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Andrew Buskell
Cambridge University
  1.  24
    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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  2. 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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  3.  11
    Reciprocal Causation and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.Andrew Buskell - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (4):267-279.
    Kevin Laland and colleagues have put forward a number of arguments motivating an extended evolutionary synthesis. Here I examine Laland et al.'s central concept of reciprocal causation. Reciprocal causation features in many arguments supporting an expanded evolutionary framework, yet few of these arguments are clearly delineated. Here I clarify the concept and make explicit three arguments in which it features. I identify where skeptics can—and are—pushing back against these arguments, and highlight what I see as the empirical, explanatory, and methodological (...)
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  4.  53
    How to Be Skilful: Opportunistic Robustness and Normative Sensitivity.Andrew Buskell - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1445-1466.
    In a recent article, Fridland characterises a central capacity of skill users, an aspect she calls ‘control’. Control, according to Fridland, is evidenced in the way in which skill users are able to marshal a variety of mental and bodily resources in order to keep skill deployment operating fluidly and appropriately. According to Fridland, two prevalent contemporary accounts of skill—Stanley & Krakauer’s and Hubert Dreyfus’s —fail to account for the features of control, and do so necessarily. While I agree with (...)
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  5.  42
    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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  6.  82
    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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  7.  7
    Evolution, Cultural Evolution, and Epistemic Optimism.Andrew Buskell - forthcoming - Acta Biotheoretica.
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  8.  6
    Normativity, Social Change, and the Epistemological Framing of Culture.Andrew Buskell - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
    The authors deploy an epistemic framework to represent culture and model the acquisition of cultural behavior. Yet, the framing inherits familiar problems with explaining the acquisition of norms. Such problems are conspicuous with regard to human societies where norms are ubiquitous. This creates a new difficulty for the authors in explaining change to mutually exclusive organizational structures of human life.
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  9.  13
    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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  10.  23
    Forces, Friction and Fractionation: Denis Walsh’s Organisms, Agency, and Evolution: 294 Pp, Hardcover, ISBN: 1107122104. [REVIEW]Andrew Buskell & Adrian Currie - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1341-1353.
    In Denis Walsh’s Organisms, Agency, and Evolution, he argues that new developments in the science of biology motivate a radical change to our metaphysical picture of life: what he calls ‘Situated Darwinism’. The central claim is that we should take the biological world to be at base about organisms, and organisms in a fundamentally teleological sense. We critically examine Walsh’s arguments and suggest further developments.
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  11.  65
    Domains of Generality.Andrew Buskell & Marta Halina - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
    We argue that general intelligence, as presented in the target article, generates multiple distinct and non-equivalent characterisations. Clarifying this central concept is necessary for assessing Burkart et al.’s proposal that the cultural intelligence hypothesis is the best explanation for the evolution of general intelligence. We assess this claim by considering two characterisations of general intelligence presented in the article.
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  12.  8
    What’s Left of Human Nature? A Post-Essentialist, Pluralist, and Interactive Account of a C. [REVIEW]Andrew Buskell - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (2):137-140.
    Volume 32, Issue 2, June 2019, Page 137-140.
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  13.  62
    Hubert L. Dreyfus (Ed. Mark A. Wrathall) Skillful Coping: Essays on the Phenomenology of Everyday Perception and Action. [REVIEW]Andrew Buskell - 2015 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (3-4):195-201.
  14.  4
    Synthesising Arguments and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.Andrew Buskell - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 80:101244.
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  15.  2
    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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  16.  14
    Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action, and the Embodied Brain. [REVIEW]Andrew Buskell - 2017 - BJPS Review of Books.
  17.  29
    Joseph K. Schear , Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World: The McDowell-Dreyfus Debate.: Routledge, 2013, 350 Pp., ISBN 9780415485876. [REVIEW]Andrew Buskell - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (2):423-431.