ‘blind’ .......................................................... 44
Blind variation 44
Selection as blind, natural force 53
Conclusion 64
2.4 The tautology problem and the concept of fitness .............................. 65
The tautology problem 65
Relevance for analogical applications 67

The solution for biological evolution 67
Conclusion 76
2.5 The units of selection debate ............................................................. 76
The centrality of the individual and the attack from below 76
Relevance for analogical applications 79
Replicators, vehicles and interactors 80
The replicator 82
Genes’ phenotypic effects and bookkeeping 91
Conclusion 94
2.6 Summary .......................................................................................... 94

3 Ontological analogy: Genes and memes ............................................ 96
3.1 Units of culture ................................................................................. 96
The gene-meme-analogy 96
The anthropological concept of culture 97
Identification and replication 102
3.2 What and where memes are ............................................................ 102
Memes made more precise 102
Dawkins’ ideational memes 103
Hull’s 106
Dennett’s 108
Blackmore’s ideational memes 112
Aunger’s neural memes 114
Conclusion and further outlook 115
3.3 Identification problems ................................................................... 118
Traceability condition and identification 118
Boundary problem 119
Holism problem 120
Material identification problem 122
Consequences for the ontological analogy 129
Something-is-preserved-arguments 132
Conclusion 136
3.4 Replication problems ......................................................................136
Replicator condition 136
Copy-fidelity problem 137
Meme replication as a process 145
Social learning 146
Lineage problem 150
Triggering problem 153
Widening the concept of replication 157
Conclusion 164
3.5 Summary ........................................................................................ 164





4 Origination analogy: Darwinian novelty in culture ........................167
4.1 The origination and pattern of change in culture .............................. 167
The origination analogy 167
Origin of novelty in culture and creativity 169
Standing on the shoulders of giants 181
Culture as a variational system 183
Intentional selection 186
4.2 Blind variation in creativity ............................................................. 188
Creativity as blind-variation-selective-retention 188
Blind variation as randomness 192
Blind vari unjustified variation 194
Blind variation as undirected variation 199
4.3 The critique of guided variation ...................................................... 200
Guided variation at a populational level 200
Guided variation at the cognitive level 202
Guided variation due to coupling 204
Conclusion 207
4.4 Selectionist and bias compatibility .................................................. 208
Reaction to guided variation 208
Selectionist compatibility argument 208
Bias compatibility argument 209
Differences between developmental constraints and coupling 214
Conclusion 216
4.5 Hidden chaos compatibility ............................................................. 217
Creativity as unconscious blind variation 217
Poincaré’s explanation of creativity 218
Simonton’s chance configuration 220
Evidence for a hidden chaos as an explanation of creativity 222
Simonton’s defense 225
Compatibility with diverse cognitive mechanisms 232
Conclusion 233
4.6 Summary ........................................................................................ 234

5 Explanatory units of selection analogy: Selection of memes ........... 236
5.1 Memes as the selfish units of cultural selection ............................... 236
Diffusion from a traditional point of view 236
The explanatory units of selection analogy 240
‘Selfish memes’ from a systematic point of view 242
Tautologies, dilemmas, a straw man, and minds as memes 248
5.2 Tautology problem of memetics ...................................................... 250
The tautology problem applied 250
Fitness of memes beyond actual survival 253
Memeticists’ factors – influencing the fitness of memes 256
The essential relation between memes and minds 257
Conclusion 262
5.3 The explanatory dilemma ................................................................ 262
Caught in a dilemma 262
Misleading analogies 264

Bookkeeping 267
The role of content 268
Conclusion 270
5.4 Meme fitness and irrationality ......................................................... 270
Limited independence 270
Conflict cases 272
Explanatory dilemma still holds 277
Conclusion 280
5.5 Minds as built by memes ................................................................ 280
Reducing the selective environment to memes 280
Dennett’s naturalistic theory of consciousness 281
Not everything is a meme 285
Autoselection is selection nonetheless 287
Conclusion 289
5.6 Summary ........................................................................................ 289

Epilogue ....................................................................................................291
Descriptive and explanatory force of the analogies 291
A sheep in wolf’s clothing 294
The Wittgensteinian ladder 295

Reference list ............................................................................................ 296


Darwinism, Memes, and Creativity
PREFACE
According to Darwinism, the biosphere constantly changes. Culture changes as
well. In the biosphere as well as in the cultural realm, new characteristics arise
over and over again and some novelties persist and lead to lasting changes. The
types of entities that are involved in these changes are genes and organisms in
the case of biological evolution, and cultural units such as ideas, values,
beliefs, patterns of behavior, and artifacts in the case of culture. Today,
biological evolution is believed to be explainable by Darwinian evolutionary
theory.
Cultural change, however, is thought to arise through creative acts and
selective choices of individuals, leading to the diffusion of novelties. Culture is
usually defined as consisting of those characteristics of individuals that are not
innate but created or learned by individuals during their life. Creativity in its
basic sense is the human capacity to create new and valuable responses to
challenges to which humans are exposed to, or to which they expose
themselves. Those responses that are overtly delivered and are adopted by
others become part of a certain culture. They spread. This is cultural diffusion.
Since diffusion is a change in the frequency of certain cultural items, a culture
as a whole changes as a consequence of the dual process of creativity and
diffusion. If a creative act builds on past innovations, creativity accumulates
through the iteration of this dual process and leads to history.
But how can we explain creativity and diffusion, the two parts that
make up cultural change? How can we explain that human beings produce new
answers to new challenges, and how can we explain why certain ideas spread
and others do not?
Darwinian approaches to cultural change state that cultural change can
be explained as an evolutionary process in the Darwinian sense. Such
approaches are the subject of this investigation. They do not reduce culture to
genes or other biological processes. They draw an analogy between change in
culture and change in nature – an analogy between the processes of organic
evolution, as explained by Darwinian theory, and the processes of cultural
i