Pierre Poirier
Université du Québec à Montréal
Luc Faucher
Université du Québec à Montreal
Jean-Nicolas Bourdon
Université du Québec à Montreal
In a recently published paper, we argued that theories of cultural evolution can gain explanatory power by being more pluralistic. In his reply to it, Dennett agreed that more pluralism is needed. Our paper’s main point was to urge cultural evolutionists to get their hands dirty by describing the fine details of cultural products and by striving to offer detailed and, when explanatory, varied algorithms or mechanisms to account for them. While Dennett’s latest work on cultural evolution does marvelously well on the first point, it has only whet our appetite on the second. Accordingly, the present paper aims to show what an evolutionary explanation of culture that takes the variety of cultural evolution mechanisms seriously would look like. We will focus on the cultural evolution of social epistemic mechanisms and we will propose that Darwinian algorithms should be complemented with a cultural analogue of the error reduction mechanism proposed to account for human cognition, with a particular emphasis on the necessity to build independencies between different sub-systems in charge of tracking states of the world. To illustrate our point, we will present how the evolution of the legal system as epistemic systems can be understood as a process of building increasingly better independencies and how various criticisms of the actual legal system calls for building even more of them.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10838-019-09472-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,319
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

The Predictive Mind.Jakob Hohwy - 2013 - Oxford University Press UK.
Knowledge in a Social World.Alvin I. Goldman - 1999 - Oxford University Press.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Evolutionary Epistemology: Two Research Avenues, Three Schools, and A Single and Shared Agenda.Nathalie Gontier & Michael Bradie - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (2):197-209.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Culture and Evolutionary Explanations.Jean Lachapelle - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Guelph (Canada)
Cultural Evolution and the Variable Phenotype.William Harms - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):357-375.
Explanations of the Evolution of Sex: A Plurality of Local Mechanisms.Carla Fehr - 2006 - In Stephen H. Kellert, Helen E. Longino & C. Kenneth Waters (eds.), Scientific Pluralism, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 167-189.
Memes Revisited.Kim Sterelny - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):145-165.
Evolutionary Theory and the Riddle of the Universe.Denny Borsboom - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):351-351.
The Evolutionary Culture Concepts.Catherine Driscoll - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):35-55.


Added to PP index

Total views
12 ( #783,773 of 2,448,693 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #178,140 of 2,448,693 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes