Dec 11, 2013: Biologists Discover Large Variation in Aging Across Species
Social scientists often look with envy to the natural sciences believing that natural scientists do not face the diversity of patterns in social phenomena. On this background, the recent finding of the wide diversity of aging across species is noteworthy. Read the article in Nature.
June 20th, 2013: Steve Klepper in Memoriam
We are all very sad that Steve passed away (See CMU obituary). Seven Klepper supported one of the senior scholars supporting the creation of etss.net from the very beginning. On March 23, there was at event as part of the 20th anniversary of the CCC to honor Steve. He was able to attend the day and you can watch the tributes that were made about it exemplary contributions. Honoring Steve Klepper Video.
March 19, 2013: Why Group selection models have became more accepted
E.O. Wilson explains why multi-level models of evolution that allow for group selection have of become more accepted in recent times. He writes: “Multilevel selection is gaining in favor among evolutionary biologists because of a recent mathematical proof that kin selection can arise only under special conditions that demonstrably do not exist, and the better fit of multilevel selection to all of the two dozen known animal cases of eusocial evolution.” Read the full article “The Riddle of the Human Species on NYTimes.com.
February 14, 2013: Remembering Michael Cohen
Editor’s note: These remarks by Sidney G. Winter were delivered at a memorial service held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, February 9 in the Rogel Ballroom of the Michigan Union building at the University of Michigan. You participate in remembering Michael Cohen on a Facebook Page for him.
Sidney Winter: It is common knowledge here that Michael Cohen was a very special human being. Not only is that well understood in general terms, but there is a list of his specific virtues that is also widely acknowledged. As we have all struggled to cope with this loss, in this past week, I have been struck by the power of this consensus about him, how effectively people can evoke the person they knew, and how clear it is that it was indeed the same remarkable person that they all knew. Even the appraisal of him as the embodiment of typical Midwestern virtues, his California background notwithstanding, came to me from more than one source.
July 15, 2012. Elinor Ostrom dies
Geoffrey Hodgson writes about the importance of her work.
Her Nobel Prize Lecture provides a good overview of her life work. Read Noble Lecture.
NY Times Obituary.
June 10, 2012
We will provide our own review of the book in the future. In the meantime you can read Scrantons' review in Technology and Culture
May 22, 2012
Christopher Kelty organized a workshop on the MODE AND TEMPO IN TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE at ULCA Institute for Society and Genetics. Mike Alfaro spoke about the topic from the perspective Phylogenetics, Robert Boyd from the perspective of Cultural Evolution, and Johann Peter Murmann from the perspective of Economic and Organizational Change. James Griesemer was the discussant. The video of the workshop is available on the web: Video
May 18, 2012
On October 16, 2003, Richard Nelson gave a speech
at conference honoring the work of Sidney Winter. The conference was held at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. On the 30th anniversary of Nelson and Winter (1982), Etss.net is pleased to publish this speech
for the first time. In it, Richard Nelson sheds light on how Nelson and Winter's landmark 1982 book came about.
A few year earlier Sid Winter already provided some insights about their collaboration. He reminisced about "The Evolution of Dick Nelson
" at a conference held at Columbia
April 30, 2012
The Economist reports ingenious new research by Roger Dunbar to test the grandmother hypothesis, namely that women after their menopause, will invest a lot more time and energy to ensuring that their daughters have offspring. He analyzed 2 billion phone calls to find out who people speak to the most to get a proxy for people’s investments the one person who is most important to them. Read the full story.
March 25, 2012
Johann Peter Murmann has published an inductive case study entitled Coevolution of Industries and Important Features of Their Environments. Using a comparative historical method and drawing on evidence from five countries over a 60-year period, this paper spells out how coevolutionary processes work in shaping the evolution of industries and important features of their environments.Read the abstract and download paper here.
May 28, 2011
David Sloan Wilson argues that to gain real knowledge of humanity, every field needs to drink from the “cup” of evolutionary theory. But he argues that behavioral economics as practiced today pays too little attention to evolutionary theory. Read the full article, Take the Evolution Challenge here.
November 7, 2010
Berkeley geology Professor Walter Alavrez and one of his former students, Roland Saekow, have created a cool software to visualize all of history—yes you have heard it right. It takes you from the big bang to history on the human scale. Check out Chronozoom.
July 23, 2010
Edge.org just held a noteworthy conference on the THE NEW SCIENCE OF MORALITY. In his NY column The Moral Naturalists David Brooks wets your appetitive to watch the contributions of leading scholars in the new field of evolutionary morality. All speaker videos will be posted this weekend.
