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  1. Darwinism and Meaning.Lonnie Aarssen - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):296-311.
    Darwinism presents a paradox. It discredits the notion that one’s life has any intrinsic meaning, yet it predicts that we are designed by Darwinian natural selection to generally insist that it must—and so necessarily designed to misunderstand and doubt Darwinism. The implications of this paradox are explored here, including the question of where then does the Darwinist find meaning in life? The main source, it is proposed, is from cognitive domains for meaning inherited from sentient ancestors—domains that reveal our evolved (...)
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  2. If We Are All Cultural Darwinians What’s the Fuss About? Clarifying Recent Disagreements in the Field of Cultural Evolution.Alberto Acerbi & Alex Mesoudi - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (4):481-503.
    Cultural evolution studies are characterized by the notion that culture evolves accordingly to broadly Darwinian principles. Yet how far the analogy between cultural and genetic evolution should be pushed is open to debate. Here, we examine a recent disagreement that concerns the extent to which cultural transmission should be considered a preservative mechanism allowing selection among different variants, or a transformative process in which individuals recreate variants each time they are transmitted. The latter is associated with the notion of “cultural (...)
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  3. Becoming Human, Together.Guler Cansu Agoren - 2016 - Biological Theory 11 (1).
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  4. Evolution is Important but It is Not Simple: Defining Cultural Traits and Incorporating Complex Evolutionary Theory.Fuentes Agustin - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):355.
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  5. Book Review: The Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure. [REVIEW]J. McKenzie Alexander - unknown
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  6. Kamikazes and Cultural Evolution.Sean Allen-Hermanson - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Biological and Biomedical Sciences 61:11-19.
  7. Memetics: An Evolutionary Theory of Cultural Transmission.Asunción Álvarez - 2004 - Sorites 15:24-28.
    In this essay, we introduce memetics, a new theory of cultural transmission based on Darwinian evolutionary theory. A brief account of the two man methodological trends within current memetics -- «epidemiological» and «evolutionary» memetics -- is given. Memetics differs from other evolutionary accounts of human behaviour in two main points: first, it posits replication as the mechanism for the transmission of «memes», or cultural units; and second, it claims that imitation is the only learning process by which the replication of (...)
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  8. Review of Explaining Culture.Mahesh Ananth - 2001 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):563-571.
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  9. Cultural Attractor Theory and Explanation.Buskell Andrew - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (13).
    Cultural attractor theory (CAT) is a highly visible and audacious approach to studying human cultural evolution. However, the explanatory aims and some central explanatory concepts of CAT remain unclear. Here I remedy these problems. I provide a reconstruction of CAT that recasts it as a theory of forces. I then demonstrate how this reinterpretation of CAT has the resources to generate both cultural distribution and evolvability explanations. I conclude by examining the potential benefits and drawbacks of this reconstruction.
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  10. Cultural Evolution.Robert Artigiani - 1987 - World Futures 23 (1):93-121.
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  11. The Trouble with Memes: Inference Versus Imitation in Cultural Creation.Scott Atran - 2001 - Human Nature 12 (4):351-381.
    Memes are hypothetical cultural units passed on by imitation; although nonbiological, they undergo Darwinian selection like genes. Cognitive study of multimodular human minds undermines memetics: unlike in genetic replication, high-fidelity transmission of cultural information is the exception, not the rule. Constant, rapid 'mutation' of information during communication generates endlessly varied creations that nevertheless adhere to modular input conditions. The sort of cultural information most susceptible to modular processing is that most readily acquired by children, most easily transmitted across individuals, most (...)
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  12. Taxonomic Ranks, Generic Species, and Core Memes.Scott Atran - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):593-604.
    The target article contains a number of distinct but interrelated claims about the cognitive nature of folk biology based in part on cross-cultural work with urbanized Americans and forest-dwelling Maya Indians. Folk biology consists universally of a ranked taxonomy centered on essence-based generic species. This taxonomy is domain-specific, perhaps an innately determined evolutionary adaptation. Folk biology also plays a special role in cultural evolution in general, and in the development of Western biological science in particular. Even in our culture, however, (...)
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  13. Cultural Evolution, Sperber, Memes and Religion.Robin Attfield - 2011 - Philosophical Inquiry 35 (3-4):36-55.
    Cultural transmission in non-literate societies (including that of Homer) is first discussed, partly to test some theories of Dan Sperber, and partly to consider thetheory of memes, which is sometimes held applicable to Homeric formulae, and is considered next. After discussing Sperber's criticism of memeticism, I turn toSperber's susceptibility theory of culture, and his discussions of religion and of music. Further examples drawn from Homeric religion are found to be in tension with aspects of this theory. Two diverse interpretations of (...)
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  14. Memes.Robert Aunger - 2009 - In Robin Dunbar & Louise Barrett (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. Oxford University Press.
