David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Human Nature 19 (2):119-137 (2008)
Recent debates about memetics have revealed some widespread misunderstandings about Darwinian approaches to cultural evolution. Drawing from these debates, this paper disputes five common claims: (1) mental representations are rarely discrete, and therefore models that assume discrete, gene-like particles (i.e., replicators) are useless; (2) replicators are necessary for cumulative, adaptive evolution; (3) content-dependent psychological biases are the only important processes that affect the spread of cultural representations; (4) the “cultural fitness” of a mental representation can be inferred from its successful transmission; and (5) selective forces only matter if the sources of variation are random. We close by sketching the outlines of a unified evolutionary science of culture
|Keywords||Dual inheritance theory Memes Cultural evolution Epidemiology of representations Cultural transmission Replicators|
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Citations of this work BETA
Bart du Laing & Andreas de Block (2010). Amusing Ourselves to Death? Superstimuli and the Evolutionary Social Sciences. Philosophical Psychology 23 (6):821-843.
Jeremy Trevelyan Burman (2012). The Misunderstanding of Memes: Biography of an Unscientific Object, 1976–1999. Perspectives on Science 20 (1):75-104.
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