Abstract: The evolutionary transitions literature is pervaded by two main questions: 1) how a new level of hierarchy arises, and 2) how a new level of hierarchy is maintained. Because of the selective framework under which both questions are posed, explanations for the first question usually fall into the realm of the second. In this paper I provide a theory for the first question that is outside of the typical selective framework. I am not concerned with giving adaptive explanations; instead, I focus on the background conditions that allow groups and new levels to form spontaneously such that selective and maintenance accounts can then be applied. I appeal to the Zero Force Evolutionary Law, network theory, and some empirical examples in biology to justify my account.
Philosophy/PNP Colloquium, "The Origin of New Levels of Hierarchy and Why Selection is Not the Answer"
Leonore Fleming, Duke University
February 7, 2013 - 4:15pm