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Contains essays on the contributions to historical and contemporary evolutionary theory of the Baldwin effect, which postulates the effects of learned behaviors on evolutionary change.
The role of genetic inheritance dominates current evolutionary theory. At the end of the nineteenth century, however, several evolutionary theorists independently speculated that learned behaviors could also affect the direction and rate of evolutionary change. This notion was called the Baldwin effect, after the psychologist James Mark Baldwin.
In recent years, philosophers and theorists of a variety of ontological and epistemological backgrounds have begun to employ the Baldwin effect in their accounts of the evolutionary emergence of mind and of how mind, through behavior, might affect evolution. The essays in this book discuss the originally proposed Baldwin effect, how it was modified over time, and its possible contribution to contemporary empirical and theoretical evolutionary studies.
Bruce H. Weber is the Robert Woodworth Professor of Science and Natural Philosophy at Bennington College and Professor of Biochemistry at California State University at Fullerton. David J. Depew is Professor of Communication Studies and Rhetoric of Inquiry at the University of Iowa.
Evolution and Learning is a readable and challenging volume, and I would recommend it strongly to people who enjoy thinking hard about evolution. - Kevin N. Laland, Nature"