Recent years have seen a transformation in thinking about the nature of culture. Rather than viewing culture in opposition to biology, a growing number of researchers now regard culture as subject to evolutionary processes. Recent developments in this field have shifted some of the traditional academic fault lines. Alliances are forming between researchers trained in anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology and philosophy. Meanwhile, several distinct schools of thought have appeared which differ in their vision of what an evolutionary approach to culture should look like. This volume contains some of the most influential publications on these subjects from the past few decades. A theoretical background chapter and critical introduction identify the core issues at stake in the new study of cultural evolution. These chapters are followed by sections on each of the four dominant approaches: the phylogenetic approach, memetics, dual inheritance theory and niche construction. Following these are two chapters on closely related topics: the psychological mechanisms of culture and the existence of culture in non-human animals. Overall, this volume provides an up to date overview of some of the most exciting trends in contemporary evolutionary thought.
Contents: Introduction; Part I Theoretical Background: Is a cultural ethology possible?, F.T. Cloak Jr; Cultural evolution, Luigi L. Cavalli-Sforza; Advances in evolutionary culture theory, William H. Durham; Does culture evolve?, Joseph Fracchia and R.C. Lewontin. Part II The Phylogenetic Approach to Culture: The comparative method in anthropology, Ruth Mace and Mark Pagel; Putting anthropology back together again: the ethnogenetic critique of cladistic theory, John H. Moore; The pleasures and perils of Darwinizing culture (with phylogenies), Russell D. Gray, Simon J. Greenhill and Robert M. Ross. Part III Memetics: Memes and the exploitation of imagination, Daniel C. Dennett; Evolution and memes: the human brain as a selective imitation device, Susan Blackmore; The meme metaphor, Mark Jeffreys; The trouble with memes: inference versus imitation in cultural creation, Scott Atran; Memes revisited, Kim Sterelny. Part IV Dual Inheritance Theory and Niche Construction: The evolution of ethnic markers, Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson; On modeling cognition and culture: why cultural evolution does not require replication of representations, Joseph Henrich and Robert Boyd; The evolution and evolvability of culture, Kim Sterelny; Niche construction, biological evolution and cultural change, Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee and Marcus W. Feldman. Part V Psychological Mechanisms: Rational preselection from hamadryas to homo sapiens: the place of decisions in adaptive process, Christopher Boehm; The evolution of prestige: freely conferred deference as a mechanism for enhancing the benefits of cultural transmission, Joseph Henrich and Francisco J. Gil-White; The cognitive foundations of cultural stability and diversity, Dan Sperber and Lawrence A. Hirschfeld; The evolution of culture: from primate social learning to human culture, Laureano Castro and Miguel A. Toro. Part VI Culture in Non-Human Animals: Culture in animals: the case of a non-human primate culture of low aggression and high affiliation, Robert M. Sapolsky; The animal cultures debate, Kevin N.Laland and Vincent M. Janik; How do apes ape?, Andrew Whiten, Victoria Horner, Carla A. Litchfield and Sarah Marshall-Pescini; Cultural transmission: a view from chimpanzees and human infants, Michael Tomasello; Name Index.