Formalizing Darwinism and inclusive fitness theory.
Inclusive fitness maximization is a basic building block for biological contributions to any theory of the evolution of society. There is a view in mathematical population genetics that nothing is caused to be maximized in the process of natural selection, but this is explained as arising from a misunderstanding about the meaning of fitness maximization. Current theoretical work on inclusive fitness is discussed, with emphasis on the author's 'formal Darwinism project'. Generally, favourable conclusions are drawn about the validity of assuming fitness maximization, but the need for continuing work is emphasized, along with the possibility that substantive exceptions may be uncovered. The formal Darwinism project aims more ambitiously to represent in a formal mathematical framework the central point of Darwin's Origin of Species, that the mechanical processes of inheritance and reproduction can give rise to the appearance of design, and it is a fitting ambition in Darwin's bicentenary year to capture his most profound discovery in the lingua franca of science.