Genetic anthropomorphism


Genetic anthropomorphism

In evolutionary biology, genetic anthropomorphism refers to "thinking like a gene". The central question is "if I were a gene, what would I do in order to reproduce myself". The question is an obvious fallacy; genes are incapable of thought. However, natural selection does act in a such a way that those that are most successful at reproducing themselves (by following the optimum strategy) prosper. Thinking like a gene enables the results to be visualised. This is related to a philosophical tool known as the intentional stance.

The most notable genetic anthropomorphist was the British biologist W.D. Hamilton. Hamilton's friend Richard Dawkins popularised the idea.

It is important to think like a gene rather than an organism.

Anthropomorphism has been criticised on a number of grounds, including that it is reductionist.


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