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  15. Culture Evolves Only If There is Cultural Inheritance.Robert Aunger - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):347-348.
    Mesoudi et al. argue that the current inability to identify the means by which cultural traits are acquired does not debilitate their project to draw clear parallels between cultural and biological evolution. However, I suggest that cultural phenomena may be accounted for by biological processes, unless we can identify a cultural “genotype” that carries information from person to person independently of genes. (Published Online November 9 2006).
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  16. Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science.Robert Aunger (ed.) - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
    Darwinizing culture: the status of memetics as a science pits leading intellectuals, , against each other to battle it out, in this, the first debate over 'memes'. With a foreword by Daniel Dennett, and contributions from Dan Sperber, David Hull, Robert Boyd, Susan Blackmore, Henry Plotkin, and others, the result is a thrilling and challenging debate that will perhaps mark a turning point for the field, and for future research.
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  17. Commentary on "Minds, Memes, and Multiples.Michael Bavidge - 1996 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 3 (1):29-30.
  18. Shinto Religion and Japanese Cultural Evolution.Richard K. Beardsley - 1960 - In Gertrude Evelyn Dole (ed.), Essays in the Science of Culture. New York: Crowell.
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  19. Minimal Memetics and the Evolution of Patented Technology.Mark A. Bedau - 2013 - Foundations of Science 18 (4):791-807.
    The nature and status of cultural evolution and its connection with biological evolution are controversial in part because of Richard Dawkin’s suggestion that the scientific study of culture should include “memetics,” an analog of genetics in which genes are replaced by “memes”—the hypothetical units of cultural evolution. Memetics takes different forms; I focus on its minimal form, which claims merely that natural selection shapes to some extent the evolution of some aspects of culture. Advocates and critics of memetics disagree about (...)
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  20. The Evolution of Man and His Culture.Cyril Bibby - 1938 - London: V. Gollancz.
  21. How Cooperation Became the Norm. [REVIEW]Birch Jonathan - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):433-444.
    Most of the contributions to Cooperation and Its Evolution grapple with the distinctive challenges presented by the project of explaining human sociality. Many of these puzzles have a ‘chicken and egg’ character: our virtually unparalleled capacity for large-scale cooperation is the product of psychological, behavioural, and demographic changes in our recent evolutionary history, and these changes are linked by complex patterns of reciprocal dependence. There is much we do not yet understand about the timing of these changes, and about the (...)
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  22. Michael Tomasello: A Natural History of Human Morality. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2017 - BJPS Review of Books 2017.
    Working together creates mutual obligations. For example, the members of a football team owe it to each other to work hard for the good of the team. A player who doesn’t try hard enough, or who makes a costly mistake, lets the side down. When the team loses, feelings of responsibility, guilt, and shame ensue. Players ought to feel committed to the team and responsible for its failures. If they don’t, they deserve to be dropped. The idea at the heart (...)
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  23. Explaining the Human Syndrome. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):347-350.
  24. Dividing the Pleistocene Pie (Review of Nicolas Baumard: The Origins of Fairness). [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch & Joeri Witteveen - 2017 - BioScience 67 (2):180-182.
    The sense of fairness is a central aspect of human moral psychology. Intuitions about fairness lead to many widespread moral beliefs, such as the belief that the punishment should fit the crime or the belief that one deserves a fair share of what one has earned. In The Origins of Fairness, Nicolas Baumard sets out to shed light on the evolutionary origin of these intuitions. He argues that the human sense of fairness is innate and universal, and he offers an (...)
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  25. Evolution and Memes: The Human Brain as a Selective Imitation Device.Susan Blackmore - unknown
    The meme is an evolutionary replicator, defined as information copied from person to person by imitation. I suggest that taking memes into account may provide a better understanding of human evolution in the following way. Memes appeared in human evolution when our ancestors became capable of imitation. From this time on two replicators, memes and genes, coevolved. Successful memes changed the selective environment, favouring genes for the ability to copy them. I have called this process memetic drive. Meme-gene coevolution produced (...)
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  26. Memetics Does Provide a Useful Way of Understanding Cultural Evolution.Susan Blackmore - 2010 - In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 255--272.
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  27. Memes Shape Brains Shape Memes.Susan Blackmore - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (5):513-513.
    Christiansen & Chater's (C&C's) arguments share with memetics the ideas that language is an evolving organism and that brain capacities shape language by influencing the fitness of memes, although memetics also claims that memes in turn shape brains. Their rejection of meme theory is based on falsely claiming that memes must be consciously selected by sighted watchmakers.
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  28. Those Dreaded Memes: The Advantage of Memetics Over “Symbolic Inheritance”.Susan Blackmore - 2007 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (4):365-366.
    Jablonka & Lamb (J&L) reject but memetics can explain human uniqueness and culture (as a product of the ability to imitate) without depending on their slippery notion of symbolism. Modern memes show the beginnings of a division into replicators and vehicles, and the replacement of reconstructive processes with systems of blind copying, variation, and selection.
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  29. Do Memes Make Sense.Susan Blackmore - 2000 - Free Inquiry 20:42-4.
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  30. : Imitation Makes Us Human.Susan Blackmore - unknown
    To be human is to imitate. This is a strong claim, and a contentious one. It implies that the turning point in hominid evolution was when our ancestors first began to copy each other’s sounds and actions, and that this new ability was responsible for transforming an ordinary ape into one with a big brain, language, a curious penchant for music and art, and complex cumulative culture. The argument, briefly, is this. All evolutionary processes depend on information being copied with (...)
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  31. The Power of Memes.Susan Blackmore & Scientific American - unknown
    Human beings are strange animals. Although evolutionary theory has brilliantly accounted for the features we share with other creatures—from the genetic code that directs the construction of our bodies to the details of how our muscles and neurons work—we still stand out in countless ways. Our brains are exceptionally large, we alone have truly grammatical language, and we alone compose symphonies, drive cars, eat spaghetti with a fork and wonder about the origins of the universe.
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  32. The ‘New Science of Memetics’: The Case for Susan Blackmore.Susuan Blackmore - 2003 - Think 2 (5):21.
    In this article and the following one, Susan Blackmore and Michael Bradie take contrary positions on the ‘science of memetics’, an approach to explaining human behaviour and culture based on the idea that our minds and cultures are in large part determined by self-replicating gene-like entities called ‘memes’. Memes would seem to allow the application of evolutionary ideas to both biology and culture. Many find that thought exciting and appealing. Others consider it arrogant and scientistic. Who is right?
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  33. Przeciw memetyce.Robert Boroch - 2011 - Hybris. Revista de Filosofía 15 (15):69-99.
    Against Memetics Przeciw Memetyce (Against Memetics) Article is a critical analysis of theoretical foundations of memetics from the perspective of 2010. In my study, I mainly discuss assumptions adopted by Polish memeticians (papers published mostly in the magazine „Teksty z Ulicy. Zeszyty memetyczne”). The article concerns “biological foundations” of memetics adopted by the researchers, which causes a transfer of the biology’s conceptual paradigm exactly to the field of memetics, since a) the research methodology of memetics has been based on achievements (...)
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  34. Genes, Memes, and the Chinese Concept of Wen : Toward a Nature/Culture Model of Genetics.Thorsten Botz-Bornstein - 2010 - Philosophy East and West 60 (2):pp. 167-186.
    The Chinese concept of wen is examined here in the context of contemporary gene theory and the "cultural branch" of gene theory called "memetics." The Chinese notion of wen is an untranslatable term meaning "pattern," "structure," "writing," and "literature." Wen hua—generally translated as "culture"—signifies the process through which one adopts wen. However, this process is not simply one of civilizational mimesis or imitation but the "creation" of a new pattern. Within a gene-wen debate we are able to read genes neither (...)
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  35. On Signs, Memes and MEMS.Paul Bouissac - 2001 - Sign Systems Studies 29 (2):627-644.
    The first issue raised by this paper is whether semiotics can bring any added value to ecology. A brief examination of the epistemological status of semiotics in its current forms suggests that semiotics' phenomenological macroconcepts (which are inherited from various theological and philosophical traditions) are incommensurate with the complexity of the sciences comprising ecology and are too reductive to usefully map the microprocesses through which organisms evolve and interact. However, there are at least two grounds on which interfacing semiotics with (...)
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  36. Why Do Memes Die?Paul Bouissac - 1992 - Semiotics:183-191.
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  37. Memes: Universal Acid or a Better Mouse Trap?Rob Boyd - manuscript
    Among the many vivid metaphors in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, one stands out. The understanding of how cumulative natural selection gives rise to adaptations is, Dennett says, like a “universal acid”—an idea so powerful and corrosive of conventional wisdom that it dissolves all attempts to contain it within biology. Like most good ideas, this one is very simple: Once replicators (material objects that are faithfully copied) come to exist, some will replicate more rapidly than others, leading to adaptation by natural selection. (...)
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  38. Why Culture is Common, but Cultural Evolution is Rare.Rob Boyd - manuscript
    If culture is defined as variation acquired and maintained by social learning, then culture is common in nature. However, cumulative cultural evolution resulting in behaviors that no individual could invent on their own is limited to humans, song birds, and perhaps chimpanzees. Circumstantial evidence suggests that cumulative cultural evolution requires the capacity for observational learning. Here, we analyze two models the evolution of psychological capacities that allow cumulative cultural evolution. Both models suggest that the conditions which allow the evolution of (...)
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  39. The Cultural Niche.Robert Boyd - unknown
    In the last 60,000 years humans have expanded across the globe and now occupy a wider range than any other terrestrial species. Our ability to successfully adapt to such a diverse range of habitats is often explained in terms of our cognitive ability. Humans have relatively bigger brains and more computing power than other animals and this allows us to figure out how to live in a wide range of environments. Here we argue that humans may be smarter than other (...)
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  40. Are Cultural Phylogenies Possible?Robert Boyd, Monique Bogerhoff-Mulder & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Biology and the social sciences share an interest in phylogeny. Biologists know that living species are descended from past species, and use the pattern of similarities among living species to reconstruct the history of phylogenetic branching. Social scientists know that the beliefs, values, practices, and artifacts that characterize contemporary societies are descended from past societies, and some social science disciplines, linguistics and cross cultural anthropology for example, have made use of observed similarities to reconstruct cultural histories. Darwin appreciated that his (...)
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  41. Division of Labor, Economic Specialization, and the Evolution of Social Stratification.Robert Boyd & Joseph Henrich - unknown
    This paper presents a simple mathematical model that shows how economic inequality between social groups can arise and be maintained even when the only adaptive learning process driving cultural evolution increases individuals’ economic gains. The key assumptions are that human populations are structured into groups and that cultural learning is more likely to occur within than between groups. Then, if groups are sufficiently isolated and there are potential gains from specialization and exchange, stable stratification can sometimes result. This model predicts (...)
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  42. Cognitive Predispositions and Cultural Transmission.Pascal Boyer - 2009 - In Pascal Boyer & James Wertsch (eds.), Memory in Mind and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 288.
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  43. The Enemy: A Thought Experiment on Patriarchies, Feminisms and Memes.Robert James M. Boyles - 2011 - In Jeane Peracullo & Noelle Leslie Dela Cruz (eds.), Feminista: Gender, Race, and Class in the Philippines. Anvil Publishing, Inc. pp. 53–64.
    This article examines who or what should be the target of feminist criticism. Throughout the discussion, the concept of memes is applied in analyzing systems such as patriarchy and feminism itself. Adapting Dawkins' theory on genes, this research puts forward the possibility that patriarchies and feminisms are memeplexes competing for the limited energy and memory space of humanity.
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  44. The ‘New Science of Memetics’: The Case Against.Michael Bradie - 2003 - Think 2 (5):27.
    Michael Bradie does not share Blackmore's enthusiasm for the ‘new science of memetics’.
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  45. Do Memes Make Sense? - No.Michael Bradie - 2000 - Free Inquiry 20.
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  46. Keeping Company with Seabright.Geoffrey Brennan - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (2):106-112.
    -/- According to Paul Seabright, “the unplanned but sophisticated coordination of modern economies is a remarkable fact that needs an explanation.” In this paper, I explore what is remarkable about modern economies and investigate what Seabright identifies as the aspect “that needs an explanation.” Essentially, Seabright is interested in the fact that modern economies require a great deal in the way of trustworthy behavior (and trust) in order to function well—and these trust relations must operate specifically among “strangers”! The puzzle (...)
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  47. Symposium on Technology and Social Criticism—Introduction Technology and Culture in Evolution.J. Bronowski - 1971 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1 (2):195-206.
  48. Can Niche-Construction Theory Live in Harmony with Human Equipotentiality?Gwen J. Broude - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):149-150.
    Consistent with the “niche construction” hypothesis, human beings tailor their behavior to local circumstances in ways beneficial to their inclusive fitness. However, the fact that any human being seems equally capable of adopting any of these context-dependent fitness-enhancing behaviors makes niche construction theory implausible in practice. The human capacity for exhibiting context-specific behavior remains in need of an explanation.
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  49. Learning, Evolvability and Exploratory Behaviour: Extending the Evolutionary Reach of Learning.Rachael L. Brown - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (6):933-955.
    Traditional accounts of the role of learning in evolution have concentrated upon its capacity as a source of fitness to individuals. In this paper I use a case study from invasive species biology—the role of conditioned taste aversion in mitigating the impact of cane toads on the native species of Northern Australia—to highlight a role for learning beyond this—as a source of evolvability to populations. This has two benefits. First, it highlights an otherwise under-appreciated role for learning in evolution that (...)
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  50. Embodiment Versus Memetics.Joanna J. Bryson - 2007 - Mind and Society 7 (1):77-94.
    The term embodiment identifies a theory that meaning and semantics cannot be captured by abstract, logical systems, but are dependent on an agent’s experience derived from being situated in an environment. This theory has recently received a great deal of support in the cognitive science literature and is having significant impact in artificial intelligence. Memetics refers to the theory that knowledge and ideas can evolve more or less independently of their human-agent substrates. While humans provide the medium for this evolution, (...)
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