Synopses & Reviews
In recent years, evolutionary theorists have come to recognize that the reductionist, individualist, gene-centered approach to evolution cannot sufficiently account for the emergence of complex biological systems over time. Peter A. Corning has been at the forefront of a new generation of complexity theorists who have been working to reshape the foundations of evolutionary theory. Well known for his Synergism Hypothesisand#8212;a theory of complexity in evolution that assigns a key causal role to various forms of functional synergyand#8212;Corning puts this theory into a much broader framework in Holistic Darwinism, addressing many of the issues and concepts associated with the evolution of complex systems. Corning's paradigm embraces and integrates many related theoretical developments of recent years, from multilevel selection theory to niche construction theory, gene-culture coevolution theory, and theories of self-organization. Offering new approaches to thermodynamics, information theory, and economic analysis, Corning suggests how all of these domains can be brought firmly within what he characterizes as a postand#8211;neo-Darwinian evolutionary synthesis.
About the Author
Peter Corning is the director of the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems, a onetime writer for Newsweek, professor at Stanford University, and the author of several books.
Table of Contents
Part I - Synergy and Evolution: From the Origins of Life to Global Governance
1. Synergy: Another Idea Whose Time Has Come?
2. Holistic Darwinism: Synergistic Selection and the Evolutionary Process
3. The Synergism Hypothesis: On the Concept of Synergy and Its Role in the Evolution of Complex Systems
4. Synergy versus Self-Organization in the Evolution of Complex Systems
5. The Re-Emergence of Emergence: A Venerable Concept in Search of a Theory
6. Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Evolution of Politics
7. Devolution as an Opportunity to Test the Synergism Hypothesis and the Cybernetic Theory of Political Systems
8. Synergy and the Evolution of Superorganisms: Past, Present, and Future
Part II - Bioeconomics and Evolution
9. Evolutionary Economics: Metaphor or Unifying Paradigm?
10. Bioeconomics as a Subversive Science
11. Biological Adaptation in Human Sciences: A Basic Needs Approach
Part III - From Thermodynamics and Information Theory to Thermoeconomics and Control Information
12. To Be or Entropy: Thermodynamics, Information, and Life Revisited
13. Thermoeconomics: Beyond the Second Law
14. Control Information: The Missing Element in Norbert Wiener's Cybernetic Paradigm?
Part IV: Evolution and Ethics
15. Evolutionary Ethics: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
16. The Sociobiology of Democracy: Is Authoritarianism in Our Genes?
17. Fair Shares: A Biological Approach to Social Justice