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  1. Cumulative Culture and Complex Cultural Traditions.Andrew Buskell - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Cumulative cultural evolution is often claimed to be distinctive of human culture. Such claims are typically supported with examples of complex and historically late-appearing technologies. Yet by taking these as paradigm cases, researchers unhelpfully lump together different ways that culture accumulates. This article has two aims: (a) to distinguish four types of cultural accumulation: adaptiveness, complexity, efficiency, and disparity and (b) to highlight the epistemic implications of taking complex hominin technologies as paradigmatic instances of cumulative culture. Addressing these issues both (...)
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  2. Foragers and Their Tools: Risk, Technology and Complexity.Kim Sterelny - 2021 - Topics in Cognitive Science 13 (4):728-749.
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  3. The Origins of Multi-Level Society.Kim Sterelny - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):207-220.
    There is a very striking difference between even the simplest ethnographically known human societies and those of the chimps and bonobos. Chimp and bonobo societies are closed societies: with the exception of adolescent females who disperse from their natal group and join a nearby group, a pan residential group is the whole social world of the agents who make it up. That is not true of forager bands, which have fluid memberships, and regular associations with neighbouring bands. They are components (...)
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  4. Demography and Cultural Complexity.Kim Sterelny - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8557-8580.
    This paper begins by calling attention to a puzzling feature of our deep past: an apparent mis-match between morphological evolution in our lineage, including the expansion of our brain and neocortex, and changes in material culture. Three ideas might explain this mis-match. The apparent mis-match is an illusion: change in material culture is indeed driven by biological evolution, but of a kind difficult to identify in the fossil record; the mismatch is caused by the fact that material culture is sensitive (...)
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  5. Environmental Complexity, Life History, and Encephalisation in Human Evolution.Matt Grove - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):395-420.
    Brain size has increased threefold during the course of human evolution, whilst body weight has approximately doubled. These increases in brain and body size suggest that reproductive rates must have slowed considerably during this period. During the same period, however, environmental heterogeneity has increased substantially. A central tenet of life-history theory states that in heterogeneous environments, organisms with fast life histories will be favoured. The human lineage, therefore, has proceeded in direct contradiction of this theory. This contribution attempts to resolve (...)
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  6. Are Humans Disturbing Conditions in Ecology?S. Andrew Inkpen - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (1):51-71.
    In this paper I argue, first, that ecologists have routinely treated humans—or more specifically, anthropogenic causal factors—as disturbing conditions. I define disturbing conditions as exogenous variables, variables “outside” a model, that when present in a target system, inhibit the applicability or accuracy of the model. This treatment is surprising given that humans play a dominant role in many ecosystems and definitions of ecology contain no fundamental distinction between human and natural. Second, I argue that the treatment of humans as disturbing (...)
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  7. Cooperation, Culture, and Conflict.Kim Sterelny - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):31-58.
    In this article I develop a big picture of the evolution of human cooperation, and contrast it to an alternative based on group selection. The crucial claim is that hominin history has seen two major transitions in cooperation, and hence poses two deep puzzles about the origins and stability of cooperation. The first is the transition from great ape social lives to the lives of Pleistocene cooperative foragers; the second is the stability of the social contract through the early Holocene (...)
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  8. A Paleolithic Reciprocation Crisis: Symbols, Signals, and Norms.Kim Sterelny - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (1):65-77.
    Within paleoanthropology, the origin of behavioral modernity is a famous problem. Very large-brained hominins have lived for around half a million years, yet social lives resembling those known from the ethnographic record appeared perhaps 100,000 years ago. Why did it take 400,000 years for humans to start acting like humans? In this article, I argue that part of the solution is a transition in the economic foundations of cooperation from a relatively undemanding form, to one that imposed much more stress (...)
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  9. The Role of Learning in Punishment, Prosociality, and Human Uniqueness.Fiery Cushman - 2013 - In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott & Ben Fraser (eds.), Cooperation and its Evolution. MIT Press.
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  10. No Magic Bullet Explains the Evolution of Unique Human Traits.Stephen M. Downes - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (1):15-19.
    Here I outline the argument in Kim Sterelny’s book The Evolved Apprentice. I present some worries for Sterelny from the perspective of modelers in behavioral ecology. I go on to discuss Sterelny’s approach to moral psychology and finally introduce some potential new applications for his evolved apprentice view.
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  11. Strategic Interaction in Humans and Other Animals.Simon M. Huttegger & Brian Skyrms - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (2):125-126.
