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Darwinism, causality and the social sciences

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  • Geoffrey Hodgson

Abstract

Recently the degree to which 'evolutionary economics' does or should involve Darwinian principles has come under debate. This essay builds on previous arguments that Darwinism has a potentially wide application to socioeconomic evolution, which does not involve biological reductionism. It is argued that at the core of Darwinism are presuppositions concerning causality and causal explanation. Contrary to widespread belief, these presuppositions do not downgrade or ignore human intentionality: they simply require that it too is in principle subject to causal explanation. Neither are these presuppositions 'deterministic' or 'mechanistic', at least by some prominent meanings of these terms. Furthermore, the presupposition of causal determination does not necessarily exclude or include stochastic or probabilistic determination.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13501780410001694118
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 11 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 175-194

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:11:y:2004:i:2:p:175-194

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Related research

Keywords: Darwinism; ontology; causality; determinism; evolution; emergent properties;

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Cited by:
  1. Muñoz, Félix-Fernando & Encinar, María-Isabel & Cañibano, Carolina, 2011. "On the role of intentionality in evolutionary economic change," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 193-203, September.
  2. Christoph Heinzel, 2012. "Schumpeter and Georgescu-Roegen on the Foundations of an Evolutionary Analysis," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 12-08, INRA UMR SMART.
  3. Georg Schwesinger, 2013. "Natural and Economic Selection - Lessons from the Evo-Devo and Multilevel Selection Debate," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-014, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. Sylvie Geisendorf, 2009. "The economic concept of evolution: self-organization or Universal Darwinism?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 377-391.
  5. Jack Vromen, 2008. "Ontological issues in evolutionary economics: The debate between Generalized Darwinism and the Continuity Hypothesis," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  6. Pavel Pelikan, 2011. "Evolutionary developmental economics: how to generalize Darwinism fruitfully to help comprehend economic change," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 341-366, May.
  7. Gual, Miguel A. & Norgaard, Richard B., 2010. "Bridging ecological and social systems coevolution: A review and proposal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 707-717, February.

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