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By Jean Piaget

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But, aside from the dubious merit of the tautologous equation "selection = survival = reproductive capacity," the value of this distinction lies, above all, not in its evocation of a sorting process imposed by the external environment but rather in that of formative mechanisms depending, on the one hand, on relations between the variations observed and the processes of ontogenetic The Ethological View of Behavior's Role in Evolution development and, on the other hand, on selective action effected by the internal environment, which undergoes more or less profound changes during the post-embryonic phase of ontogenesis.

We thus have a coherent system of a quasi-"implicative" kind, whose establishment would be highly improbable without the intervention of initial learning and phenocopy mechanisms. 5. The constant attempts to refine the explanation by Darwinian selection have nevertheless produced a useful distinction, much stressed by Mayr, between the selection of optimal behavior, a factor of uniformity, and a selection that fosters variability, a factor of plasticity. But, aside from the dubious merit of the tautologous equation "selection = survival = reproductive capacity," the value of this distinction lies, above all, not in its evocation of a sorting process imposed by the external environment but rather in that of formative mechanisms depending, on the one hand, on relations between the variations observed and the processes of ontogenetic The Ethological View of Behavior's Role in Evolution development and, on the other hand, on selective action effected by the internal environment, which undergoes more or less profound changes during the post-embryonic phase of ontogenesis.

126. 2. Philosophie zoologique, 2 vols. (Paris, 1809, 1830). English trans. by Hugh Eliot: Zoological Philosophy, London, 1914; New York: Hafner, 1963. See chapter 7. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. edge: An Essay on the Relations Between Organic Regulations and Cognitive Processes (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1971). TWO Baldwin and Organic Selection Two CONTRIBUTIONS marked the decisive turning point in evolutionary theory in the latter half of the nineteenth century: Darwin's explanation of evolution in terms of natural selection and Weissmann's rejection of the thesis of inherited acquired traits.

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Behavior and Evolution by Jean Piaget


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