Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
From Hand to HandleThe First Industrial Revolution$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Lawrence Barham

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604715

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199604715.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 May 2019

What Is Combinatorial Evolution?

What Is Combinatorial Evolution?

(p.15) 1 What Is Combinatorial Evolution?
From Hand to Handle

Lawrence Barham

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the concept of ‘combinatorial evolution’ as the underlying principle of tool-making. Developed by the economist and complexity theorist W. Brian Arthur, combinatorial evolution implies that inventions are the result of intentional combinations of existing technologies through a process that involves interplay between experience and knowledge — and driven by need. The chapter examines combinatorial evolution in relation to Charles Darwin’s model of biological evolution and places Arthur’s contribution in its broader historical context. It also analyses behavioural models that draw their source material from the social sciences to explain long-term processes of innovation and technological change. Finally, it considers the sociology of invention within the context of combinatorial evolution.

Keywords:   combinatorial evolution, tool-making, W. Brian Arthur, inventions, biological evolution, behavioural models, social sciences, technological change, innovation, sociology

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .