Darwinism, causality and the social sciences
Recently the degree to which ‘evolutionary economics’ does or should involve Darwinian principles has come under debate. This essay builds on previous arguments that Darwinism has a potentially wide application to socio-economic evolution, which does not involve biological reductionism. It is argued that at the core of Darwinism are presuppositions concerning causality and causal explanation. Contrary to widespread belief, these presuppositions do not downgrade or ignore human intentionality: they simply require that it too is in principle subject to causal explanation. Neither are these presuppositions ‘deterministic’ or ‘mechanistic’, at least by some prominent meanings of these terms. Furthermore, the presupposition of causal determination does not necessarily exclude or include stochastic or probabilistic determination.