This is a collection of books related to the topic of memetics. The list is associated with my 2011 "Memetics" book - which is now available.
|Memetics: Memes and the Science of Cultural Evolution by (2011)|
Memetics is the name commonly given to the study of memes - a term originally coined by Richard Dawkins to describe small inherited elements of human culture. Memes are the cultural equivalent of DNA genes - and memetics is the cultural equivalent of genetics. Memes have become ubiquitous in the modern world - but there has been relatively little proper scientific study of how they arise, spread and change - apparently due to turf wars within the social sciences and misguided resistance to Darwinian explanations being applied to human behaviour. However, with the modern explosion of internet memes, I think this is bound to change. With memes penetrating into every mass media channel, and with major companies riding on their coat tails for marketing purposes, social scientists will surely not be able to keep the subject at arm's length for much longer. This will be good - because an understanding of memes is important. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Image||Title, author, date and description|
|Memetics / Cultural evolution|
|The Meme Machine by (1999)|
Blackmore is a parapsychologist who rejects the paranormal, a skeptical investigator of near-death experiences, and a practitioner of Zen. Her explanation of the science of the meme (memetics) is rigorously Darwinian. Because she is a careful thinker (though by no means dull or conventional), the reader ends up with a good idea of what memetics explains well and what it doesn't, and with many ideas about how it can be tested - the very hallmark of an excellent science book. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution by (2005)|
Not by Genes Alone offers a radical interpretation of human evolution, arguing that our ecological dominance and our singular social systems stem from a psychology uniquely adapted to create complex culture. Richerson and Boyd illustrate here that culture is neither superorganic nor the handmaiden of the genes. Rather, it is essential to human adaptation, as much a part of human biology as bipedal locomotion. Drawing on work in the fields of anthropology, political science, sociology, and economics - and building their case with such fascinating examples as kayaks, corporations, clever knots, and yams that require twelve men to carry them - Richerson and Boyd convincingly demonstrate that culture and biology are inextricably linked, and they show us how to think about their interaction in a way that yields a richer understanding of human nature. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Sense and Nonsense: Evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour by (2002)|
Sense and Nonsense gives those interested in the use of evolutionary reasoning to explain human behaviour and culture a cogent, evenhanded and lucid survey of five disparate fields utilizing that apprach. More importantly, it provides substantive critical analysis of each ... Throughout the authors deserve applause for their consistent clarity and fair-mindedness ... a valuable book for many audiences. It should be useful even to those at the cutting edge of research ... At the same time, it is not so technical that it couldn't be of value to students and educated laypersons. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Evolution: How Darwinian Theory Can Explain Human Culture and Synthesize the Social Sciences by (2011)|
Charles Darwin changed the course of scientific thinking by showing how evolution accounts for the stunning diversity and biological complexity of life on earth. Recently, there has also been increased interest in the social sciences in how Darwinian theory can explain human culture. Covering a wide range of topics, including fads, public policy, the spread of religion, and herd behavior in markets, Alex Mesoudi shows that human culture is itself an evolutionary process that exhibits the key Darwinian mechanisms of variation, competition, and inheritance. This cross-disciplinary volume focuses on the ways cultural phenomena can be studied scientifically—from theoretical modeling to lab experiments, archaeological fieldwork to ethnographic studies—and shows how apparently disparate methods can complement one another to the mutual benefit of the various social science disciplines. Cultural Evolution provides a thought-provoking argument that Darwinian evolutionary theory can both unify different branches of inquiry and enhance understanding of human behavior. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Without Miracles: Universal Selection Theory and the Second Darwinian Revolution by (1997)|
Cziko, an educational psychologist, critically examines puzzles of fit on many levels, from providential through instructionist to selectionist theories of explanation. His naturalistic and mechanistic interpretation of evolution rejects miracles, innatism, teleology, and natural theology. Especially influenced by zoologist Richard Dawkins and psychologist Donald T. Campbell, Cziko argues that the emergence of global diversity and ongoing adaptive complexity in and among organisms (e.g., the immune system and instinctive behavior), as well as throughout the human world from neurons to computers, is due to the pervasive process of cumulative variation and selection. In particular, his universal selection framework includes an ultra-Darwinian explanation for the emergence of language, acquisition of knowledge, and development of science and technology. Cziko even maintains that blind variation and hindsighted selection also apply to advances in drug design, genetic engineering, and directed molecular evolution. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science by (2001)|
The publication in 1998 of Susan Blackmore's bestselling 'The Meme Machine' re-awakened the debate over the highly controversial field of memetics. In the past few years, there has been an explosion of interest in 'memes'. The one thing noticeably missing has been any kind of proper debate over the validity of a concept regarded by many as scientifically suspect. This book pits leading intellectuals, (both supporters and opponents of meme theory), against each other to battle it out, and state their case. With a forward by Daniel Dennett, and contributions form Dan Sperber, David Hll, Robert Boyd, Susan Blackmore, Henry Plotkin, and others, the result is a thrilling and challenging debate that will perhaps mark a turning point for the field, and for future research. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Contagious Ideas: On Evolution, Culture, Archaeology and Cultural Virus Theory by (2000)|
Neo-Darwinism is becoming an increasingly important influence on archaeological theory, as a number of recent edited books on 'Darwinian archaeologies' make clear. However many of these volumes are internally inconsistent and reflect the muddled understanding many archaeologists have of the potential of Darwin's thought for interpreting material culture. Dr Cullen's book starts by critiquing some recent neo-Darwinist approaches, including cultural evolutionism and cultural sociobiology. He then presents a neo-Darwinian paradigm of extreme power, which he has termed the Cultural Virus Theory (CVT). This compares the transmission of cultural ideas vs. natural genes. In the final section he takes the important step of applying this theory to real materials; demonstrating how CVT can be used to understand the spread of megalithic monuments in prehistoric North-West Europe, the diffusion of the renaissance in medieval Europe and the basis of stylistic change in pottery. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Universal Darwinism: The path of knowledge by (2011)|
