Evolutionary epistemology as a scientific method: a new look upon the units and levels of evolution debate.

Nathalie Gontier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Evolutionary epistemology can provide a unified
scientific methodology that enables scholars to study
the evolution of life as well as the evolution of cognition,
science, culture and any other phenomenon displayed by
living organisms. In this article, three heuristics are provided
that allow for a thorough search for the units, levels
and mechanisms of evolution. Contrary to previous
approaches, units, levels and mechanisms are not identified
by pointing out essential features, but rather ostensive
definitions are preferred. That is, units are considered as
such if a level of evolution and a mechanism of evolution is
identifiable. Levels are levels if one can point out units that
evolve at that level according to evolutionary mechanisms,
and mechanisms are considered as such if one can point out
units and levels where the mechanism is active.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-182
Number of pages16
JournalTheory in Biosciences
Volume129
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • evolutionary epistemology
  • units levels and mechanisms of evolution

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