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  12. Altruistic Punishment and Between-Group Competition.Susanne Rebers & Ruud Koopmans - 2012 - Human Nature 23 (2):173-190.
    Collective action, or the large-scale cooperation in the pursuit of public goods, has been suggested to have evolved through cultural group selection. Previous research suggests that the costly punishment of group members who do not contribute to public goods plays an important role in the resolution of collective action dilemmas. If large-scale cooperation sustained by the punishment of defectors has evolved through the mechanism of cultural group selection, two implications regarding costly punishment follow: (1) that people are more willing to (...)
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  13. The Importance of Physical Strength to Human Males.Aaron Sell, Liana Se Hone & Nicholas Pound - 2012 - Human Nature 23 (1):30-44.
    Fighting ability, although recognized as fundamental to intrasexual competition in many nonhuman species, has received little attention as an explanatory variable in the social sciences. Multiple lines of evidence from archaeology, criminology, anthropology, physiology, and psychology suggest that fighting ability was a crucial aspect of intrasexual competition for ancestral human males, and this has contributed to the evolution of numerous physical and psychological sex differences. Because fighting ability was relevant to many domains of interaction, male psychology should have evolved such (...)
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  14. Intergroup Aggression in Chimpanzees and War in Nomadic Hunter-Gatherers.Richard W. Wrangham & Luke Glowacki - 2012 - Human Nature 23 (1):5-29.
    Chimpanzee and hunter-gatherer intergroup aggression differ in important ways, including humans having the ability to form peaceful relationships and alliances among groups. This paper nevertheless evaluates the hypothesis that intergroup aggression evolved according to the same functional principles in the two species—selection favoring a tendency to kill members of neighboring groups when killing could be carried out safely. According to this idea chimpanzees and humans are equally risk-averse when fighting. When self-sacrificial war practices are found in humans, therefore, they result (...)
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  15. Humans and the Soil.Daniel C. Fouke - 2011 - Environmental Ethics 33 (2):147-161.
    The way we farm, the kinds of backyards and landscapes we favor, and the way we control patterns of development are creating an invisible crisis through their affects upon soil ecology. The invisibility of soil ecosystems, the seemingly alien properties of the organisms that inhabit them, and the specialized knowledge required to understand them create obstacles to moral concern for these fountains of life. Our treatment of soils has reached the point of crisis. Obstacles to moral thinking about soils might (...)
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  16. The Foundation of Kinship.Donna L. Leonetti & Benjamin Chabot-Hanowell - 2011 - Human Nature 22 (1-2):16-40.
    Men’s hunting has dominated the discourse on energy capture and flow in the past decade or so. We turn to women’s roles as critical to household formation, pair-bonding, and intergenerational bonds. Their pivotal contributions in food processing and distribution likely promoted kinship, both genetic and affinal, and appear to be the foundation from which households evolved. With conscious recognition of household social units, variable cultural constructions of human kinship systems that were sensitive to environmental and technological conditions could emerge. Kinship (...)
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  17. Cultural Transmission and Social Control of Human Behavior.Laureano Castro, Luis Castro-Nogueira, Miguel A. Castro-Nogueira & Miguel A. Toro - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):347-360.
    Humans have developed the capacity to approve or disapprove of the behavior of their children and of unrelated individuals. The ability to approve or disapprove transformed social learning into a system of cumulative cultural inheritance, because it increased the reliability of cultural transmission. Moreover, people can transmit their behavioral experiences (regarding what can and cannot be done) to their offspring, thereby avoiding the costs of a laborious, and sometimes dangerous, evaluation of different cultural alternatives. Our thesis is that, during ontogeny, (...)
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  18. Paleolithic Public Goods Games: Why Human Culture and Cooperation Did Not Evolve in One Step.Benoît Dubreuil - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (1):53-73.
    It is widely agreed that humans have specific abilities for cooperation and culture that evolved since their split with their last common ancestor with chimpanzees. Many uncertainties remain, however, about the exact moment in the human lineage when these abilities evolved. This article argues that cooperation and culture did not evolve in one step in the human lineage and that the capacity to stick to long-term and risky cooperative arrangements evolved before properly modern culture. I present evidence that Homo heidelbergensis (...)
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  19. The Causes and Scope of Political Egalitarianism During the Last Glacial: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective.Doron Shultziner, Thomas Stevens, Martin Stevens, Brian A. Stewart, Rebecca J. Hannagan & Giulia Saltini-Semerari - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):319-346.
