Memetics Books

Universal Darwinism

This is a collection of books related to the topic of Universal Darwinism. The list is associated with my 2011 "Memetics" book - which is now available. For the main list of memetics books, see here.

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Universal Darwinism
Universal Darwinism: The path of knowledge by John Campbell (2011)
This book develops the paradigm that any complex entity must have an accurate internal model to inform it of the available resources and opportunities given its nature and environment. Such knowledge is necessary to make the entity’s complexity compatible with the second law. The model’s accuracy may only be maintained through Bayesian inference; updating the model upon the reception of new data or experience in accordance with Bayes' theorem. I argue further that Darwinian processes are a physical implementation of Bayesian inference. In quantum systems the internal model takes the form of the wave function and the process of Quantum Darwinism is seen as responsible for maintaining the predictive accuracy of the wave function. Such systems may be found throughout nature and include (system -internal model - theory explaining inference): 1. Quantum systems - wave function - quantum Darwinism 2. Biological systems - genome - natural selection 3. Brains - neural connections - Bayesian Brain & Synaptic Darwinism 4. Cultures - cultural knowledge, for example science - evolutionary epistemology The huge number of scientific theories in subject matter as diverse as quantum theory, cosmology and archeology which employ a Darwinian process to explain the creation and evolution of their subject matter motivates the meta-theory of Universal Darwinism, developed by Dawkins, Dennett, Blackmore and others. This book attempts to further develop this theory and to put it on the foundation of information theory. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Origin of Everything via Universal Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Systems in Contention for Existence by D B Kelley (2011)
The Origin of Everything While the full title of the book that shook the world is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, the full title of its modern predacessor is The Origin of Everything via Universal Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Systems in Contention for Existence. Because Nature's many systems are so highly interactive, they often experience remarkable levels of competition. Survival of the fittest is therefore at work throughout the cosmos at large and has led to the emergence of every phenomenon in history. Consequently, the stability and self-organization of the entire universe is inevitable, as selection is not only ever-present, but is one of the most powerful principles at work in Nature.
Evolutionary Worlds without End by Henry Plotkin (2010)
In Evolutionary Worlds Without End, Henry Plotkin considers whether there is any general theory in biology, including the social sciences, that is in any way equivalent to the general theories of physics. It starts by examining Ernest Rutherford's famous dictum as to what science is. In the later chapters he considers the possibility, within an historical framework, of a general theory being based upon selection processes. Throughout, the author constructs a compelling argument for the idea that there are within biology, and that includes the social sciences, something like the general theories that make physics such powerful science. The book will be valuable for all those in the biological and social sciences, in particular, biologists, psychologists, as well as philosophers of science. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Darwin's Conjecture: The Search for General Principles of Social and Economic Evolution by Geoffrey Martin Hodgson and Thorbjorn Knudsen (2010)
Of paramount importance to the natural sciences, the principles of Darwinism, which involve variation, inheritance, and selection, are increasingly of interest to social scientists as well. But no one has provided a truly rigorous account of how the principles apply to the evolution of human society—until now. In Darwin’s Conjecture, Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbj°rn Knudsen reveal how the British naturalist’s core concepts apply to a wide range of phenomena, including business practices, legal systems, technology, and even science itself. They also critique some prominent objections to applying Darwin to social science, arguing that ultimately Darwinism functions as a general theoretical framework for stimulating further inquiry. Social scientists who adopt a Darwinian approach, they contend, can then use it to frame and help develop new explanatory theories and predictive models. This truly pathbreaking work at long last makes the powerful conceptual tools of Darwin available to the social sciences and will be welcomed by scholars and students from a range of disciplines. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Darwin Machines and the Nature of Knowledge by Henry Plotkin (1997)
Plotkin is a psychologist and his book places most emphasis on learning or the acquisition of knowledge and the cultural transmission of that knowledge. It is an extended essay on 'evolutionary epistemology', a phrase coined by D. T. Campbell and rightly seen by Plotkin as a barrier to understanding. Indeed, one of this book's great virtues is that Plotkin writes incomparably more clearly than most others who have ventured into these fields. His exposition, even of complex issues, is beautifully lucid, his arguments well thought through and his illustrations apt. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Without Miracles: Universal Selection Theory and the Second Darwinian Revolution by Gary Cziko (1997)
Cziko, an educational psychologist, critically examines puzzles of fit on many levels, from providential through instructionist to selectionist theories of explanation. His naturalistic and mechanistic interpretation of evolution rejects miracles, innatism, teleology, and natural theology. Especially influenced by zoologist Richard Dawkins and psychologist Donald T. Campbell, Cziko argues that the emergence of global diversity and ongoing adaptive complexity in and among organisms (e.g., the immune system and instinctive behavior), as well as throughout the human world from neurons to computers, is due to the pervasive process of cumulative variation and selection. In particular, his universal selection framework includes an ultra-Darwinian explanation for the emergence of language, acquisition of knowledge, and development of science and technology. Cziko even maintains that blind variation and hindsighted selection also apply to advances in drug design, genetic engineering, and directed molecular evolution. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Engine of Complexity: Evolution as Computation by John E. Mayfield (2013)
The concepts of evolution and complexity theory have become part of the intellectual ether permeating the life sciences, the social and behavioral sciences, and, more recently, management science and economics. In this book, John E. Mayfield elegantly synthesizes core concepts from multiple disciplines to offer a new approach to understanding how evolution works and how complex organisms, structures, organizations, and social orders can and do arise based on information theory and computational science. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore (1999)
Blackmore is a parapsychologist who rejects the paranormal, a skeptical investigator of near-death experiences, and a practitioner of Zen. Her explanation of the science of the meme (memetics) is rigorously Darwinian. Because she is a careful thinker (though by no means dull or conventional), the reader ends up with a good idea of what memetics explains well and what it doesn't, and with many ideas about how it can be tested - the very hallmark of an excellent science book. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Mocking Memes: A Basis for Automated Intelligence by Evan Louis Sheehan (2006)
All scientific evidence supports the astonishing hypothesis that minds are brains and brains are biological machines. But, then, what sort of neural architecture accounts for the human ability to think? The answer logically follows from another astonishing hypothesis: There is no source of creativity anywhere in the universe other than the process of evolution. Such is the simple premise on which this book's description of all intelligence is based. Human thinking is thus reduced to a mechanistic process of neural firing patterns evolving. In this unique yet simple model of mind, memes are the currency of creative thought. All sorts of intelligence, from the creation of the universe all the way down to human thoughts, are explained as evolving patterns. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett (1995)
One of the best descriptions of the nature and implications of Darwinian evolution ever written, it is firmly based in biological information and appropriately extrapolated to possible applications to engineering and cultural evolution. Dennett's analyses of the objections to evolutionary theory are unsurpassed. Extremely lucid, wonderfully written, and scientifically and philosophically impeccable. Contains a section on memes.' View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization by Geerat J. Vermeij (2010)
Evolution has outgrown its original home in biology and geology. The Evolutionary World shows how evolution - descent with modification - is a concept that organizes, explains, and predicts a multitude of unconnected facts and phenomena. Adaptation plays a role not only in the development of new species but the development of human civilization. By understanding how evolutionary theory has played out in areas such as our economic system, our preparation for catastrophes, and even the development of communities, we can learn not just how these systems work but also what challenges lie ahead. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.


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