Thomas Kuhn (1970) forever changed the conception of science with his notion of paradigms. Before, science was often seen as a relatively straight path to the truth through the repeated formation and testing of hypotheses. What could be simpler?
Kuhn observed that scientists sometimes get stuck viewing a topic a certain way. Their particular configuration of ideas is capable of a limited degree of change through hypothesis formation and testing, but cannot escape from its own assumptions in other respects. This makes the replacement of one paradigm by another a complex and uncertain process.
A clash of paradigms is currently taking place for evolutionary theories of social behavior. In this corner, multilevel selection theory (MLST), a configuration of ideas that began with Darwin and has maintained a degree of continuity, in addition to a degree of change, up to the present. In that corner, inclusive fitness theory (IFT), which can…
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