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Summary

Philosophical issues around the nature of culture and cultural change spring from many historical sources: the work of German romantic philosophers (especially Herder); 19th century ethnological efforts at taxonomising human diversity, and; anthropological, archaeological and linguistic work on the mechanisms of linguistic and artefactual differentiation. Much of what is now thought of as cultural evolution, however, emerged out of mid-20th century work of cultural anthropologists and archaeologists inspired by diachronic theories of change and stasis from biology, ecology, and Marxism. Philosophical attention around the mid-century tended to focus on issues of methodology in the social sciences and the cogency of the culture concept. Notable here is David Bidney’s (1944) Theoretical Anthropology which focused on ontological issues in contemporary anthropological practice. By and large, then, the focus was on the cultural part of cultural evolution. Philosophical focus on the evolutionary aspect had to wait until the 1970s, with Michael Ruse’s (1974) being a noteworthy early effort. This time period saw a flush of new work in cultural evolution inspired by theories and tools of population genetics, especially that of Richard Dawkins (1976), Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman (1981) and Boyd and Richerson (1985). Taking seriously the analogy between biological and cultural change, these works introduced topics that continue to occupy philosophical work on cultural evolution to the present day. These include research on the ontology of culture, the extent to which cultural elements are organized; the proper units of cultural evolution; the aptness of the analogy between biological evolution and cultural change; the nature of cultural evolutionary explanation, and; the evolutionary role of cultural evolution.

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202 found
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1 — 50 / 202
  1. Memes: Myths, Misunderstandings and Misgivings.Daniel C. Dennett - manuscript
    When one says that cultures evolve, this can be taken as a truism, or as asserting one or another controversial, speculative, unconfirmed theory. Consider a cultural inventory at time t: it includes all the languages, practices, ceremonies, edifices, methods, tools, myths, music, art, and so forth, that compose a culture. Over time, the inventory changes. Some items disappear, some multiply, some merge, some change. (When I say some change, I mean to be neutral at this point about whether this amounts (...)
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  2. Power by Association.Travis Lacroix & Cailin O'Connor - manuscript
    We use tools from evolutionary game theory to examine how power might influence the cultural evolution of inequitable norms between discernible groups in a population of otherwise identical individuals. Similar extant models always assume that power is homogeneous across a social group. As such, these models fail to capture situations where individuals who are not themselves disempowered nonetheless end up disadvantaged in bargaining scenarios by dint of their social group membership. Thus, we assume that there is heterogeneity in the groups (...)
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  3. The Cultural Evolution of Cultural Evolution.Jonathan Birch & Cecilia Heyes - forthcoming - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
    What makes fast, cumulative cultural evolution work? Where did it come from? Why is it the sole preserve of humans? We set out a self-assembly hypothesis: cultural evolution evolved culturally. We present an evolutionary account that shows this hypothesis to be coherent, plausible, and worthy of further investigation. It has the following steps: (0) in common with other animals, early hominins had significant capacity for social learning; (1) knowledge and skills learned by offspring from their parents began to spread because (...)
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  4. Evolution, Cultural Evolution, and Epistemic Optimism.Andrew Buskell - forthcoming - Acta Biotheoretica.
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  5. Cognitive Novelties, Informational Form, and Structural-Causal Explanations.Andrew Buskell - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    Recent work has established a framework for explaining the origin of cognitive novelties—qualitatively distinct cognitive traits—in human beings. This niche construction approach argues that humans engineer epistemic environments in ways that facilitate the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development of such novelties. I here argue that attention to the organized relations between content-carrying informational vehicles, or informational form, is key to a valuable explanatory strategy within this project, what I call structural-causal explanations. Drawing on recent work from Cecilia Heyes, and developing a (...)
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  6. Cognitive Archaeology and the Minimum Necessary Competence Problem.Anton Killin & Ross Pain - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-15.
