Evolution and Learning: The Baldwin Effect Reconsidered / Edition 1

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Overview

The role of genetic inheritance dominates current evolutionary theory. At the end of the nineteenth century, however, several evolutionary theorists independently speculated that learned behaviors could also affect the direction and rate of evolutionary change. This notion was called the Baldwin effect, after the psychologist James Mark Baldwin. In recent years, philosophers and theorists of a variety of ontological and epistemological backgrounds have begun to employ the
Baldwin effect in their accounts of the evolutionary emergence of mind and of how mind, through behavior, might affect evolution.

The essays in this book discuss the originally proposed Baldwin effect, how it was modified over time, and its possible contribution to contemporary empirical and theoretical evolutionary studies. The topics include the effect of the modern evolutionary synthesis on the notion of the Baldwin effect, the nature and role of niche construction in contemporary evolutionary theory, the Baldwin effect in the context of developmental systems theory, the possible role of the Baldwin effect in computational cognitive science biosemiotics, and the emergence of consciousness and language.

The MIT Press

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Bruce H. Weber is the Robert Woodworth Professor of Science and Natural Philosophy at
Bennington College and Professor of Biochemistry at California State University at Fullerton.

David J. Depew is Professor of Communication Studies and Rhetoric of Inquiry at the University of Iowa.

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Table of Contents

Contributors
Preface
I Baldwin Boosters, Baldwin Skeptics 1
1 Baldwin and His Many Effects 3
2 Baldwin Effects and the Expansion of the Explanatory Repertoire in Evolutionary Biology 33
3 Between Baldwin Skepticism and Baldwin Boosterism 53
4 The Baldwin Effect: A Crane, Not a Skyhook 69
5 Multilevel Selection in a Complex Adaptive System: The Problem of Language Origins 81
6 Postscript on the Baldwin Effect and Niche Construction 107
II Baldwinism and Development 113
7 Evolution, Development, and the Individual Acquisition of Traits: What We've Learned since Baldwin 115
8 Baldwin and Beyond: Organic Selection and Genetic Assimilation 141
9 On Having a Hammer 169
10 Beyond the Baldwin Effect: James Mark Baldwin's "Social Heredity," Epigenetic Inheritance, and Niche Construction 193
III Beyond Baldwinism 217
11 The Baldwin Effect in the Age of Computation 219
12 The Role of Predator-Induced Polyphenism in the Evolution of Cognition: A Baldwinian Speculation 235
13 Baldwin and Biosemiotics: What Intelligence Is For 253
14 The Hierarchic Logic of Emergence: Untangling the Interdependence of Evolution and Self-Organization 273
15 Emergence of Mind and the Baldwin Effect 309
Index 327
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