July 17, 2010
Edge.org published a stimulating interview with W. Brian Arthur on his new book, The Nature of Technology. After autobiographical comments that may not interest all readers, Arthur gives an overview how the economy evolves as a consequence of postiive and negative feedback mechanisms. He then moves on to his ideas on technological innovations. Students of history of technology may not find that Arthur’s theory is particular novel. (To get a sense, the great historian Payson Abbot Usher has conceptualized technological change in 1929/1945, read the review essay of A History of Mechanical Invention on Eh.net.) Arthur, consisent with the theory of innovation that sees them as recombining elements in new ways, marries old ideas with novel ones that come out of complexity theory. For a recent overview paper of the best ideas for studying relationship between technological and industrial evolution, read Murmann and Frenken.
July 5, 2010
Howard E. Aldrich, Geoffrey M. Hodgson, David L. Hull, Thorbjoern Knudsen, Joel Mokyr, and Viktor J. Vanberg have jointly published an article “In defence of Generalized Darwinism” in the Journal of Evolutionary Economics. The article is more nuanced the previous efforts by Hodgson and Knudson and is very a good read because it highlights the key issues on developing further evolutionary theories in the social sciences.
April 1, 2010
“If ever there was a scientific theory that is fundamentally historical, that purports to explain change over time, it is evolution through natural selection and its corollary, humankind’s dual inheritance. Yet I have to admit that my fellow historians, teaching in history departments and professing to study that process of change, have been highly resistant to evolutionary theory.” Read more of Donald Worster’s interesting article Historians and Nature in the American Spectator.
January 3, 2010
Stephen Toulmin, author of Human understanding: The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts has died. Read the obituaries by Michael Ruse in the Chronicle of Higher Education and William Grimes in the New York Times.
January 1, 2010
Steven Shapin, Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science at Harvard, takes the occasion of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday to review in the London Review of Books the influece of Darwin in science as well in general culture. The piece is very comprehensive albeit a bit long with almot 8800 words. Read Full Review.
September 6, 2009
Geerat Vermeij, a biologist who has become interested in economic principles, wrote a few years back a book entitled, Nature: An Economic History. In this work he interpreted biological evolution through the lens of economic principles. (See Joel Mokyr’s excellent review of this effort in the Journal of Economic Literature.) Perhaps prompted by Mokyr’s criticisms, Vermeij just published an article in the Journal of Bioeconomics that sees today’s economic system to be subject to the same constraints that shaped biological evolution over billions of years. Vermeij argues: No matter how advanced our future civilization will become, it will retain properties that all living systems possess, and it is unlikely to escape entirely from the constraints inherent in resource-dependent life. Economic policies and visions of the future must take these realities into account. We cannot eliminate local competition, voluntarily reduce energy use, avoid resource limitation, or sacrifice redundancy in favor of economic efficiency. What will also interest social scientists in this article are the descriptions of how biological evolution proceeded at the very beginning of life before sexual replication had been invented. Full article.
February 12, 2009
Factoid: In 2008 14% of people polled by Gallup agreed that “man evolved over millions of years”, up from 9% in 1982. Click on “Read more to see statistics on the public acceptance of Darwinism by country.
January 20, 2009
Today all eyes were on the inauguration of Barak Obama. To commemorate the moment, we want to draw the attention of our readers to an article, (Why we are, as we are) published recently in the Economist. The article spells out social policy implications of Darwinism. It is challenging. But it is also excellent food for thought and any social policy maker should at least be able to argue against the conclusions set forth in the piece. If the Obama administration, will be data driven, there are a few pieces worthy to study in detail. Full article.
October 24, 2008
Similar to our efforts with the EEpedia on economic-evolution.net E.O. Wilson has spearheaded the Encyclopedia of Life whose goal is to catalog the millions of unidentified species on the planet and document its full biodiversity. Wilson describes the project on NY Times.com.
April 20, 2008
A symposium on the Varieties of Knowledge in the Economy with Carliss Baldwin, Richard Langois, Johann Peter Murmann and Richard Nelson will take place at the Schumpeter Conference in Brazil. More Details.
December 21, 2007
Darwin’s Surprise. Michael Spector reports in the New Yorker some exciting scientific breakthroughs in our understanding of the role viruses have played in the evolution of the human species. Scientists are bringing extict viruses back to life by combining the pieces of viral DNA that millions of years ago was fused into the genome of animals. Read the story here.
October 16, 2007
William M. Newman and Walter Vincenti have published a very useful short essay in Technology & Culture on how fields of engineering make progress by developing effective selection criteria for evaluating prototypes. The authors describe how human computer interface designers were able to learn from the history of aeronautical engineering in coming up with methodologies for devising useful selection criteria. Reference: On an Engineering Use of Engineering History - Technology and Culture 48:1 Technology and Culture 48.1 (2007) 245-247.
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