In search of general evolutionary principles: why Darwinism is too important to be left to the biologists
Bioeconomics emphasizes the common ontological ground between economics and biology. However, this does not necessarily mean that both disciplines collapse into one. Instead it is proposed here that Darwinism provides a general, meta-theoretical framework for dealing with complex evolving systems, consisting of populations of varied and replicating entities, which are found in both nature and human society. There is no alternative to the core Darwinian principles of variation, selection and inheritance to explain the evolution of such systems. Neither the actual existence of human intentionality, nor the hypothetical existence of Lamarckian processes of acquired character inheritance, offer a barrier to the use of Darwinian explanations. However, while Darwinian principles are always necessary to explain complex evolving population systems, they are never sufficient on their own. Such a generalized Darwinism can accommodate several different stances found in the literature on bioeconomics and elsewhere.