Self Organization and Adaptation in Insect Societies

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:289 - 298 (1990)
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Abstract

Division of labor and its associated phenomena have been viewed as prime examples of group-level adaptations. However, the adaptations are the result of the process of evolution by natural selection and thus require that groups of insects once existed and competed for reproduction, some of which had a heritable division of labor while others did not. We present models, based on those of Kauffman (1984) that demonstrate how division of labor may occur spontaneously among groups of mutually tolerant individuals. We propose that division of labor itself is not a product of natural selection but instead is a "typical" outcome of self organization.

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