This book develops the paradigm that any complex entity must have an accurate internal model to inform it of the available resources and opportunities given its nature and environment. Such knowledge is necessary to make the entity’s complexity compatible with the second law. The model’s accuracy may only be maintained through Bayesian inference; updating the model upon the reception of new data or experience in accordance with Bayes' theorem. I argue further that Darwinian processes are a physical implementation of Bayesian inference. In quantum systems the internal model takes the form of the wave function and the process of Quantum Darwinism is seen as responsible for maintaining the predictive accuracy of the wave function. Such systems may be found throughout nature and include (system -internal model - theory explaining inference): 1. Quantum systems - wave function - quantum Darwinism 2. Biological systems - genome - natural selection 3. Brains - neural connections - Bayesian Brain & Synaptic Darwinism 4. Cultures - cultural knowledge, for example science - evolutionary epistemology The huge number of scientific theories in subject matter as diverse as quantum theory, cosmology and archeology which employ a Darwinian process to explain the creation and evolution of their subject matter motivates the meta-theory of Universal Darwinism, developed by Dawkins, Dennett, Blackmore and others. This book attempts to further develop this theory and to put it on the foundation of information theory. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Origin and Evolution of Cultures by (2005)|
Oxford presents, in one convenient and coherently organized volume, 20 influential but until now relatively inaccessible articles that form the backbone of Boyd and Richerson's path-breaking work on evolution and culture. Their interdisciplinary research is based on two notions. First, that culture is crucial for understanding human behavior; unlike other organisms, socially transmitted beliefs, attitudes, and values heavily influence our behavior. Secondly, culture is part of biology: the capacity to acquire and transmit culture is a derived component of human psychology, and the contents of culture are deeply intertwined with our biology. Culture then is a pool of information, stored in the brains of the population that gets transmitted from one brain to another by social learning processes. Therefore, culture can account for both our outstanding ecological success as well as the maladaptations that characterize much of human behavior. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Coevolution: Genes, Culture, and Human Diversity by (1992)|
In 'Coevolution,' the author proposes a powerful new theory of cultural evolution--that is, of the descent with modification of the shared conceptual systems we call 'cultures' - that is parallel in many ways to Darwin's theory of organic evolution. The author suggests that a process of cultural selection, or preservation by preference, driven chiefly by choice or imposition depending on the circumstances, has been the main but not exclusive force of cultural change. He shows that this process gives rise to five major patterns or 'modes' in which cultural change is at odds with genetic change. Each of the five modes is discussed in some detail and its existence confirmed through one or more case studies chosen for their heuristic value, the robustness of their data, and their broader implications. But 'Coevolution' predicts not simply the existence of the five modes of gene-culture relations; it also predicts their relative importance in the ongoing dynamics of cultural change in particular cases. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Mocking Memes: A Basis for Automated Intelligence by (2006)|
All scientific evidence supports the astonishing hypothesis that minds are brains and brains are biological machines. But, then, what sort of neural architecture accounts for the human ability to think? The answer logically follows from another astonishing hypothesis: There is no source of creativity anywhere in the universe other than the process of evolution. Such is the simple premise on which this book's description of all intelligence is based. Human thinking is thus reduced to a mechanistic process of neural firing patterns evolving. In this unique yet simple model of mind, memes are the currency of creative thought. All sorts of intelligence, from the creation of the universe all the way down to human thoughts, are explained as evolving patterns. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Darwin's Conjecture: The Search for General Principles of Social and Economic Evolution by (2010)|
Of paramount importance to the natural sciences, the principles of Darwinism, which involve variation, inheritance, and selection, are increasingly of interest to social scientists as well. But no one has provided a truly rigorous account of how the principles apply to the evolution of human society—until now. In Darwin’s Conjecture, Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbj°rn Knudsen reveal how the British naturalist’s core concepts apply to a wide range of phenomena, including business practices, legal systems, technology, and even science itself. They also critique some prominent objections to applying Darwin to social science, arguing that ultimately Darwinism functions as a general theoretical framework for stimulating further inquiry. Social scientists who adopt a Darwinian approach, they contend, can then use it to frame and help develop new explanatory theories and predictive models. This truly pathbreaking work at long last makes the powerful conceptual tools of Darwin available to the social sciences and will be welcomed by scholars and students from a range of disciplines. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Culture and the Evolutionary Process by (1985)|
How do biological, psychological, sociological, and cultural factors combine to change societies over the long run? Boyd and Richerson explore how genetic and cultural factors interact, under the influence of evolutionary forces, to produce the diversity we see in human cultures. Using methods developed by population biologists, they propose a theory of cultural evolution that is an original and fair-minded alternative to the sociobiology debate. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology by (2003)|
In this book J. M. Balkin offers a strikingly original theory of cultural evolution, a theory that explains shared understandings, disagreement, and diversity within cultures. Drawing on many fields of study - including anthropology, evolutionary theory, cognitive science, linguistics, sociology, political theory, philosophy, social psychology, and law - the author explores how cultures grow and spread, how shared understandings arise, and how people of different cultures can understand and evaluate each other's views. Cultural evolution occurs through the transmission of cultural information and know-how-'cultural software'-in human minds, Balkin says. Individuals embody cultural software and spread it to others through communication and social learning. Ideology, the author contends, is neither a special nor a pathological form of thought but an ordinary product of the evolution of cultural software. Because cultural understanding is a patchwork of older imperfect tools that are continually adapted to solve new problems, human understanding is partly adequate and party inadequate to the pursuit of justice. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution by (1989)|
The seemingly innocent observation that the activities of organisms bring about changes in environments is so obvious that it seems an unlikely focus for a new line of thinking about evolution. Yet niche construction - as this process of organism-driven environmental modification is known - has hidden complexities. By transforming biotic and abiotic sources of natural selection in external environments, niche construction generates feedback in evolution on a scale hitherto underestimated - and in a manner that transforms the evolutionary dynamic. It also plays a critical role in ecology, supporting ecosystem engineering and influencing the flow of energy and nutrients through ecosystems. Despite this, niche construction has been given short shrift in theoretical biology, in part because it cannot be fully understood within the framework of standard evolutionary theory. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Laughing Genes - A Scientific Perspective on Ethics and Morality by (2005)|
Metaphorically, our genes might chuckle at how we humans unwittingly define our morality to serve their interests, even above our own. By our dearly sacrificing for our children, we clearly show that our moral intuitions serve the interests of our genes. While we each seem to willfully pursue different methods for getting the things we want, the fundamental things we want - fit sexual partners, and well-being for ourselves and our children - are not defined by our wills, but rather, by our genes. From a unique, irreverent, yet fully scientific perspective, this book clearly explains the philosophical mysteries of life, God, intellectual creativity, feelings of consciousness, the meaning of responsibility in a world full of deterministic minds, and especially, morality. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Darwinian Sociocultural Evolution: Solutions to Dilemmas in Cultural and Social Theory by (2010)|
Social scientists can learn a lot from evolutionary biology - from systematics and principles of evolutionary ecology to theories of social interaction including competition, conflict and cooperation, as well as niche construction, complexity, eco-evo-devo, and the role of the individual in evolutionary processes. Darwinian sociocultural evolutionary theory applies the logic of Darwinism to social-learning based cultural and social change. With a multidisciplinary approach for graduate biologists, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, social psychologists, archaeologists, linguists, economists, political scientists and science and technology specialists, the author presents this model of evolution drawing on a number of sophisticated aspects of biological evolutionary theory. The approach brings together a broad and inclusive theoretical framework for understanding the social sciences which addresses many of the dilemmas at their forefront - the relationship between history and necessity, conflict and cooperation, the ideal and the material and the problems of agency, subjectivity and the nature of social structure. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|On the Origin of Tepees: The Evolution of Ideas (and Ourselves) by (2011)|
Why do some ideas spread, while others die off? Does human culture have its very own “survival of the fittest”? And if so, does that explain why our species is so different from the rest of life on Earth? Throughout history, we humans have prided ourselves on our capacity to have ideas, but perhaps this pride is misplaced. Perhaps ideas have us. After all, ideas do appear to have a life of their own. And it is they, not us, that benefit most when they are spread. Many biologists have already come to the opinion that our genes are selfish entities, tricking us into helping them to reproduce. Is it the same with our ideas? Jonnie Hughes, a science writer and documentary filmmaker, investigates the evolution of ideas in order to find out. Adopting the role of a cultural Charles Darwin, Hughes heads off, with his brother in tow, across the Midwest to observe firsthand the natural history of ideas—the patterns of their variation, inheritance, and selection in the cultural landscape. In place of Darwin’s oceanic islands, Hughes visits the “mind islands” of Native American tribes. Instead of finches, Hughes searches for signs of natural selection among the tepees. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind by (2012)|
A unique trait of the human species is that our personalities, lifestyles, and worldviews are shaped by an accident of birth—namely, the culture into which we are born. It is our cultures and not our genes that determine which foods we eat, which languages we speak, which people we love and marry, and which people we kill in war. But how did our species develop a mind that is hardwired for culture—and why? Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel tracks this intriguing question through the last 80,000 years of human evolution, revealing how an innate propensity to contribute and conform to the culture of our birth not only enabled human survival and progress in the past but also continues to influence our behavior today. Shedding light on our species’ defining attributes — from art, morality, and altruism to self-interest, deception, and prejudice — Wired for Culture offers surprising new insights into what it means to be human. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Darwin Machines and the Nature of Knowledge by (1997)|
Plotkin is a psychologist and his book places most emphasis on learning or the acquisition of knowledge and the cultural transmission of that knowledge. It is an extended essay on 'evolutionary epistemology', a phrase coined by D. T. Campbell and rightly seen by Plotkin as a barrier to understanding. Indeed, one of this book's great virtues is that Plotkin writes incomparably more clearly than most others who have ventured into these fields. His exposition, even of complex issues, is beautifully lucid, his arguments well thought through and his illustrations apt. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Imagined World Made Real by (2003)|
Can the insights of science provide a proper understanding of human culture, or must we leave the analysis of culture to the so-called humanities? The ability to share knowledge and beliefs is the preeminent characteristic of our species. Science itself is a product of culture and the natural sciences are the most powerful forms of knowledge we have. From explanations of the origins of the universe to descriptions of the molecular structure of life, science has a spectacular record of achievement. Yet it has mostly failed to provide an understanding of human culture. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Evolutionary Worlds without End by (2010)|
In Evolutionary Worlds Without End, Henry Plotkin considers whether there is any general theory in biology, including the social sciences, that is in any way equivalent to the general theories of physics. It starts by examining Ernest Rutherford's famous dictum as to what science is. In the later chapters he considers the possibility, within an historical framework, of a general theory being based upon selection processes. Throughout, the author constructs a compelling argument for the idea that there are within biology, and that includes the social sciences, something like the general theories that make physics such powerful science. The book will be valuable for all those in the biological and social sciences, in particular, biologists, psychologists, as well as philosophers of science. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Culture Evolves by (2012)|
Culture - broadly defined as all we learn from others that endures for long enough to generate customs and traditions - shapes vast swathes of our lives and has allowed the human species to dominate the planet in an evolutionarily unique way. Culture and cultural evolution are uniquely significant phenomena in evolutionary biology: they are products of biological evolution, yet they supplement genetic transmission with social transmission, thus achieving a certain independence from natural selection. However, cultural evolution nevertheless expresses key Darwinian processes itself and also interacts with genetic evolution. Just how culture fits into the grander framework of evolution is a big issue though, yet one that has received relatively little scientific attention compared to, for example, genetic evolution. Our 'capacity for culture' appears so distinctive among animals that it is often thought to separate we cultural beings from the rest of nature and the Darwinian forces that shape it. 'Culture Evolves' presents a different view arising from the recent discoveries of a diverse range of disciplines, that focus on evolutionary continuities. First, recent studies reveal that learning from others and the transmission of traditions are more widespread and significant across the animal kingdom than earlier recognized, helping us understand the evolutionary roots of culture. Second, archaeological discoveries have pushed back the origins of human culture to much more ancient times than traditionally thought. These developments together suggest important continuities between animal and human culture. A third new array of discoveries concerns the later diversification of human cultures, where the operations of Darwinian-like, cultural evolutionary processes are increasingly identified. Finally, surprising discoveries have been made about the imprint of cultural evolution in children's predisposition to acquire culture. The result of a major interdisciplinary meeting held by he Royal Society and the British Academy, this book presents the work of leading experts from the fields of ethology, behavioural ecology, primatology, comparative psychology, archaeology, anthropology, evolutionary biology and developmental psychology. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Transmission and Evolution by (1981)|
To understand human evolution, we require, among other things, a theory describing the dynamics of culturally acquired phenotypes. In this book, Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman present a series of theoretical models that represent an important beginning toward such a theory. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed by (2007)|
Over the last several decades, mathematical models have become central to the study of social evolution, both in biology and the social sciences. But students in these disciplines often seriously lack the tools to understand them. A primer on behavioral modeling that includes both mathematics and evolutionary theory, Mathematical Models of Social Evolution aims to make the student and professional researcher in biology and the social sciences fully conversant in the language of the field. Teaching biological concepts from which models can be developed, Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd introduce readers to many of the typical mathematical tools that are used to analyze evolutionary models and end each chapter with a set of problems that draw upon these techniques. Mathematical Models of Social Evolution equips behaviorists and evolutionary biologists with the mathematical knowledge to truly understand the models on which their research depends. Ultimately, McElreath and Boyd’s goal is to impart the fundamental concepts that underlie modern biological understandings of the evolution of behavior so that readers will be able to more fully appreciate journal articles and scientific literature, and start building models of their own. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Origin of Cultures by (2011)|
The book investigates how information is acquired, processed and transmitted by the human mind and, based on this knowledge, formulates an original theory of cultural evolution to understand phenomena such as altruism, morality, ideology, and religion. Highly original and covering a wide range of subjects in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, it addresses the obstacle faced by memetic theorists in their analysis of culture: that nobody really knows what goes on inside the mind or how mental experiences may direct cultural evolution. Part 1 of the book, How to Build a Conscious Robot with Feelings, breaks down information processing in the mind into purely mechanical components for analysis and implementation. Part 2, Cultural Evolution, uses the results to build a theory of cultural evolution to understand cultural phenomena. Book home page. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Selfish Meme: A Critical Reassessment by (2004)|
Culture is a unique and fascinating aspect of the human species. How did it emerge and how does it develop? Richard Dawkins has suggested that culture evolves and that memes are the cultural replicators, subject to variation and selection in the same way as genes function in the biological world. In this sense human culture is the product of a mindless evolutionary algorithm. Does this imply that we are mere meme machines and that the conscious self is an illusion? Kate Distin extends and strengthens Dawkins's theory and presents a fully developed and workable concept of cultural DNA. She argues that culture's development can be seen both as the result of memetic evolution and as the product of human creativity. Memetic evolution is therefore compatible with the view of humans as conscious and intelligent. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Evolution by (2010)|
This book 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. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Genes, Mind, And Culture: The Coevolutionary Process by (1981)|
Long considered one of the most provocative and demanding major works on human sociobiology, Genes, Mind, and Culture introduces the concept of gene-culture coevolution. It has been out of print for several years, and in this volume Lumsden and Wilson provide a much needed facsimile edition of their original work, together with a major review of progress in the discipline during the ensuing quarter century. They argue compellingly that human nature is neither arbitrary nor predetermined, and identify mechanisms that energize the upward translation from genes to culture. The authors also assess the properties of genetic evolution of mind within emergent cultural patterns. Lumsden and Wilson explore the rich and sophisticated data of developmental psychology and cognitive science in a fashion that, for the first time, aligns these disciplines with human sociobiology. The authors also draw on population genetics, cultural anthropology, and mathematical physics to set human sociobiology on a predictive base, and so trace the main steps that lead from the genes through human consciousness to culture. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Electric Meme: A New Theory of How We Think by (2002)|
Here, Cambridge anthropologist Aunger (Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science) theorizes on the nature of this so-called 'thought gene.' In doing so, Aunger coins a term of his own, 'neuromemetics,' proposing that memes are in fact self-replicating electrical charges in the nodes of our brains. The author explains that the shift in perspective from Dawkins's purely social memetics to a memetics working at the intercellular level is akin to sociobiology's view of social behavior as a genetic trait subject to evolution. This is an ambitious book on a par with Susan Blackmore's The Meme Machine. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Robot's Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin by (2005)|
According to Stanovich, we're only just beginning to grapple with the deep consequences of Darwin's theory of natural selection. One such consequence, Richard Dawkins's theory of the 'selfish gene,' implies that living creatures are mere vehicles constructed to facilitate the survival and replication of genes. While Stanovich (How to Think Straight About Psychology), a cognitive scientist at the University of Toronto, agrees with the basic idea of the selfish gene, he finds fault with the conclusion that we are simply at its mercy. Drawing on recent research in cognitive science, he argues for an alternate conception of our relationship with our genes: we may be robots originally constructed as vehicles for genes, but our higher-level analytic reasoning abilities (themselves a product of evolution) enable us to rebel against our genetically programmed 'autonomous set of systems,' as well as the analogous cultural memes that infect our rational minds. Though framed as a revolutionary manifesto about how we can retain our autonomy and humanity if we are merely vehicles (robots) for genes and memes, this book is fundamentally a work of scholarship, bridging cognitive science and evolutionary psychology. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution by (2009)|
This volume offers an integrative approach to the application of evolutionary theory in studies of cultural transmission and social evolution and reveals the enormous range of ways in which Darwinian ideas can lead to productive empirical research, the touchstone of any worthwhile theoretical perspective. While many recent works on cultural evolution adopt a specific theoretical framework, such as dual inheritance theory or human behavioral ecology, Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution emphasizes empirical analysis and includes authors who employ a range of backgrounds and methods to address aspects of culture from an evolutionary perspective. Editor Stephen Shennan has assembled archaeologists, evolutionary theorists, and ethnographers, whose essays cover a broad range of time periods, localities, cultural groups, and artifacts. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Theory of Cultural and Social Selection by (2009)|
In The Theory of Cultural and Social Selection, W. G. Runciman presents an original and wide-ranging account of the fundamental process by which human cultures and societies come to be of the different kinds that they are. Drawing on and extending recent advances in neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, Runciman argues that collective human behaviour should be analyzed as the acting-out of information transmitted at the three separate but interacting levels of heritable variation and competitive selection - the biological, the cultural, and the social. The implications which this carries for a reformulation of the traditional agenda of comparative and historical sociology are explored with the help of selected examples, and located within the context of current debates about sociological theory and practice. The Theory of Cultural and Social Selection is a succinct and highly imaginative contribution to one of the great intellectual debates of our times, from one of the world's leading social theorists. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme by (1995)|
