Cultural Evolution

Cultural Evolution

by Kate Distin
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521769019

ISBN-13: 9780521769013

Pub. Date: 05/31/2010

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

In this book, Kate Distin proposes a theory of cultural evolution and shows how it can help us to understand the origin and development of human culture. Distin introduces the concept that humans share information not only in natural languages, which are spoken or signed, but also in artefactual languages like writing and musical notation, which use media that are…  See more details below

Overview

In this book, Kate Distin proposes a theory of cultural evolution and shows how it can help us to understand the origin and development of human culture. Distin introduces the concept that humans share information not only in natural languages, which are spoken or signed, but also in artefactual languages like writing and musical notation, which use media that are made by humans. Languages enable humans to receive and transmit variations in cultural information and resources. In this way, they provide the mechanism for cultural evolution. The human capacity for metarepresentation – thinking about how we think – accelerates cultural evolution, because it frees cultural information from the conceptual limitations of each individual language. Distin shows how the concept of cultural evolution outlined in this book can help us to understand the complexity and diversity of human culture, relating her theory to a range of subjects including economics, linguistics, and developmental biology.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521769013
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
05/31/2010
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: small consequences of one general law; Part I. The Inheritance of Cultural Information: 2. What is information?; 3. How is information inherited?; Part II. The Inheritance of Cultural Information: Natural Language: 4. Natural language and culture: the biological building blocks; 5. How did natural language evolve?; 6. Language, thought, and culture; Part III. In Inheritance of Cultural Information: Artefactual Language: 7. How did artefactual language evolve?; 8. Artefactual language, representation and culture; 9. Money: an artefactual language; 10. Money: the explanatory power of artefactual languages; Part III. The Receivers of Cultural Information: 11. How does human diversity affect cultural evolution?; Part IV. The Expression of Cultural Information: 12. Aspects of the cultural ecology; 13. Patterns of cultural taxonomy; 14. Conclusion: a representational understanding of cultural evolution; Appendix: what about memetics?

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