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(2011) Explanation, prediction, and confirmation, Dordrecht, Springer.

The arrival of the fittest

Peter McLaughlin

pp. 203-222

In one of his early sketches from the Russian Revolution Jaroslav Hasek tells the story of a more zealous than competent Red Army commander who sought to foster literacy among the peasants in the area where he was stationed by posting a written notice ordering them to learn how to read within three days. Those inhabitants of the county still illiterate after this period were to be shot. Had the local Bolshevik commissar (Hasek) not crossed the commander's plans, the proposition, "All adult inhabitants of the county are literate," might have become true, and its truth would have been explainable by appeal to a sort of selection. Some people believe that adaptation by means of natural selection proceeds more or less along the lines of Colonel Jerochymov's program of literacy by firing squad. Selection, they believe, explains only the survival but not the arrival of the fittest.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1180-8_14

Full citation:

McLaughlin, P. (2011)., The arrival of the fittest, in D. Dieks, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel, M. Weber & W. J. González (eds.), Explanation, prediction, and confirmation, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 203-222.

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