Chapter

The Theory of Evolution

Stephen Davies

in The Artful Species

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199658541
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746253 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658541.003.0003
The Theory of Evolution

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This chapter outlines the now classic account of evolution by natural selection—heritable differences between a species’ members make some survive and reproduce better than others. Other theories are noted, for instance that evolution can operate on groups rather than individuals, using cultural rather than genetic transmission. It is accepted that biology and culture affect each other and both play a hand in the process of evolution. In the case of sexual selection, mate-seekers select the traits they prefer. Because their choices usually track biological fitness, this is often treated as a special case of natural selection, but reasons for questioning this are considered. Evolutionary psychologists hold that our minds were shaped by the evolutionarily successful responses of our ancient ancestors to problems posed by the environment in which they evolved. The methods and assumptions of evolutionary psychology are discussed, along with reservations commonly raised about these.

Keywords: adaptation; Darwin; evolutionary psychology; fitness; gene-culture co-evolution; natural selection; sexual selection

Chapter.  4870 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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