Carl Coon. One Step at a Time

November 21, 2014


Evolution is a process that proceeds incrementally, one step at a time. One thing leads to another. This is true for all kinds of evolution. Living things evolve through natural selection, with small changes between generations leading to larger changes through many generations. Cultural artifacts, such as automobiles and telephones, evolve through many small, intentional […]

Posted in: Guest Blogs

The Circumscription Model of the Egyptian State

November 19, 2014



In Evolution of the Egyptian State: the ‘Managerial Model’ I looked at one of the functionalist theories of the Egyptian state. The Managerial Model advanced by Fekri Hassan is actually not that different from the now discredited Hydraulic Model of Karl Wittfogel. Both theories posit that the state arises because there is a need to […]

Posted in: Blogs

Evolution of the Egyptian State: the ‘Managerial Model’

November 15, 2014



The previous blog set the framework for a discussion of the evolution of the state in Egypt, and promised that I would next consider some of the theories proposed by Egyptologists. First, though, let’s put this theoretical discussion in a broader context. At a very broad level, most theories of the evolution of the state […]

Posted in: Blogs

Before the Pharaohs: Predynastic Egypt

November 11, 2014



In my previous post I wrote about how the majority of Egyptologists (with a few important exceptions) have avoided using their knowledge to help us figure out how and why early states evolved. While eventually we will remedy this situation with the help of Seshat, and in a very rigorous way, in this blog I’d […]

Posted in: Blogs

“The Cursed Discipline”

November 7, 2014


The unbroken seal on King Tut's tomb big

Lately I’ve been preoccupied with events that happened more than 5 thousand years ago, in a region far, far away. Following a workshop that we ran on coding Egypt for Seshat last September in Oxford (I wrote about these workshops in this blog) I have been reading up on Egyptian prehistory. Among other things, I […]

Posted in: Blogs

On the Importance of Being a Methodological Naturalist

November 5, 2014


Naturalism is a commitment to explaining the world in terms of natural properties and causes, as opposed to supernatural or spiritual explanations. The only kind of theism admitted by naturalism is the kind that assumes a deity set natural properties and causes in motion and does not otherwise intervene. Naturalists come in two flavors. Philosophical […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

David Sloan Wilson and Dag O. Hessen. The Blueprint of Multilevel Selection

October 31, 2014


Reply to Commentaries on Blueprint for the Global Village As part of an ongoing study on social cooperation, using Norway as a case study on the benefits of “The Nordic Model,” we recently wrote an essay on the potential role of Norway as a “blueprint for the global village”. The point of departure for this […]


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