Evolution, Adaptation, and Imitation
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Please check back later for the full article.
Evolution, as a biological process and as a metaphor, has utility in our understanding of international relations. The former is largely inapplicable for, obvious, conceptual, and empirical reasons; but the latter is more promising—albeit those who use it must be explicit about its limitations. There must be considerations of how evolution contrasts with conscious adaption and imitation, the argument for the need to distinguish among them analytically and empirically, and the further exploration of the different conditions in which these other two mechanisms might be relevant.