Thought, Change and Evolution

Rod Thomas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To say something about the problem of understanding social change seems to involve saying something about the nexus of thought, change and evolution. In pursuit of that thesis, variants of Sir Karl Popper’s so-called tetradic schema of [P1→TT→EE→P2] are used to represent abstractly the evolutionary character of the change that is wrought not only by scientific and technological advance, but also by market-based economic competition, and by the ideological developments that occur in response to the change wrought by scientific and technological advance and marketbased competition, and so on, ad infinitum. This account of social change is contrasted with two other influential forms of theorization that address the same problem: firstly, what Popper called ‘historicism’; secondly, the so-called research programme of ‘generalized Darwinism’. The contrast reveals all three approaches to be forms of evolutionary-type theorization; but whereas Popper’s schema configures the nexus of thought, change and evolution as an extension to the attitude of Open Society, the latter do not.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalThe World of Knowledge
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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