    Cognitive archaeologists attempt to infer the cognitive and cultural features of past hominins and their societies from the material record. This task faces the problem of minimum necessary competence: as the most sophisticated thinking of ancient hominins may have been in domains that leave no archaeological signature, it is safest to assume that tool production and use reflects only the lower boundary of cognitive capacities. Cognitive archaeology involves selecting a model from the cognitive sciences and then assessing some aspect of (...)
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  7. The Cultural Evolution of Written Language and its Effects: A Darwinian Process From Prehistory to the Modern Day.Andy Lock - forthcoming - In P. Smagorinsky (ed.), Handbook of writing: A mosaic of perspectives and views. Psychology Press.
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  8. The Cultural Evolution of Mind-Modelling.Richard Moore - forthcoming - Synthese 1.
    I argue that uniquely human forms of ‘Theory of Mind’ (or ‘ToM’) are a product of cultural evolution. Specifically, propositional attitude psychology is a linguistically constructed folk model of the human mind, invented by our ancestors for a range of tasks and refined over successive generations of users. The construction of these folk models gave humans new tools for thinking and reasoning about mental states—and so imbued us with abilities not shared by non-linguistic species. I also argue that uniquely human (...)
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  9. Cultural Evolution.Kenneth Reisman - forthcoming - In Michael Ruse (ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 428-435.
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  10. The Cultural Evolution of Institutional Religions.Michael Vlerick - forthcoming - Religion, Brain and Behavior.
    In recent work, Atran, Henrich, Norenzayan and colleagues developed an account of religion that reconciles insights from the ‘by-product’ accounts and the adaptive accounts. According to their synthesis, the process of cultural group selection driven by group competition has recruited our proclivity to adopt and spread religious beliefs and engage in religious practices to increase within group solidarity, harmony and cooperation. While their account has much merit, I believe it only tells us half the story of how institutional religions have (...)
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  11. The Role of Culture and Evolution for Human Cognition.Andrea Bender - 2020 - Topics in Cognitive Science 12 (4):1403-1420.
    Since the emergence of our species at least, natural selection based on genetic variation has been replaced by culture as the major driving force in human evolution. It has made us what we are today, by ratcheting up cultural innovations, promoting new cognitive skills, rewiring brain networks, and even shifting gene distributions. Adopting an evolutionary perspective can therefore be highly informative for cognitive science in several ways: It encourages us to ask grand questions about the origins and ramifications of our (...)
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  12. Alan C. Love & William C. Wimsatt (Eds.), Beyond the Meme: Development and Structure in Cultural Evolution, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 22, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press, 2019, Xxxii + 510 Pp. [REVIEW]Mathieu Charbonneau - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (4):1-4.
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  13. Taking Into Account the Wider Evolutionary Context of Cumulative Cultural Evolution.Nicolas Claidière - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
    The target article reviews evidence showing that technological reasoning is crucial to cumulative technological culture but it fails to discuss the implications for the emergence of cumulative cultural evolution in general. The target article supports the social view of CCE against the more ecological alternative and suggests that CCE appears when specialised individual-learning mechanisms evolve.
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  14. Cecilia Heyes, Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018, Ix + 292 Pp., $31.50/£25.95/€28.50. [REVIEW]Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (2):1-5.
    Heyes’ book is an essential addition to the literature on human uniqueness. Her main claim is that the key human cognitive capacities are products of cultural rather than genetic evolution. Among these distinctively human capacities are causal understanding, episodic memory, imitation, mindreading, and normative thinking. According to Heyes, they emerged not by genetic mutation but by innovations in cognitive development. She calls these mechanisms ‘cognitive gadgets.’ This is perhaps one of the best and most comprehensive views of human cognitive evolution (...)
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  15. The Ape That Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve by Steve Stewart-Williams. [REVIEW]Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 95:150.
    What explains the distinctive features of human behavior? In this book, Stewart-Williams aims to answer this ambitious question. This book is an engaging addition to the already long list of recent attempts to provide an evolutionary explanation of human uniqueness. It is organized into six chapters, plus two appendices. These chapters address several key topics in evolutionary theory, sex differences and sexual behavior, altruism, and cultural evolution, albeit with varying degrees of detail and depth. These topics include sexual selection, kin (...)
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  16. Rationalization Enables Cooperation and Cultural Evolution.Neil Levy - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
    Cushman argues that the function of rationalization is to attribute mental representations to ourselves, thereby making these representations available for future planning. I argue that such attribution is often not necessary and sometimes maladaptive. I suggest a different explanation of rationalization: making representations available to other agents, to facilitate cooperation, transmission, and the ratchet effect that underlies cumulative cultural evolution.
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  17. Art Forms Emerging: An Approach to Evaluative Diversity in Art.Mohan Matthen - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (3):303-318.
    An artwork in one culture and form, say European classical music, cannot be evaluated in the context of another, say Hindustani music. While a person educated in the traditions of European music can rationally evaluate and discuss her response to a string quartet by Beethoven, her response to music in a foreign culture is merely subjective. She might "like" the latter, but her response is merely subjective. In this paper, I discuss the role of artforms: why response can be "objectively" (...)
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  18. The Cultural Evolution of Oaths, Ordeals, and Lie Detectors.Hugo Mercier - 2020 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 20 (3-4):159-187.
    In a great variety of cultures oaths, ordeals, or lie detectors are used to adjudicate in trials, even though they do not reliably discern liars from truth tellers. I suggest that these practices owe their cultural success to the triggering of cognitive mechanisms that make them more culturally attractive. Informal oaths would trigger mechanisms related to commitment in communication. Oaths used in judicial contexts, by invoking supernatural punishments, would trigger intuitions of immanent justice, linking misfortunes following an oath with perjury. (...)
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  19. A Cultural Evolutionary Approach to Modernity: What Might It Mean for Christian Faith?Colin Patterson - 2020 - Zygon 55 (1):52-72.
    This essay introduces, for theological consideration, some recent work in the field of cultural evolutionary theory, specifically the kin‐influence hypothesis. This theory holds that, following the beginnings of industrialization and economic growth, a nation's fertility rate commences a decline, which is further abetted by the consequent and increasing imbalance in the relative influence of kin versus nonkin influences on individuals in favor of the latter. It is further proposed that this process is itself a major independent factor in the emergence (...)
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  20. The Cultural Evolution of Human Nature.Mark Stanford - 2020 - Acta Biotheoretica 68 (2):275-285.
    Recent years have seen the growing promise of cultural evolutionary theory as a new approach to bringing human behaviour fully within the broader evolutionary synthesis. This review of two recent seminal works on this topic argues that cultural evolution now holds the potential to bring together fields as disparate as neuroscience and social anthropology within a unified explanatory and ontological framework.
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  21. Looking for Middle Ground in Cultural Attraction Theory.Andrew Buskell - 2019 - Evolutionary Anthropology 28 (1):14-17.
    In their article, Thom Scott‐Phillips, Stefaan Blancke, and Christophe Heintz do a commendable job summarizing the position and misunderstandings of “cultural attraction theory” (CAT). However, they do not address a longstanding problem for the CAT framework; that while it has an encompassing theory and some well‐worked out case studies, it lacks tools for generating models or empirical hypotheses of intermediate generality. I suggest that what the authors diagnose as misunderstandings are instead superficial interpretive errors, resulting from researchers who have attempted (...)
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  22. Using Models to Predict Cultural Evolution From Emotional Selection Mechanisms.Kimmo Eriksson & Pontus Strimling - 2019 - Emotion Review 12 (2):79-92.
    Cultural variants may spread by being more appealing, more memorable, or less offensive than other cultural variants. Empirical studies suggest that such “emotional selection” is a force to be reckoned with in cultural evolution. We present a research paradigm that is suitable for the study of emotional selection. It guides empirical research by directing attention to the circumstances under which emotions influence the likelihood that an individual will influence another individual to acquire a cultural variant. We present a modeling framework (...)
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  23. The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution.Cailin O'Connor - 2019 - Oxford University Press.
    In almost every human society some people get more and others get less. Why is inequity the rule in human societies? Philosopher Cailin O'Connor reveals how cultural evolution works on social categories such as race and gender to generate unfairness.
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  24. Bringing Darwin into the social sciences and the humanities: cultural evolution and its philosophical implications.Stefaan Blancke & Gilles Denis - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (2):29.
    In the field of cultural evolution it is generally assumed that the study of culture and cultural change would benefit enormously from being informed by evolutionary thinking. Recently, however, there has been much debate about what this “being informed” means. According to the standard view, an interesting analogy obtains between cultural and biological evolution. In the literature, however, the analogy is interpreted and used in at least three distinct, but interrelated ways. We provide a taxonomy in order to clarify these (...)
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  25. Causes of Cultural Disparity: Switches, Tuners, and the Cognitive Science of Religion.Andrew Buskell - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (8):1239-1264.
    Cultural disparity—the variation across cultural traits such as knowledge, skill, and belief—is a complex phenomenon, studied by a number of researchers with an expanding empirical toolkit. While there is a growing consensus as to the processes that generate cultural variation and change, general explanatory frameworks require additional tools for identifying, organising, and relating the complex causes that underpin the production of cultural disparity. Here I develop a case study in the cognitive science of religion, and demonstrate how concepts and distinctions (...)
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  26. Power in Cultural Evolution and the Spread of Prosocial Norms.Nathan Cofnas - 2018 - Quarterly Review of Biology 93 (4):297–318.
    According to cultural evolutionary theory in the tradition of Boyd and Richerson, cultural evolution is driven by individuals' learning biases, natural selection, and random forces. Learning biases lead people to preferentially acquire cultural variants with certain contents or in certain contexts. Natural selection favors individuals or groups with fitness-promoting variants. Durham (1991) argued that Boyd and Richerson's approach is based on a "radical individualism" that fails to recognize that cultural variants are often "imposed" on people regardless of their individual decisions. (...)
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  27. Cultural Evolution and the Social Sciences: A Case of Unification?Catherine Driscoll - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):7.
    This paper addresses the question of how to understand the relationship between Cultural Evolutionary Science and the social sciences, given that they coexist and both study cultural change. I argue that CES is best understood as having a unificatory or integrative role between evolutionary biology and the social sciences, and that it is best characterized as a bridge field; I describe the concept of a bridge field and how it relates to other non-reductionist accounts of unification or integration used in (...)
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  28. The Double Movement in Polanyi and Hayek: Towards the Continuation of Life.Filipe Nobre Faria - 2018 - Ethics, Politics and Society 1:329-350.
    Karl Polanyi's double movement is a dialectical process characterized by a continuous tension between a movement towards social marketization and a movement towards social protectionism. Notably, Polanyi condemns the former movement while defending the latter. Without using the term " double movement " , F.A Hayek's theory of social evolution acknowledges the same phenomenon but reaches different normative conclusions. While for Polanyi the marketization of society is a utopia with dystopian consequences, Hayek's evolutionary explanation of this dialectical process asserts that (...)
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  29. The Theoretical Difficulties of Memetics.Kinga Kowalczyk-Purol - 2018 - Diametros (58):65-86.
    Memetics is a research approach which applies evolutionary ideas and terminology to cultural phenomena. The core idea of memetics is the existence of the units of cultural evolution which are attributed autonomous replicating goals. Of course, such a controversial concept has gained many devoted adherents as well as its determined opponents. The paper discusses the theoretical difficulties of memetics. The first part discusses the analogy of genes and memes. The theme of the second part is the ontology of a cultural (...)
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  30. The Semantic Drift of Quotations in Blogspace: A Case Study in Short‐Term Cultural Evolution.Sébastien Lerique & Camille Roth - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (1):188-219.
    We present an empirical case study that connects psycholinguistics with the field of cultural evolution, in order to test for the existence of cultural attractors in the evolution of quotations. Such attractors have been proposed as a useful concept for understanding cultural evolution in relation with individual cognition, but their existence has been hard to test. We focus on the transformation of quotations when they are copied from blog to blog or media website: by coding words with a number of (...)
