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How Culture Makes Us Human

Left Coast Press (2012)

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  1. Human Self-Selection as a Mechanism of Human Societal Evolution: A Critique of the Cultural Selection Argument.Shanyang Zhao - 2022 - European Journal of Social Theory 25 (3):386-402.
    Natural selection is the main mechanism that drives the evolution of species, including human societies. Under natural selection, human species responds through genetic and cultural adaptations to internal and external selection pressures for survival and reproductive success. However, this theory is ineffective in explaining human societal evolution in the Holocene and a cultural selection argument has been made to remedy the theory. The present article provides a critique of the cultural selection argument and proposes an alternative conception that treats human (...)
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  • Why kinship is progeneratively constrained: Extending anthropology.Robert A. Wilson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-20.
    The conceptualisation of kinship and its study remain contested within anthropology. This paper draws on recent cognitive science, developmental cognitive psychology, and the philosophy of science to offer a novel argument for a view of kinship as progeneratively or reproductively constrained. I shall argue that kinship involves a form of extended cognition that incorporates progenerative facts, going on to show how the resulting articulation of kinship’s progenerative nature can be readily expressed by an influential conception of kinds, the homeostatic property (...)
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  • Did Human Culture Emerge in a Cultural Evolutionary Transition in Individuality?Dinah R. Davison, Claes Andersson, Richard E. Michod & Steven L. Kuhn - 2021 - Biological Theory 16 (4):213-236.
    Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality have been responsible for the major transitions in levels of selection and individuality in natural history, such as the origins of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, multicellular organisms, and eusocial insects. The integrated hierarchical organization of life thereby emerged as groups of individuals repeatedly evolved into new and more complex kinds of individuals. The Social Protocell Hypothesis proposes that the integrated hierarchical organization of human culture can also be understood as the outcome of an ETI—one that produced (...)
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  • Can There Be Cognitive Science Without Anthropology?Fadwa El Guindi & Dwight W. Read - 2014 - Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (1):144-145.
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  • Kinmaking, Progeneration, and Ethnography.Rob Wilson - 2022 - Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 91:77-85.
    Philosophers of biology and biologists themselves for the most part assume that the concept of kin is progenerative: what makes two individuals kin is a direct or indirect function of reproduction. Derivatively, kinship might likewise be presumed to be progenerative in nature. Yet a prominent view of kinship in contemporary cultural anthropology is a kind of constructivism or performativism that rejects such progenerativist views. This paper critically examines an influential line of thinking used to critique progenerativism and support performativism that (...)
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  • The Rich Detail of Cultural Symbol Systems.Dwight W. Read - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (4):434-435.
    The goal of forming a science of intentional behavior requires a more richly detailed account of symbolic systems than is assumed by the authors. Cultural systems are not simply the equivalent in the ideational domain of culture of the purported Baldwin Effect in the genetic domain. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.
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  • Examining Punishment at Different Explanatory Levels.Miguel dos Santos & Claus Wedekind - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1):23-24.
    Experimental studies on punishment have sometimes been over-interpreted not only for the reasons Guala lists, but also because of a frequent conflation of proximate and ultimate explanatory levels that Guala's review perpetuates. Moreover, for future analyses we may need a clearer classification of different kinds of punishment.
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  • The Social Structure of Cooperation and Punishment.Herbert Gintis & Ernst Fehr - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1):28-29.
    The standard theories of cooperation in humans, which depend on repeated interaction and reputation effects among self-regarding agents, are inadequate. Strong reciprocity, a predisposition to participate in costly cooperation and the punishment, fosters cooperation where self-regarding behaviors fail. The effectiveness of socially coordinated punishment depends on individual motivations to participate, which are based on strong reciprocity motives. The relative infrequency of high-cost punishment is a result of the ubiquity of strong reciprocity, not its absence.
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  • From Pan to Homo Sapiens: Evolution From Individual Based to Group Based Forms of Social Cognition.Dwight Read - 2020 - Mind and Society 19 (1):121-161.
    The evolution from pre-human primates to modern Homo sapiens is a complex one involving many domains, ranging from the material to the social to the cognitive, both at the individual and the community levels. This article focuses on a critical qualitative transition that took place during this evolution involving both the social and the cognitive domains. For the social domain, the transition is from the face-to-face forms of social interaction and organization that characterize the non-human primates that reached, with Pan, (...)
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  • Toward a Macroevolutionary Theory of Human Evolution: The Social Protocell.Claes Andersson & Petter Törnberg - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (2):86-102.
    Despite remarkable empirical and methodological advances, our theoretical understanding of the evolutionary processes that made us human remains fragmented and contentious. Here, we make the radical proposition that the cultural communities within which Homo emerged may be understood as a novel exotic form of organism. The argument begins from a deep congruence between robust features of Pan community life cycles and protocell models of the origins of life. We argue that if a cultural tradition, meeting certain requirements, arises in the (...)
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  • Human Identity and the Evolution of Societies.Mark W. Moffett - 2013 - Human Nature 24 (3):219-267.
    Human societies are examined as distinct and coherent groups. This trait is most parsimoniously considered a deeply rooted part of our ancestry rather than a recent cultural invention. Our species is the only vertebrate with society memberships of significantly more than 200. We accomplish this by using society-specific labels to identify members, in what I call an anonymous society. I propose that the human brain has evolved to permit not only the close relationships described by the social brain hypothesis, but (...)
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  • The Substance of Cultural Evolution: Culturally Framed Systems of Social Organization.Dwight W. Read - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (3):270-271.
  • Culture: The Missing Piece in Theories of Weak and Strong Reciprocity.Dwight Read & Francesco Guala - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1):35.
    Guala does not go far enough in his critique of the assumption that human decisions about sharing made in the context of experimental game conditions accurately reflect decision-making under real conditions. Sharing of hunted animals is constrained by cultural rules and is not as assumed in models of weak and strong reciprocity. Missing in these models is the cultural basis of sharing that makes it a group property rather than an individual one.
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