By William F. Harms

ISBN-10: 0511195753

ISBN-13: 9780511195754

ISBN-10: 0521815142

ISBN-13: 9780521815147

William Harms develops the conceptual foundations and instruments for a technological know-how of information throughout the software of evolutionary concept, hence permitting us to recognize the legacy of skepticism whereas denying its relativistic offspring. the main major legacy of philosophical skepticism is the conclusion that our strategies, ideals and theories are social constructs. This trust has resulted in epistemological relativism, or the thesis that, in view that there is not any final fact in regards to the international, idea personal tastes are just a question of opinion.

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For one knows that other scientists are just as concerned with their conceptual fitness, so that if your contribution fails to pass their self-interested checking, it will not be further propagated, thus reducing your conceptual fitness. Thus, from the assumption that scientists are credit-seekers in an environment in which the main measure of success is the number of replicates of your ideas that there are, we get the rigorous criticism of the ideas of others and great care in what is published.

As such, an approach in which we can proceed with theorizing 24 9:15 P1: JMV/... 0521815142c01 P2: FCH/FFX QC: FCH/FFX T1: FCH CB634-Harms-v1 December 24, 2003 Replicator Theories and defer the nasty empirical questions seems entirely appropriate. But this is not enough to address the question of discreteness. I noted earlier that one reason DNA functions as a germ-line replicator is because of the discreteness of nucleotide sequences. The question as to the size of genes is not the same as the question of what kind of thing they are, and the same is true of memes.

They must come into and pass out of existence. (Hull 1988a, 411) Replicators have to be spatiotemporal particulars, then, as are everything else that will appear in an application of Hull’s general model. The advantage of this approach is that it sets the stage for a materialistic account of cultural evolution. We will not be sidetracked with difficult philosophical questions about universals and “meanings” – just the kind of thing that Hull wants to avoid (1988a, 29f). The difficulty with this is that spatiotemporal particulars cannot be in more than one place at a time.

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Information and Meaning in Evolutionary Processes by William F. Harms

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