If you've ever wondered how and why people become robotically enslaved by advertising, religion, sexual fantasy, and cults, wonder no more. It's all because of 'mind viruses,' or 'memes,' and those who understand how to plant them into other's minds. This is the first truly accessible book about memes and how they make the world go 'round. Of course, like all good memes, the ideas in Brodie's book are double-edged swords. They can vaccinate against the effects of cognitive viruses, but could also be used by those seeking power to gain it even more effectively. If you don't want to be left behind in the coevolutionary arms race between infection and protection, read about memes. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Evolution and Culture: A Fyssen Foundation Symposium by (2005)|
Biological and cultural processes have evolved together, in a symbiotic spiral; they are now indissolubly linked, with human survival unlikely without such culturally produced aids as clothing, cooked food, and tools. The twelve original essays collected in this volume take an evolutionary perspective on human culture, examining the emergence of culture in evolution and the underlying role of brain and cognition. The essay authors, all internationally prominent researchers in their fields, draw on the cognitive sciences -- including linguistics, developmental psychology, and cognition -- to develop conceptual and methodological tools for understanding the interaction of culture and genome. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Complete Idiot's Guide to Memes by (2010)|
Memes are 'viruses of the mind' - symbols, ideas, or practices that are transmitted through speech, gestures, and rituals. Understanding how symbols like the peace sign or ad slogans like 'Where's the beef?' or viral videos become part of our common culture has become a primary focus of sales and marketing companies across the globe. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Memes explains how memes work, how they spread, and what memes tell us about how we make sense of our world. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life by (2006)|
Ideas about heredity and evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. New findings in molecular biology challenge the gene-centered version of Darwinian theory according to which adaptation occurs only through natural selection of chance DNA variations. In Evolution in Four Dimensions, Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb argue that there is more to heredity than genes. They trace four 'dimensions' in evolution - four inheritance systems that play a role in evolution: genetic, epigenetic (or non-DNA cellular transmission of traits), behavioral, and symbolic (transmission through language and other forms of symbolic communication). These systems, they argue, can all provide variations on which natural selection can act. Evolution in Four Dimensions offers a richer, more complex view of evolution than the gene-based, one-dimensional view held by many today. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Explaining Culture Scientifically by (2008)|
What exactly is culture? The authors of this volume suggest that the study of one of anthropology's central questions may be a route to developing a scientific paradigm for the field. The contributors - prominent scholars in anthropology, biology, and economics - approach culture from very different theoretical and methodological perspectives, through studies grounded in fieldwork, surveys, demography, and other empirical data. From humans to chimpanzees, from Taiwan to New Guinea, from cannibalism to marriage patterns, this volume directly addresses the challenges of explaining culture scientifically. The evolutionary paradigm lends itself particularly well to the question of culture; in these essays, different modes of inheritance - genetic, cultural, ecological, and structural - illustrate evolutionary patterns in a variety of settings. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Selection by (1999)|
This book provides an interdisciplinary theory that challenges traditional sociology by its superior ability to explain the irrational or unplanned aspects of culture, and it reveals that our society is not as rational as we would like to believe. The reader receives a comprehensive overview of cultural selection theory, including the history of the theory and the many different schools of thought, as well as an explanation of the nuts and bolts of cultural selection and the different selection mechanisms. Furthermore, the author introduces the new paradigm-breaking cultural r/k theory - a theory which reveals causal connections between religion, politics, ethics, art, and sexual behavior; and which can explain such diverse phenomena as the fall of Rome, the advent of rock music in the late Soviet Union, and the anti-pornography movement in contemporary USA. The attraction of this theory lies in its impressive explanatory power and its usefulness for making predictions. Unlike some elaborate mathematical treatises, this book maintains a down-to-earth theory with the main focus on the explanation of real world phenomena, including religion, politics, music, art, architecture, clothing fashion, sexual behavior, sport, and play. It thereby provides a solid foundation on which to base further research in many areas of human culture, including anthropology, archaeology, political and religious history, art, social psychology, sexology, peace research and futurology. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Beyond Nature and Nurture: Conceiving a Better Way to Understand Genes and Memes by (2006)|
Why are some individuals relatively more successful than others in achievement? And why are some countries (or regions), for that matter, relatively more successful than others in development? Contrary to the conventional wisdom held by many, Dr. Baofu argues that the nature-nurture debate is misleading and faulty, since his 'transcendent approach' is to show how and why the two are closely intertwined in producing the behavioral differences as often seen in individual human endeavors on the micro scale, and for that matter, in country (or regional) endeavors on the macro one - without, however, committing 'the compromise fallacy' as often seen in an in-between alternative. The debate also obscures something more tremendous in the long run, in relation to the emergence of what Dr. Baofu originally proposed as the 'post-human' world that humans have never known, when human genes will no longer exist. Human genes have their days numbered. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach by (1996)|
Ideas, Dan Sperber argues, may be contagious. They may invade whole populations. In the process, the people, their environment, and the ideas themselves are being transformed. To explain culture is to describe the causes and the effects of this contagion of ideas. This book will be read by all those with an interest in the impact of the cognitive revolution on our understanding of culture. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Things We Do: Using the Lessons of Bernard and Darwin to Understand the What, How, and Why of Our Behavior by (2000)|
The remarkable achievements that modern science has made in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, and engineering contrast sharply with our limited knowledge of the human mind and behavior. A major reason for this slow progress, claims Gary Cziko, is that with few exceptions, behavioral and cognitive scientists continue to apply a Newtonian-inspired view of animate behavior as an organism's output determined by environmental input. This one-way cause-effect approach ignores the important findings of two major nineteenth-century biologists, French physiologist Claude Bernard and English naturalist Charles Darwin. Approaching living organisms as purposeful systems that behave in order to control their perceptions of the external environment provides a new perspective for understanding what, why, and how living things, including humans, do what they do. Cziko examines in particular perceptual control theory, which has its roots in Bernard's work on the self-regulating nature of living organisms and in the work of engineers who developed the field of cybernetics during and after World War II. He also shows how our evolutionary past together with Darwinian processes currently occurring within our bodies, such as the evolution of new brain connections, provide insights into the immediate and ultimate causes of behavior.Writing in an accessible style, Cziko shows how the lessons of Bernard and Darwin, updated with the best of current scientific knowledge, can provide solutions to certain long-standing theoretical and practical problems in behavioral science and enable us to develop new methods and topics for research. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Selection: Why Some Acheivements Survive The Test Of Time And Others Don't by (1996)|
Acclaimed literary scholar Gary Taylor creates a new paradigm for understanding cultural history. He argues that culture is not what was done, but what is remembered and that the social competition among different memories is as dynamic as the biological struggle for survival. Taylor builds his argument on a broad base of cultural achievements, from Michelangelo to Frankenstein, from Shakespeare to Casablanca, from Freud to Invisible Man. He spans the continents to draw upon Japanese literature, Native American history, ancient Greek philosophy, and modern American architecture. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition by (2001)|
Homo sapiens has existed as a separate species for only a very short period of time on the evolutionary scale (six million years at most), and we share 99 percent of our DNA with our closest primate relatives. How then can humans be as different from other primates as we obviously are? Developmental psychologist Tomasello thinks that all of the many unique characteristics of humans are elaborations of one trait that arises in human infants at about nine months of age: the ability to understand other people as intentional agents. (He dismisses a bit too cavalierly the anecdotal evidence of recent animal behaviorists who would describe a good deal of animal behavior as intentional in this sense.) Language, elaborate cultures, and other hallmarks of humanity are all natural outgrowths of this single trait. The author is clearly highly credentialed, his thesis is certainly plausible, and the language is not jargony. However, his topic is really very limited; the bulk of the book focuses on the narrow issue of 'shared attention.' Only graduate students and developmental psychologists will want to know this much about the subject. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Promethean Fire: Reflections on the Origin of Mind by (1983)|
In Promethean Fire Charles J. Lumsden and Edward O. Wilson take us down the twisting corridors through which our species traveled in the two-million-year odyssey from Homo Habilis to modern man. They ask why, out of the millions of species that have emerged and gone extinct, human beings alone took the last, abrupt journey to high intelligence and advanced culture. Lumsden and Wilson attribute the sudden emergence of the human mind to the activation of a mechanism both obedient to physical law and unique to man. This "Promethean fire" is gene-culture coevolution, a mutually acting change in the genes and culture that carried man beyond the pervious limits of biologyyet restrains his nature on an elastic, unbreakable leash. The authors' argument builds impressively from across the entire range of biological and social sciences, but their presentation is essentially lyrical. They share with the reader their reconstructionboth stunning line drawings and colorful vignettesof how the primitive mind may have functioned in exercising cultural choice with genetic bias. Step by step, they guide us through the diverse categories of evidence, including recent studies of incest avoidance, color vocabulary, infant gaze patterns, taste discriminations, and phobias, which led them toward the theory of cultural transmission based on the importance of genetic filters in individual mental development. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Culture, Nature, Memes by (2008)|
This collection of essays on cognition, which involves continental as much as analytical approaches, attempts to observe cognitive processes in three areas: in culture, in nature, and in an area that can at least from some point of view be perceived as an in-betweenť of culture and nature: memes. All authors introduce a certain dynamic input in cognitive theory, as they negotiate between the empirical and the conceptual, or between epistemology and the study of culture. In all chapters, culture, nature, and memes turn out to be dynamic in the sense of being non-essentialist, their significations and modulating functions always being multi-dimensional. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Mimesis and Science: Empirical Research on Imitation and the Mimetic Theory of Culture and Religion (Studies in Violence, Mimesis and Culture) by (2011)|
This exciting compendium brings together, for the first time, some of the foremost scholars of René Girard’s mimetic theory, with leading imitation researchers from the cognitive, developmental, and neuro sciences. These chapters explore some of the major discoveries and developments concerning the foundational, yet previously overlooked, role of imitation in human life, revealing the unique theoretical links that can now be made from the neural basis of social interaction to the structure and evolution of human culture and religion. Together, mimetic scholars and imitation researchers are on the cutting edge of some of the most important breakthroughs in understanding the distinctive human capacity for both incredible acts of empathy and compassion as well as mass antipathy and violence. As a result, this interdisciplinary volume promises to help shed light on some of the most pressing and complex questions of our contemporary world. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution by (2010)|
A breakthrough theory that tools and technology are the real drivers of human evolution. Although humans are one of the great apes, along with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, we are remarkably different from them. Unlike our cousins who subsist on raw food, spend their days and nights outdoors, and wear a thick coat of hair, humans are entirely dependent on artificial things, such as clothing, shelter, and the use of tools, and would die in nature without them. Yet, despite our status as the weakest ape, we are the masters of this planet. Given these inherent deficits, how did humans come out on top? In this fascinating new account of our origins, leading archaeologist Timothy Taylor proposes a new way of thinking about human evolution through our relationship with objects. Drawing on the latest fossil evidence, Taylor argues that at each step of our species’ development, humans made choices that caused us to assume greater control of our evolution. Our appropriation of objects allowed us to walk upright, lose our body hair, and grow significantly larger brains. As we push the frontiers of scientific technology, creating prosthetics, intelligent implants, and artificially modified genes, we continue a process that started in the prehistoric past, when we first began to extend our powers through objects. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Evolved Apprentice: How Evolution Made Humans Unique by (2012)|
Over the last three million years or so, our lineage has diverged sharply from those of our great ape relatives. Change has been rapid (in evolutionary terms) and pervasive. Morphology, life history, social life, sexual behavior, and foraging patterns have all shifted sharply away from other great apes. No other great ape lineage--including those of chimpanzees and gorillas--seems to have undergone such a profound transformation. In The Evolved Apprentice, Kim Sterelny argues that the divergence stems from the fact that humans gradually came to enrich the learning environment of the next generation. Humans came to cooperate in sharing information, and to cooperate ecologically and reproductively as well, and these changes initiated positive feedback loops that drove us further from other great apes. Sterelny develops a new theory of the evolution of human cognition and human social life that emphasizes the gradual evolution of information sharing practices across generations and how information sharing transformed human minds and social lives. Sterelny proposes that humans developed a new form of ecological interaction with their environment, cooperative foraging, which led to positive feedback linking ecological cooperation, cultural learning, and environmental change. The ability to cope with the immense variety of human ancestral environments and social forms, he argues, depended not just on adapted minds but also on adapted developmental environments.
|Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language by (2004)|
Arguing that gossiping is vital to a society, and that there is no such thing as 'idle' gossip, this book disputes the assumption that language developed in male-male relationships. The author believes that, on the contrary, language evolved among women, and contends that, although men are just as likely to natter as women, women gossip more about other people, thus strengthening the female-female relationships that underpin society. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Evolution of Culture: A Historical and Scientific Overview by (1999)|
This book explores the ways in which contemporary evolutionary thinking might inform the study of the peculiarly human phenomenon of symbolic culture, including language, ritual, religion, religion and art. It draws together contributions from biologists, linguists, anthropologists and archaeologists in order to establish common ground where collaboration and interaction will be especially productive and challenging in the study of those fundamental aspects of our biology that makes us human. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Evolution: Contemporary Viewpoints by (2000)|
Drawing on Kent Flannery's forty years of cross-cultural research in the area, the contributors to this collection reflect the current diversity of contemporary approaches to the study of cultural evolutionary processes. Collectively the volume expresses the richness of the issues being investigated by comparative theorists interested in long-term change, as well as the wide variety of data, approaches, and ideas that researchers are employing to examine these questions. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Evolution of Cultural Diversity: A Phylogenetic Approach by (2005)|
Virtually all aspects of human behavior show enormous variation both within and between cultural groups, including material culture, social organization and language. Thousands of distinct cultural groups exist: about 6,000 languages are spoken today, and it is thought that a far greater number of languages existed in the past but became extinct. Using a Darwinian approach, this book seeks to explain this rich cultural variation. There are a number of theoretical reasons to believe that cultural diversification might be tree-like, that is phylogenetic: material and non-material culture is clearly inherited by descendants, there is descent with modification, and languages appear to be hierarchically related. There are also a number of theoretical reasons to believe that cultural evolution is not tree-like: cultural inheritance is not Mendelian and can indeed be vertical, horizontal or oblique, evidence of borrowing abounds, cultures are not necessarily biological populations and can be transient and complex. Here, for the first time, this title tackles these questions of cultural evolution empirically and quantitatively, using a range of case studies from Africa, the Pacific, Europe, Asia and America. A range of powerful theoretical tools developed in evolutionary biology is used to test detailed hypotheses about historical patterns and adaptive functions in cultural evolution. Evidence is amassed from archaeological, linguist and cultural datasets, from both recent and historical or pre-historical time periods. A unifying theme is that the phylogenetic approach is a useful and powerful framework, both for describing the evolutionary history of these traits, and also for testing adaptive hypotheses about their evolution and co-evolution. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Supergenes: What Really Makes Us Human by (2008)|
Why do we behave so differently in different situations? Why did you choose the clothes you are wearing, the books you read and the friends and opinions you have? What is it about humans that has let us achieve so much, so quickly? This book tries to understand why the evolution of our human species is happening at a rate so much faster than may be explained by Darwinian biological evolution alone. The engine of our extraordinary social evolution is human behaviour. We have a deep-seated need to pass on to others some part of our own achievements, what we have made of our lives. Our survival and success now depends principally on our adaption to our social environment and not to our physical environment. It is these supercharged social genes that are the essence of our remarkable and accelerating rate of evolution today. This book looks critically at our present understanding of human behaviour and evolution to seek a consilience across a wide range of fields of research. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Life of Symbols by (1990)|
The treatment of cultural symbolism within anthropology has hitherto focused almost exclusively on the internal structure of symbolic systems rather than on their temporal dynamism. The contributors to this volume build toward a unified theory of cultural evolution, using innovative methodologies and interpretive strategies drawn from a variety of disciplines to trace the persistence and transformation of particular forms of verbal and non-verbal symbolization over time and space. These comparative analyses demonstrate the evolutionary importance of the abstract pattern continuity that underlies surface transformations in particular symbol systems. The contributors treat symbolic meaning not as simple reference but as a complex product of the human capacity to classify and communicate experience. This approach has produced a dynamic tool for better understanding the past and interpreting the present. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Cultural Animal: Human Nature, Meaning, and Social Life by (2005)|
What makes us human? Why do people think, feel and act as they do? What is the essence of human nature? What is the basic relationship between the individual and society? These questions have fascinated both great thinkers and ordinary humans for centuries. Now, at last, there is a solid basis for answering them, in the form of accumulated efforts and studies by thousands of psychology researchers. We no longer have to rely on navel-gazing and speculation to understand why people are the way they are - we can instead turn to solid, objective findings. This book, by an eminent social psychologist at the peak of his career, not only summarizes what we know about people - it also offers a coherent, easy-to-understand, though radical, explanation. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, the author argues that culture shaped human evolution. Contrary to theories that depict the individual's relation to society as one of victimization, endless malleability, or just a square peg in a round hole, he proposes that the individual human being is designed by nature to be part of society. Moreover, he argues that we need to briefly set aside the endless study of cultural differences to look at what most cultures have in common - because that holds the key to human nature. Culture is in our genes, although cultural differences may not be. This core theme is further developed by a powerful tour through the main dimension of human psychology. What do people want? How do people think? How do emotions operate? How do people behave? And how do they interact with each other? View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization by (2010)|
Evolution has outgrown its original home in biology and geology. The Evolutionary World shows how evolution - descent with modification - is a concept that organizes, explains, and predicts a multitude of unconnected facts and phenomena. Adaptation plays a role not only in the development of new species but the development of human civilization. By understanding how evolutionary theory has played out in areas such as our economic system, our preparation for catastrophes, and even the development of communities, we can learn not just how these systems work but also what challenges lie ahead. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Evolutionary Thought in Psychology: A Brief History by (2004)|
Evolutionary Thought in Psychology: A Brief History traces the history of evolutionary thought in psychology in an accessible and lively fashion and examines the complex and changing relations between psychology and evolutionary theory. It was the: First book to trace the history of evolutionary thinking in psychology from its beginnings to the present day in an accessible and lively fashion. It focuses on the rise of evolutionary theories begun by Lamarck and Darwin and the creation of the science of psychology. It explains evolutionary thought’s banishment by behaviorism and cultural anthropology in the early 20th century, along with its eventual re-emergence through ethology and sociobiology. It wxamines the complex and changing relations between psychology and evolutionary theory. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection by (2009)|
In 1859 Darwin described a deceptively simple mechanism that he called "natural selection," a combination of variation, inheritance, and reproductive success. He argued that this mechanism was the key to explaining the most puzzling features of the natural world, and science and philosophy were changed forever as a result. The exact nature of the Darwinian process has been controversial ever since, however. Godfrey-Smith draws on new developments in biology, philosophy of science, and other fields to give a new analysis and extension of Darwin's idea. The central concept used is that of a "Darwinian population," a collection of things with the capacity to undergo change by natural selection. From this starting point, new analyses of the role of genes in evolution, the application of Darwinian ideas to cultural change, and "evolutionary transitions" that produce complex organisms and societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory.