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  31. Cultural Evolution.Tim Lewens - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  32. Kamikazes and Cultural Evolution.Sean Allen-Hermanson - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Biological and Biomedical Sciences 61:11-19.
    Is cultural evolution needed to explain altruistic selfsacrifice? Some contend that cultural traits (e.g. beliefs, behaviors, and for some “memes”) replicate according to selection processes that have “floated free” from biology. One test case is the example of suicide kamikaze attacks in wartime Japan. Standard biological mechanisms—such as reciprocal altruism and kin selection—might not seem to apply here: The suicide pilots did not act on the expectation that others would reciprocate, and they were supposedly sacrificing themselves for country and emperor, (...)
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  33. Stochasticity in Cultural Evolution: A Revolution yet to Happen.Sylvain Billiard & Alexandra Alvergne - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (1):9.
    Over the last 40 years or so, there has been an explosion of cultural evolution research in anthropology and archaeology. In each discipline, cultural evolutionists investigate how interactions between individuals translate into group level patterns, with the aim of explaining the diachronic dynamics and diversity of cultural traits. However, while much attention has been given to deterministic processes, we contend that current evolutionary accounts of cultural change are limited because they do not adopt a systematic stochastic approach. First, we show (...)
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  34. 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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  35. The Philosophy of Social Evolution.Jonathan Birch - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    From mitochondria to meerkats, the natural world is full of spectacular examples of social behaviour. In the early 1960s W. D. Hamilton changed the way we think about how such behaviour evolves. He introduced three key innovations - now known as Hamilton's rule, kin selection, and inclusive fitness - and his pioneering work kick-started a research program now known as social evolution theory. This is a book about the philosophical foundations and future prospects of that program.
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  36. 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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  37. Making Do Without Selection—Review Essay of “Cultural Evolution: Conceptual Challenges” by Tim Lewens. [REVIEW]Carl Brusse - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (2):307-319.
    Cultural evolution is a growing, interdisciplinary, and disparate field of research. In ‘Cultural evolution: conceptual challenges”, Tim Lewens offers an ambitious analytical survey of this field that aims to clarify and defend its epistemic contributions, and highlight the limitations and risks associated with them. One overarching contention is that a form of population thinking dubbed the ‘kinetic approach’ should be seen as a unifying and justifying principle for cultural evolution, especially when considering the role of formal modelling. This book makes (...)
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  38. Cultural Attractor Theory and Explanation.Andrew Buskell - 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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  39. What Are Cultural Attractors?Andrew Buskell - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):377-394.
    Concepts from cultural attractor theory are now used in domains far from their original home in anthropology and cultural evolution. Yet these concepts have not been consistently characterised. I here distinguish four ways in which the cultural attractor concept has been used and identify three kinds of factors of attraction typically appealed to. Clarifying these explanatory concepts identifies problems and ambiguities in the work of cultural epidemiologists and commentators alike.
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  40. The Swashbuckling Anthropologist: Henrich on The Secret of Our Success. [REVIEW]Ellen Clarke & Cecilia Heyes - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (2):289-305.
    In The Secret of Our Success, Joseph Henrich claims that human beings are unique—different from all other animals—because we engage in cumulative cultural evolution. It is the technological and social products of cumulative cultural evolution, not the intrinsic rationality or ‘smartness’ of individual humans, that enable us to live in a huge range of different habitats, and to dominate most of the creatures who share those habitats with us. We are sympathetic to this general view, the latest expression of the (...)
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  41. Is Market Liberalism Adaptive? Rethinking F. A. Hayek on Moral Evolution.Filipe Nobre Faria - 2017 - Journal of Bioeconomics 19 (3):307–326.
    Hayek’s social theory of evolution suggests that market liberal morality is adaptive for social groups. He justified the evolutionary superiority of market liberalism by asserting that groups operating under a market liberal morality would have a higher capacity to expand and reproduce than groups with alternative tribal moralities. Thus, market liberal groups would be favoured through cultural and genetic group selection. But in fact, market liberal morality reveals maladaptive tendencies and remains insufficiently powerful to create adaptive social groups. Hayek’s dismissal (...)
