The Explanatory Logic and Ontological Commitments of Generalized Darwinism
Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 343-363, 2008
42 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2010
Date Written: 2008
The recent debate about the value of Darwinism as a source of ontological foundations for evolutionary economics reduces to a disagreement about whether or not the causal logic of Darwinism applies to economic evolution. However, this logic has not yet been fully specified. While the explanantia of Darwinism have been elaborately discussed, the explananda of Darwinism have not been given detailed consideration. It is shown how the specification of its explananda helps generalize Darwinism in a way that avoids biological analogies such as inheritance and replication mechanisms. It is furthermore shown that an explicit consideration of its explananda leads to a generalized Darwinism that acknowledges both the ontological continuity and ontological similarity of all evolutionary processes and that needs to be complemented with multi-level selection logic. The ontological commitments of such a generalized Darwinism are consistent with those that have been proposed in the wider search for ontological foundations in evolutionary economics.
Keywords: Generalized Darwinism, Ontology, Evolutionary theory, Evolutionary economics, Philosophical foundations
JEL Classification: A12, B25, B41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation