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Investigating populations in generalized Darwinism

Authors
  • Baraghith, Karim1
  • 1 Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, Düsseldorf, 40225, Germany , Düsseldorf (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biology & Philosophy
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Jan 22, 2020
Volume
35
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10539-020-9735-6
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Darwinian evolution is a population-level phenomenon. This paper deals with a structural population concept within the framework of generalized Darwinism (GD), resp. within a generalized theory of evolution. According to some skeptical authors, GD is in need of a valid population concept in order to become a practicable research program. Populations are crucial and basic elements of any evolutionary explanation—biological or cultural—and have to be defined as clearly as possible. I suggest the “causal interactionist population concept” (CIPC), by R. Millstein for this purpose, and I will try to embed the approach into a generalized evolutionary perspective by mathematically formalizing its key definitions. Using graph-theory, (meta-) populations as described in the CIPC can serve as proper clusters of evolutionary classification based on the rates of interactions between their elements. I will introduce the concept of a cohesion index (CI) as a measurement of possible population candidates within a distribution of elements. The strength of this approach lies in its applicability and interactions are relatively easy to observe. Furthermore, problems of clustering tokens (e.g. of cultural information) via typicality, e.g. their similarity in intrinsic key characteristics, can be avoided, because CIPC is a (mainly) external approach. However, some formal problems and conceptual ambiguities occur within a simple version of this CI, which will be addressed in this paper as well as some possible applications.

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