The Transmission of Affect, or Brennan’s Argument Against Neo-Darwinism…Note Quote

[According to neo-Darwinism], the individual organism is born with the urges and affects that will determine its fate. Its predisposition to certain behaviors is part of its individual genetic package, and, of course, these behaviors are intrinsically affective. Such behaviors and affects may be modified by the environment, or they may not survive because they are not adaptive. But the point is that no other source or origin for the affects is acknowledged outside of the individual one. The dominant model for transmission in neo-Darwinism is genetic transmission… and the critical thing about it here is that its proponents ignore the claims of social and historical context when it comes to accounting for causation.

As Brennan convincingly argues below, the neo-Darwinist adopts an essentialist position that neglects to engage at all with the capacity of affects to occur outside of the genetically formed individual. 

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To be sure, in both biological and non-biological contexts, the neo-Darwinian paradigm negates the creative potential of chance encounters by grossly inflating the status of a deterministic code mechanism. By analogy it attributes the same high level of agency to the fidelity, fecundity and longevity of the genetic package as it does to the passive passing on of a competing idea. Memetics crudely consigns, as such, the by and large capricious, unconscious and imitative transmission of desire and social invention through a population to an insentient surrender to a self-serving code.

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