    This paper reviews and synthesizes emerging multi-disciplinary evidence toward understanding the development of social and political organization in the Last Glacial. Evidence for the prevalence and scope of political egalitarianism is reviewed and the biological, social, and environmental influences on this mode of human organization are further explored. Viewing social and political organization in the Last Glacial in a much wider, multi-disciplinary context provides the footing for coherent theory building and hypothesis testing by which to further explore human political systems. (...)
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  20. A Systemic View of Biodiversity and its Conservation: Processes, Interrelationships, and Human Culture.Eleanor J. Sterling, Andrés Gómez & Ana L. Porzecanski - 2010 - Bioessays 32 (12):1090-1098.
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  21. Grandmothers, Hunters and Human Life History.Catherine Driscoll - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):665-686.
    This paper critiques the competing “Grandmother Hypothesis” and “Embodied Capital Theory” as evolutionary explanations of the peculiarities of human life history traits. Instead, I argue that the correct explanation for human life history probably involves elements of both hypotheses: long male developmental periods and lives probably evolved due to group selection for male hunting via increased female fertility, and female long lives due to the differential contribution women’s complex foraging skills made to their children and grandchildren’s nutritional status within groups (...)
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  22. On Our Best Behavior: Optimality Models in Human Behavioral Ecology.Catherine Driscoll - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (2):133-141.
    This paper discusses problems associated with the use of optimality models in human behavioral ecology. Optimality models are used in both human and non-human animal behavioral ecology to test hypotheses about the conditions generating and maintaining behavioral strategies in populations via natural selection. The way optimality models are currently used in behavioral ecology faces significant problems, which are exacerbated by employing the so-called ‘phenotypic gambit’: that is, the bet that the psychological and inheritance mechanisms responsible for behavioral strategies will be (...)
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  23. The Problem of Adaptive Individual Choice in Cultural Evolution.Catherine Driscoll - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (1):101-113.
    This paper tries to explain how individuals manage adaptive individual choice (i.e., the decision to acquire a fitter than average behavior or idea rapidly and tractably) in cultural evolution, despite the fact that acquiring fitness information is very difficult. I argue that the means of solving this problem suggested in the cultural evolution literature largely are various types of decision rules employing representations of fitness correlated properties or states of affairs. I argue that the problem of adaptive individual choice is (...)
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  24. On Cultural Environment and Cultural Environment in Vietnam.Quy Ho Si - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 20:101-120.
    The problem of cultural environment is not new, but the use of the theory on cultural environment is clearly a new approach to the consideration of familiar questions. That is the problem, is it true that the context has become such that man, as an individual, is becoming increasingly smaller, weaker, more tightly defined and restrained, in a society which is steadily developing in the direction of becoming multi-dimensional and ambiguous with its “logic of imposition”? As for the cultural environment, (...)
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  25. A New Environmental Philosophy and The Re-Establishing of Human Ecology.Jia-cai Zhang & Hui Yan - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 23:169-174.
    Environment is essentially in the category of culture and environmental research should be based on human value and culture. The study of the relationship between humans and their natural environment should also refer to human relations. Since the operational logic of social capital is the root of ecological crisis, the ultimate solution to this problem lies in human’s correct thinking, institutional, political and behavioral patterns in dealing with nature. Re-establishing human ecology therefore provides a cultural basis for the harmony between (...)
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  26. Prehistoric Cognition by Description: A Russellian Approach to the Upper Paleolithic.John Bolender - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):383-399.
    A cultural change occurred roughly 40,000 years ago. For the first time, there was evidence of belief in unseen agents and an afterlife. Before this time, humans did not show widespread evidence of being able to think about objects, persons, and other agents that they had not been in close contact with. I argue that one can explain this transition by appealing to a population increase resulting in greater exoteric (inter-group) communication. The increase in exoteric communication triggered the actualization of (...)
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  27. Mating Games: Cultural Evolution and Sexual Selection.Andreas De Block & Siegfried8 Dewitte - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):475-491.
    In this paper, we argue that mating games, a concept that denotes cultural practices characterized by a competitive element and an ornamental character, are essential drivers behind the emergence and maintenance of human cultural practices. In order to substantiate this claim, we sketch out the essential role of the game’s players and audience, as well as the ways in which games can mature and turn into relatively stable cultural practices. After outlining the life phase of mating games – their emergence, (...)
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  28. The Human Behavioral Ecology of Contemporary World Issues.Bram Tucker & Lisa Rende Taylor - 2007 - Human Nature 18 (3):181-189.
