Biological Theory 2 (2):119-123 (2007)

Ever since The Origin of Species, but increasingly in recent years, parallels and analogies have been drawn between biological and cultural evolution, and methods, concepts, and theories that have been developed in evolutionary biology have been used to explain aspects of human cultural change (e.g., Muller 1870; Darwin [1871] 2003; Pitt-Rivers 1875; James 1880; Huxley 1955; Gerard et al. 1956; Campbell 1975; Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman 1981; Durham 1992; Henrich and McElreath 2003; Mesoudi et al. 2004, 2006; Boyd and Richerson 2005; Richerson and Boyd 2005). Many others, however, while accepting the need for some form of evolutionary approach to culture, have consistently emphasized the differences between biological and cultural evolution (e.g., Gabora 2004; Sperber and Claidiere 2006; Tëmkin and Eldredge 2007), with these differences often presented as being problematic for existing evolutionary analyses of culture. Here I argue that this is largely a false debate, given that its protagonists agree on the majority of key points. Apparent disagreement may stem partly from simple differences in emphasis, and partly from the diversity of both biological and cultural evolutionary processes.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1162/biot.2007.2.2.119
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,021
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Towards a Unified Science of Cultural Evolution.Alex Mesoudi, Andrew Whiten & Kevin N. Laland - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):329-347.
Great Men and Their Environment.William James - 1880 - Atlantic Monthly 46 (Oct.):441-449.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Cultural Evolution of Emergent Group-Level Traits.Paul E. Smaldino - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (3):243-254.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Continuum of Mindfulness.Daniel Dennett & Ryan McKay - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):353-354.
Culture Evolves Only If There is Cultural Inheritance.Robert Aunger - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):347-348.
Cultural Evolution.Matteo Mameli & Kim Sterelny - 2009 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Foresight in Cultural Evolution.Alex Mesoudi - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (2):243-255.
Intelligent Design in Cultural Evolution.Lee Cronk - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):352-353.
Cultural Evolution and the Variable Phenotype.William Harms - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):357-375.
Towards a Unified Science of Cultural Evolution.Alex Mesoudi, Andrew Whiten & Kevin N. Laland - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):329-347.


Added to PP index

Total views
31 ( #342,504 of 2,433,543 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #468,801 of 2,433,543 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes