The ambiguous econiche 3 · Summary and claims of the theory 4 · Relation to development and evolution 6 · The need for maps to achieve perceptual categorization 7 · The need for perceptual categorization prior to extensive learning 7 · General properties of theories of selection 9 · Early history of population thinking about behavior 10 · Subsequent neglect of selectionist ideas 11 · Resurgence of selectionist thought in ethology 13 · Recent notions of somatic selection 14 · Critique of selectionist theories 17 · Neuron-based global theories: instructionist and selectionist 20
It is difficult to imagine the world as it is presented to a newborn organism of a different species, no less our own. Indeed, the conventions of society, the remembrances of sensory experience, and, particularly, a scientific education make it difficult to accept the notion that the environment presented to such an organism is inherently ambiguous: even to animals eventually capable of speech such as ourselves, the world is initially an unlabeled place. The number of partitions of potential "objects" or "events" in an econiche is enormous if not infinite, and their positive or negative values to an individual animal, even one with a richly structured nervous system, are relative, not absolute.
Whether richly structured or simple, nervous systems evolved to