virus: Book Review: Without Miracles
Thu, 12 Oct 95 19:03:54 -0500

This book is an excellent complement to Dennet's
"Darwin's Dangerous Idea"

Without miracles: universal selection theory and the
second Darwinian revolution.
by Gary Cziko, Bradford/MIT Press ISBN 0-262-3232-5

Cziko explains how Darwinian selection can be applied
or extended to many areas outside its traditional domain
of biology to explain various puzzles of "fit" ranging
from the immune system to the development and functioning
of thought and the acquisition of knowledge. He gives
an interesting perspective on education: if we learn
and think by producing many varied solutions and
selecting among them, then error and participation are
essential to learning.

Also included is discussion of the early contributions
of Donald T. Campbell on selectionist theories of
thought, mind, science and culture, and Karl Popper's
selectionist philosophy of science.

The general theme is that an evolutionary
epistemology is broadly applicable and should be taken
more seriously by those outside of biology. The book
reads easily and is less didactic and polemic than
Dennet's (though I like Dennet's polemics!)