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The sense of historical direction in question: criticism of the notions of adaptation and directed evolution

International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)

No.2, 2017

 

The sense of historical direction in question:  criticism of the notions of adaptation and directed evolution

(Abstract)

 

Alain Gras

 

The term “adaptation” has been accompanied by evolutionism throughout its history. When it comes to adaptation, there must be invariant as reference, but “invariants” are constantly changing. As to the Darwinist model, I think that another explanation makes difference in social sciences. It is the theory of “punctuated equilibrium”, which abrogates references to predictable adaptations that are relevant to pre-determined contexts and make the concept of “orthogenetic evolution” no longer valid. In the field of social phenomena, adaptation should be considered based on non-directional performance of changes. For example, technology seems having its own evolutionary rules irrelevant to a particular subject in time and space. In choosing future path, evolutionary bifurcation will mix human beings with desires, interests and impulses, and illusions with determinism. In any case, however, determinism cannot play a decisive role. History, including the history of technology and other areas, are series of bifurcations instead of adaptations.