    Human behavioral ecology (HBE) began as an attempt to explain human economic, reproductive, and social behavior using neodarwinian theory in concert with theory from ecology and economics, and ethnographic methods. HBE has addressed subsistence decision-making, cooperation, life history trade-offs, parental investment, mate choice, and marriage strategies among hunter-gatherers, herders, peasants, and wage earners in rural and urban settings throughout the world. Despite our rich insights into human behavior, HBE has very rarely been used as a tool to help the people (...)
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  29. Can Behaviors Be Adaptations?Catherine Driscoll - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (1):16-35.
    Kim Sterelny and Paul Griffiths (Sterelny 1992, Sterelny and Griffiths 1999) have argued that sociobiology is unworkable because it requires that human behaviors can be adaptations; however, behaviors produced by a functionalist psychology do not meet Lewontin's quasi-independence criterion and therefore cannot be adaptations. Consequently, an evolutionary psychology which regards psychological mechanisms as adaptations should replace sociobiology. I address two interpretations of their argument. I argue that the strong interpretation fails because functionalist psychology need not prevent behaviors from evolving independently, (...)
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  30. To Give and to Give Not: The Behavioral Ecology of Human Food Transfers.Michael Gurven - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):543-559.
    The transfer of food among group members is a ubiquitous feature of small-scale forager and forager-agricultural populations. The uniqueness of pervasive sharing among humans, especially among unrelated individuals, has led researchers to evaluate numerous hypotheses about the adaptive functions and patterns of sharing in different ecologies. This article attempts to organize available cross-cultural evidence pertaining to several contentious evolutionary models: kin selection, reciprocal altruism, tolerated scrounging, and costly signaling. Debates about the relevance of these models focus primarily on the extent (...)
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  31. Multifunctional, Self-Organizing Biosphere Landscapes and the Future of Our Total Human Ecosystem.Z. Naveh - 2004 - World Futures 60 (7):469 – 502.
    Solar energy powered autopoietic (self-creating and regenerative) natural and cultural biosphere landscapes fulfill vital multiple functions for the sustainable future of organic life and its biological evolution and for human physical and mental health. At the present crucial Macroshift from the industrial to the post- industrial information age, their future and therefore also that of our Total Human Ecosystem, integrating humans and their total environment, is endangered by the exponential growth and waste products of urban-industrial technosphere landscapes and agro-industrial bio-technosphere (...)
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  32. Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition.Kim Sterelny - 2003 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    (From the Press's Website) -/- Winner of the 2004 Lakatos Prize, Thought in a Hostile World is an exploration of the evolution of cognition, especially human cognition, by one of today's foremost philosophers of biology and of mind. Features an exploration of the evolution of human cognition. Written by one of today’s foremost philosophers of mind and language. Presents a set of analytic tools for thinking about cognition and its evolution. Offers a critique of nativist, modular versions of evolutionary psychology, (...)
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  33. Humans and Other Animals.John Dupré - 2002 - Clarendon Press.
    John Dupré explores the ways in which we categorize animals, including humans, and comes to refreshingly radical conclusions. He opposes the idea that there is only one legitimate way of classifying things in the natural world, the 'scientific' way. The lesson we should learn from Darwin is to reject the idea that each organism has an essence that determines its necessary place in the unique hierarchy of things. Nature is not like that: it is not organized in a single system. (...)
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  34. Placing Nature: Culture and Landscape Ecology.Allen Carlson - 2000 - Environmental Ethics 22 (2):211-214.
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  35. Is It Possible to Create an Ecologically Sustainable World Order: The Implications of Hierarchy Theory for Human Ecology.Arran Gare - 2000 - International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 7 (4):277-290.
    Human ecology, it is argued, even when embracing recent developments in the natural sciences and granting a place to culture, tends to justify excessively pessimistic conclusions about the prospects for creating a sustainable world order. This is illustrated through a study of the work and assumptions of Richard Newbold Adams and Stephen Bunker. It is argued that embracing hierarchy theory as this has been proposed and elaborated by Herbert Simon, Howard Pattee, T.F.H. Allen and others enables human ecology to conceive (...)
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  36. The Social Modes of Men.Lars Rodseth & Shannon A. Novak - 2000 - Human Nature 11 (4):335-366.
    Here we attempt to define a specifically human ecology within which male reproductive strategies are formulated. By treating the domestic and public spheres of social life as "ecological niches" that men have been forced to compete within or to avoid as best they can, we generate a typology of four "social modes" of human male behavior. We then attempt to explain the broad distribution of social modes within and between human groups based on the relative intensity of scramble and contest (...)
