Synergy: Another Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Peter A. Corning

in Holistic Darwinism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226116136
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226116334 | DOI:
Synergy: Another Idea Whose Time Has Come?

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This chapter discusses trends showing the popularity of the theory on the role of synergy in evolution. This theory was first developed in the 1983 book The Synergism Hypothesis: A Theory of Progressive Evolution. It challenged the dominant Neo-Darwinian paradigm, shifting the focus from competition to cooperation, directed attention away from genes, and stressed the functional dynamics of living systems at various levels of organization. This theory also proposed to shift the explanatory focus to the economics of survival and reproduction. One of the first early of the growing popularity of this theory was biologist John Maynard Smith's development of a synergistic selection model to characterize the interdependent functional effects that may arise from altruistic cooperation.

Keywords: synergy; evolution; Synergism Hypothesis; Neo-Darwinian paradigm; functional dynamics; living systems; economics of survival; John Maynard Smith; synergistic selection model; altruistic cooperation

Chapter.  2409 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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