INTRODUCTION to CHAPTER NINE
This final chapter wraps up the book and looks to the future. In section 9.1 we once again consider why Darwinian principles have been resisted in the social sciences. We claim to have overcome key objections.
Section 9.2 argues that evolutionary approaches in the social sciences cannot start from observation alone, and an over-arching theory is required.
Section 9.3 outlines some of the conceptual advances in the volume, including our refinements of the concepts of selection and replication. Our notion of the replicator makes links with pragmatist philosophy and surpasses the problematic concept of the meme. Our use of the concept of the replicator and multiple-level selection are further contributions.
In Section 9.4 we propose that the social sciences are going through a “double gestalt shift”, involving understanding social systems as information processors and an appreciation of the implications of complexity.
Finally, in Section 9.5 we point to the need for more concrete analysis. As well as developing an over-arching framework we need empirical analysis and middle-range theory.
The thoughts and comments of the reader on all this are most welcome.