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  37. Complex Societies.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1999 - Human Nature 10 (3):253-289.
    The complexity of human societies of the past few thousand years rivals that of social insect societies. We hypothesize that two sets of social “instincts” underpin and constrain the evolution of complex societies. One set is ancient and shared with other social primate species, and one is derived and unique to our lineage. The latter evolved by the late Pleistocene, and led to the evolution of institutions of intermediate complexity in acephalous societies. The institutions of complex societies often conflict with (...)
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  38. An Ecological Organic Paradigm.James H. Rutherford - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (10):81-104.
    A modern version of the classical Greek organic paradigm can be based on behavioural ecology, ecology being the study of the interrelationships between an organism and its environment. The ecological organic paradigm describes four general human mental functional capacities -- appetite, social conscience, reason and an interpretive capacity -- and associates them, in the context of evolutionary and psychological development, to four general categories of experience -- primal individual needs, society, the natural world in which we live and metaphysics -- (...)
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  39. The Geography of Human Societies.Donato Bergandi - 1998 - In P. Acot (ed.), The European Origins of Scientific Ecology. Gordon & Breach. pp. 521-533.
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  40. Hegel and Marx on Nature and Ecology.Daniel Berthold-Bond - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Research 22:145-179.
    While neither Hegel nor Marx can be called “ecologists” in any strict sense of the term, they both present views of the human-nature relationship which offer important insights for contemporary debates in philosophical ecology. Further, while Marx and Engels began a tradition of sharply distinguishing their own views of nature from those of Hegel, careful examination reveals a substantial commonality of sentiment. The essay compares Hegel and Marx (and Engels) in terms of their basic conceptions of nature, their critiques of (...)
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  41. Human Ecology: Fragments of Anti-Fragmentary Views of the World.Dieter Steiner & Markus Nauser (eds.) - 1993 - Routledge.
    The book creates a framework for a cohesive discourse, for a "new human ecology".
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  42. Developmental Decomposition and the Future of Human Behavioral Ecology.Philip Kitcher - 1990 - Philosophy of Science 57 (1):96-117.
    I attempt to complement my earlier critiques of human sociobiology, by offering an account of how evolutionary ideas might legitimately be employed in the study of human social behavior. The main emphasis of the paper is the need to integrate studies of proximate mechanisms and their ontogenesis with functional/evolutionary research. Human psychological complexity makes it impossible to focus simply on specific types of human behavior and ask for their functional significance. For any of the kinds of behavior patterns that have (...)
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  43. Is Ecology an 'Alternative' Natural Science?Jacqueline Cramer & Wolfgang Daele - 1985 - Synthese 65 (3):347 - 375.
    This article discusses whether ecology represents an alternative type of natural science, that is normatively committed. Central questions are:-how man and human action are integrated into the subject matter of ecology.
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  44. Why Is Culture Adaptive? [REVIEW]Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - 1983 - The Quarterly Review of Biology 58 (2):209-214.
  45. Conceptual Approaches to Human Ecology.A. Terry Rambo - 1983 - East-West Environment and Policy Institute.
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  46. Environment, Technology and Health: Human Ecology in Historic Perspective.Bill Devall - 1981 - Environmental Ethics 3 (1):85-95.
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  47. On the Threshold of a New Science-Global Ecology.M. I. Budyko - 1974 - Russian Studies in Philosophy 13 (2):17-20.
    We find ourselves today on the threshold of the creation of a new science, said M. I. Budyko. It could be called global ecology. The content of this science is the treatment of those global problems discussed in the papers we have heard here.
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  48. The "Population Explosion" and Its Ecological Consequences.B. Ts Urlani - 1974 - Russian Studies in Philosophy 13 (2):60-62.
    I am very glad that we have assembled today and are discussing such important questions - I would say extremely important questions. It is unfortunate that we avoided these questions for a long time as though they did not concern us. But the fact is that they concern us quite directly. Since I am concerned with population problems, I would like to talk about those that are directly associated with ecology.
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  49. Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort. An Introduction to Human Ecology. George K. Zipf.Svend Riemer - 1950 - Philosophy of Science 17 (2):204-205.
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  50. Human Ecology.By J. W. Bews, M.A., D.Sc, Principal of the Natal University College, Pietermaritzburg. With an Introduction by General The Rt. Hon. J. C. Smuts, P.C., C.H., F.R.S. (Oxford: University Press. London: Humphrey Milford, 1935. Pp. Xii + 312. Price 15s. Net.). [REVIEW]O. de Selincourt - 1936 - Philosophy 11 (43):377-.
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