Social and Ethical Interpretations in Mental Development


Table of Contents | Next | Previous

THE various sorts of 'Selection' which it seems well to distinguish in different connections may be thrown together in the following table, the corresponding sections of the book (as far as there are such sections) being in each case given in brackets in the table beside the description: —


Sort Means Result
1,2 Natural Selection 
{I. (Darwin, Wallace, Spencer)
[40]; II (Pfeffer) [40].
1. Struggle for Existence (Darwin,
1. 'Survival of the Fittest'
Individuals (Spencer).
2. Inherent Weakness, without
2. Destruction of Unfit
3. Germinal Selection (Weismann). 3. Struggle of Germinal Elements 3. Survival of Fittest
Germinial Individuals
4. Intra-Selection 
(Roux, Weismann, Delage).
4. Struggle of Parts (Roux) 4. Survival of Fittest Organs
5. Functional Selection (Baldwin). 5. Overproduction of Movements 
(Bain, Spencer, Baldwin)
5. Survival of Fittest
6. Organic Selection 
(Baldwin, Osborn, Lloyd
Morgan ) [Appendix A].
6. Accommodation (Baldwin);
Individual Adaptation (Osborn);
Modification (Lloyd Morgan).
6. Survival of Accommodating
7. Artificial Selection (Darwin). 7 Choice for Planting and for Mating
7. Reproduction of Desirable
8. Personal Selection**[40] 8. Choice 8. Employment and Survival of 
Socially Available Individual
9 Sexual Selection 
(Darwin) [40]
9. Conscious Selection by Courting,
9. Reproduction of Attractive
10 Social Selection**[40, 120] 10. Social Competition of Individuals
  and Groups with Natural
  Selection (Malthus, Darwin).
10. Survival of Socially Fittest
Individuals and Groups
11 Social Suppression**[38ff.] 11. Suppression of Socially Unfittest 
(by Law, Custom, etc.)
11. Survival of the Socially Fit
12 Imitative Selection** [40, 121,307]
  Social Generalization** [121, 310ff] 
12. Imitative Propogation from Mind
to Mind with Social Heredity
12.  Survival of Ideas
13 Physiological Selection
13. Infertility 13. Survival of the Divergent
14. Reproductive Selection
14. Enhanced fertility 14 Survival of the Most Fertile
  * I am indebted to Professor Lloyd Morgan for several suggestions utilized in the Table.
** Suggested in this work.


Certain remarks may be added to which I give numbers corresponding to those topics in the table to which they respectively relate:

4, 5, 6. By a singular coincidence M. Delage uses the phrase ' Selection organique' (Struct. du Protoplasma, etc., p. 732) to describe Roux' ' Struggle of the Parts'; inasmuch as I had used ' Organic Selection' (Ment. Devel., 1st ed. p. 174) for the similar concept which I now call ' Functional Selection' (5). Seeing that Weismann's ' IntraSelection' (4) was directly applied by him to his interpretation of Roux' ' Struggle,' Delage's phrase is not likely to have currency as a substitute for Intro-Selection. As 'Functional Selection' (5) is a special means of motor accommodation, it is additional (and in a sense, subordinate) to Intro-Selection, since it has a functional reference.

7, 8, 9. I do not give a separate heading to Professor Lloyd Morgan's phrase ' Conscious Selection,' since it will be seen that, as he uses it, i.e., in broad antithesis to ' Natural Selection,' it really includes all those special forms of selection in which a state of consciousness plays the selecting role[1] (7, 8, 9, 11, 12) ; it may become ambiguous in reference to cases where natural selection operates on mental and social variations (5, 6, 10) ; and even when applicable, as in sexual selection (9),[2] with respect to the ' means' of the selection, it is still ambiguous with respect to the I result I of the selection. This last ambiguity, which is brought out in the table (8, 9),[3] makes it desirable to confine the phrase' Conscious Selection' (if used at all) to cases which result in continuance of what is desirable for consciousness or thought. I have suggested 'Personal Selection' (8) for the selection by human personal choice, analogous to Sexual Selection (9) and to Romanes' ' Psychological Selection.' Furthermore, Darwin's ' Artificial Selection' should be used, as he used it, with reference only to securing results by induced mating (his ' Methodical' as opposed to his ' Unconscious' Selection).

10, 11, 12. In all the sorts of so-called 'selection,' considered as factors in progress from generation to generation, in which the laws of natural selection and physical reproduction do not operate together, I think it is extremely desirable that we discard the word 'selection'

(550) in toto, and give to each case a name which shall apply to it alone. The cases of the preservation of individuals and groups by reason of their social endowments do illustrate natural selection with physical reproduction, so I propose ' Social Selection' (10) for that. But in the instances in which either physical heredity is not operative (12), or in which it is not the only means of transmission (11), we cannot secure clearness without new terms; for these two cases I have suggested ' Social Suppression' (11) and ' Social Generalization' (12). The phrase ' Imitative Selection' is given in the table alternatively for the latter (12), seeing that the discussions of the topic usually employ the term ' Selection' and use the ' Natural Selection' analogy. ' Selection' may be used also when there is no reference to race-progress (and so no danger of misuse of the biological analogy) ; since it then means presumably the conscious choice' of psychology and of pre-Darwinian theory.[4]


  1. This, indeed, is still liable to the question as to whose is the state of consciousness, giving the difference (both in means and result) seen between ' Artificial' (7) and ' Sexual' (9) selection. Ward suggested earlier the phrase 'subjective selection' (i.e. by consciousness) in antithesis to natural selection (Encyc. Britan., 9th ed., Art. 'Psychology').
  2. Lloyd Morgan, Habit and Instinct, pp. 219, 271.
  3. The bird 'selects' (sexually) for the sake of the experience, and it is a secondary result that she is also thus 'selected' for mating with the male and so for continuing his attractive characters with her own characters in the offspring.
  4. It may be well to add that this table is not intended to be altogether exhaustive from the biological standpoint. For example, Professor Minot's 'Post-Selection' does not fall readily into the scheme. Nor are the different headings in all cases exclusive of one another; Darwin really included both the cases (I and II) of Natural Selection under the single phrase; and justly so, seeing that they illustrate a single principle.

Valid HTML 4.01 Strict Valid CSS2