Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

How (and why) Darwinian selection restricts environmental feedback

Mohan Matthen a1
a1 Department of Philosophy, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver B.C. V6T 1Z1 Canada


Selectionist models date back to Empedocles in Ancient Greece. The novelty of Darwinian selection is that it is able to produce adaptively valuable things without being sensitive to adaptive value. Darwin achieved this result by a restriction of environmental feedback to the replicative process. Immune system selection definitely does not respect this restriction, and it is doubtful whether operant learning does.