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  42. Where Did Language Come From? Connecting Sign, Song, and Speech in Hominin Evolution.Anton Killin - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):759-778.
    Recently theorists have developed competing accounts of the origins and nature of protolanguage and the subsequent evolution of language. Debate over these accounts is lively. Participants ask: Is music a direct precursor of language? Were the first languages gestural? Or is language continuous with primate vocalizations, such as the alarm calls of vervets? In this article I survey the leading hypotheses and lines of evidence, favouring a largely gestural conception of protolanguage. However, the “sticking point” of gestural accounts, to use (...)
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  43. Plio-Pleistocene Foundations of Hominin Musicality: Coevolution of Cognition, Sociality, and Music.Anton Killin - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (4):222-235.
    Today, music is ubiquitous, highly valued in all known cultures, playing many roles in human daily life. The ethnographic study of the music of extant human foragers makes this quite apparent. Moreover, music is ancient. Sophisticated bird-bone and ivory flutes dated from 40 kya reveal an even earlier musical-technological tradition. So is music likely to be an entrenched feature of human social life during the long passage to behavioral modernity—say, by 150 kya—or earlier? In this article I sketch an evolutionary (...)
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  44. Mental Evolution: A Review of Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. [REVIEW]Charles Rathkopf - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1355-1368.
    From Bacteria To Bach and Back is an ambitious book that attempts to integrate a theory about the evolution of the human mind with another theory about the evolution of human culture. It is advertised as a defense of memes, but conceptualizes memes more liberally than has been done before. It is also advertised as a defense of the proposal that natural selection operates on culture, but conceptualizes natural selection as a process in which nearly all interesting parameters are free (...)
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  45. Do Chimpanzees Conform to Cultural Norms?Laura Schlingloff & Richard Moore - 2017 - In Kristin Andrews Jacob Beck (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge. pp. 381-389.
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  46. Cultural Evolution in California and Paris.Kim Sterelny - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 62:42-50.
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  47. Becoming Human, Together. [REVIEW]Guler Agoren - 2016 - Biological Theory 11 (1):39-41.
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  48. The Organism-Centered Approach to Cultural Evolution.Filip Buekens, Alessandro Salice, Luciano Floridi, Bert Baumgaertner & Filippo Domaneschi - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):283-290.
    In this paper, we distinguish two different approaches to cultural evolution. One approach is meme-centered, the other organism-centered. We argue that in situations in which the meme- and organism-centered approaches are competing alternatives, the organism-centered approach is in many ways superior. Furthermore, the organism-centered approach can go a long way toward understanding the evolution of institutions. Although the organism-centered approach is preferable for a broad class of situations, we do leave room for super-organismic or sub-organismic explanations of some cultural phenomena.
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  49. Cultural Longevity: Morin on Cultural Lineages. [REVIEW]Andrew Buskell - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (3):435-446.
    Morin has written a rich and valuable book. Its main aim is to isolate the factors involved in maintaining behavioural lineages over time, and to understand how these factors might interact. In doing so, it takes issue with the abstract and idealised models and arguments of dual-inheritance theorists, which are alleged in this account to rely on an overly simplistic notion of imitative learning. Morin’s book is full of ethnographic, anthropological, and psychological research, and there is much to commend in (...)
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  50. The Organism-Centered Approach to Cultural Evolution.Andreas De Block & Grant Ramsey - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):283-290.
    In this paper, we distinguish two different approaches to cultural evolution. One approach is meme-centered, the other organism-centered. We argue that in situations in which the meme- and organism-centered approaches are competing alternatives, the organism-centered approach is in many ways superior. Furthermore, the organism-centered approach can go a long way toward understanding the evolution of institutions. Although the organism-centered approach is preferable for a broad class of situations, we do leave room for super-organismic or sub-organismic explanations of some cultural phenomena.
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