Agency and choice in evolution

Delafield-Butt, Jonathan (2021) Agency and choice in evolution. Biosemiotics, 14. pp. 79-85. ISSN 1875-1350 (

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Denis Noble has produced a succinct analysis of the ‘Illusions of the Modern Synthesis’. At the heart of the matter is the place of agency in organisms. This paper examines the nature of conscious agent action in organisms, and the role of affects in shaping agent choice. It examines the dual role these have in shaping evolution, and in the social worlds of scientists that shape evolutionary theory. Its central claim follows Noble, that agency is central to the structure of organisms, and raises careful consideration for the role animal agency and affective evaluations in biology, and in biologists.