Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 577–596 | Cite as

In defence of generalized Darwinism

  • Howard E. Aldrich
  • Geoffrey M. Hodgson
  • David L. Hull
  • Thorbjørn Knudsen
  • Joel Mokyr
  • Viktor J. Vanberg
Regular Article


Darwin himself suggested the idea of generalizing the core Darwinian principles to cover the evolution of social entities. Also in the nineteenth century, influential social scientists proposed their extension to political society and economic institutions. Nevertheless, misunderstanding and misrepresentation have hindered the realization of the powerful potential in this longstanding idea. Some critics confuse generalization with analogy. Others mistakenly presume that generalizing Darwinism necessarily involves biological reductionism. This essay outlines the types of phenomena to which a generalized Darwinism applies, and upholds that there is no reason to exclude social or economic entities.


Socio-economic evolution Generalized Darwinism Selection Replication 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard E. Aldrich
    • 1
  • Geoffrey M. Hodgson
    • 2
  • David L. Hull
    • 3
  • Thorbjørn Knudsen
    • 4
  • Joel Mokyr
    • 3
  • Viktor J. Vanberg
    • 5
  1. 1.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.The Business SchoolUniversity of HertfordshireHertfordshireUK
  3. 3.Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  4. 4.University of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  5. 5.University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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