Memes revisited

In this paper, I argue that the adaptive fit between human cultures and their environment is persuasive evidence that some form of evolutionary mechanism has been important in driving human cultural change. I distinguish three mechanisms of cultural evolution: niche construction leading to cultural group selection; the vertical flow of cultural information from parents to their children, and the replication and spread of memes. I further argue that both cultural group selection and the vertical flow of cultural information have been important. More conjecturally, I identify a potential role for meme-based cultural evolution in the explanation of the ‘human revolution’ of the last 100 000 or so years, and defuse an important objection to that explanation. Introduction Cultural groups The cultural invention of adaptive complexes Niche construction models Dual inheritance Memes Memes or minds? Conclusion.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axi157
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Matt Gers (2008). The Case for Memes. Biological Theory 3 (4):305-315.

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