|Genes, Culture, and Human Evolution: A Synthesis by (2006)|
Genes, Culture, and Human Evolution: A Synthesisis - a textbook on human evolution that offers students a unique combination of cultural anthropology and genetics. Written by two geneticists-including a world-renowned scientist and founder of the Human Genome Diversity Project-and a socio-cultural anthropologist. Based on recent findings in genetics and anthropology that indicate the analysis of human culture and evolution demands an integration of these fields of study. Focuses on evolution-or, rather, co-evolution - viewed from the standpoint of genes and culture, and their inescapable interactions. Unifies cultural and genetic concepts rather than rehashing nonempirical sociobiological musings. Demonstrates that empirical genetic evidence, based on modern DNA analysis and population studies, provides an excellent foundation for understanding human cultural diversity. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Evolution, Culture, and the Human Mind by (2009)|
An enormous amount of scientific research compels two fundamental conclusions about the human mind: The mind is the product of evolution; and the mind is shaped by culture. These two perspectives on the human mind are not incompatible, but, until recently, their compatibility has resisted rigorous scholarly inquiry. Evolutionary psychology documents many ways in which genetic adaptations govern the operations of the human mind. But evolutionary inquiries only occasionally grapple seriously with questions about human culture and cross-cultural differences. By contrast, cultural psychology documents many ways in which thought and behavior are shaped by different cultural experiences. But cultural inquires rarely consider evolutionary processes. Even after decades of intensive research, these two perspectives on human psychology have remained largely divorced from each other. But that is now changing - and that is what this book is about. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Genetic and Cultural Evolution of Cooperation (Dahlem Workshop Reports) by (2003)|
Current thinking in evolutionary biology holds that competition among individuals is the key to understanding natural selection. When competition exists, it is obvious that conflict arises; the emergence of cooperation, however, is less straightforward and calls for in-depth analysis. Much research is now focused on defining and expanding the evolutionary models of cooperation. Understanding the mechanisms of cooperation has relevance for fields other than biology. Anthropology, economics, mathematics, political science, primatology, and psychology are adopting the evolutionary approach and developing analogies based on it. Similarly, biologists use elements of economic game theory and analyze cooperation in 'evolutionary games.' Despite this, exchanges between researchers in these different disciplines have been limited. Seeking to fill this gap, the 90th Dahlem Workshop was convened. This book, which grew out of that meeting, addresses such topics as emotions in human cooperation, reciprocity, biological markets, cooperation and conflict in multicellularity, genomic and intercellular cooperation, the origins of human cooperation, and the cultural evolution of cooperation; the emphasis is on open questions and future research areas. The book makes a significant contribution to a growing process of interdisciplinary cross-fertilization on this issue. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Evolution of Culture by (2010)|
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 listed. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Essays on Cultural Transmission (London School of Economics Monographs on Social Anthropology) by (2005)|
This book brings together recent work by Maurice Bloch which explores thehighly controversial territory between the cognitive and social sciences. The essays are of broad, theoretical interest and aim to combine naturalistic approaches to cognition with a recognition and respect for the cultural and historical specificity of ethnography. All the essays illustrate Bloch's characteristic approach to the relation between anthropology and cognitive science, where cognitive science is used to criticize anthropological assumptions concerning such key topics as religion, kinship, belief, ritual, symbolism and art. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Thought Contagion by (1996)|
Why do certain ideas become popular? The naive view is that it's because they're true, or at least justified. This fascinating book, influenced by evolutionary biology and epidemiology, is the first full-scale examination of some of the other reasons. Consider Aaron Lynch's example of optimism - it may not be true or warranted, but it tends to prevail because optimists tend to have more children to pass along their outlook to. Sometimes, Lynch points out, there is a paradoxical but predictable expansion-contraction pattern to the social spread of ideas. This was the first whole book on memetics. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Biology of Traditions: Models and Evidence by (2003)|
In exploring socially-maintained behavioral traditions in animals other than humans, this study treats traditions as biological phenomena amenable to comparative evaluation in the same way as other biological phenomena. Concerned with how widely shared features of social life and learning abilities can lead to traditions in many species, it differs from other books in its emphasis on explicit evaluation of alternative theories and methods, and in the breadth of species covered. It is essential reading for students and researchers in animal behavior, anthropology and psychology. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|CULT-URE: Ideas can be dangerous by (2011)|
Culture is your local consensus reality; your clothing, cuisine and hairstyle, the music you listen to, the films you see; your values, ideas, beliefs and prejudices. Culture, unlike race, is not quite an inevitability of birth, but ultimately, in its choice of statements, an intellectual position. Today culture has a powerful new vector: the internet. Ideas--from a YouTube video to a viral marketing phenomenon or a fundamentalist religion--are travelling further and faster, and changing the cultural landscape like never before. In a new electronic democracy of ideas, cultural power is devolving to the creative individual. Amid our symbol-drenched existences, we desperately need a way of decoding the messages that bombard us. Written and designed by author and artist Rian Hughes, and sporting such design features as a faux-leather cover, die-cuts and tip-ins, Cult-ure is the culmination of a decade's research into why and how we communicate. Revealing how ideas are transmitted through words, symbols and gestures, how such ideas gain cultural currency via the theory of the meme, this book provides a provocative exploration into media convergence within our digital age and an insider's guide into the changing nature of communications, perceptions and identities; it is the twenty-first century's answer to Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore's seminal graphic collaboration The Medium Is the Massage (which punned on McLuhan's famous motto "the medium is the message" to suggest the ways in which media directly tweaks our sensorium). Cult-ure is a guide to surviving the new media revolution.
|The Art of Memetics by (2011)|
The Art of Memetics is a much needed text on memes and how ideas grow might and power and spread as if by magic. There is more actual magic in memes than I ever saw before reading this master text by Edward Wilson and Wes Unruh. If you want your ideas to spread, you'll read this book twice. Available in full online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Complete Universe of Memes: Branches of Reality on The Reality Tree by (2002)|
A controversial 100 thousand word guide into worlds you never thought to explore. Whitling offers straight talk about memetics with a twist: how to recognize your own malignant memes, how to free yourself with evolutionary concepts, relevance of demons and angels, what are your lifetime aims (and why you probably don't know), and what is at stake. To quote from its author: 'My mind's filled with open cans of worms so I can induce others to go fishing.' A cogent, in-your-face challenge to current perceptions about the universe and Evolution as Creation's first cause. Can he pull this off? Yes! Go with him down many paths to the same destination. The fiery end of human life on earth may not be from bombs or plagues. Learn about what NASA is keeping their eyes on while we distract ourselves with petty jousts. Recent scientific discoveries and theories help you develop a personal lifeplan for an accomplishment-oriented existence you will enjoy. Read it. See for yourself. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Spiral Guide to Meme by (2011)|
This book serves as an introductory guide to Meme and its types. The evolutionary principles of meme are discussed with explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. This spiral guide to Meme explains how Meme work, how they spread, and transmit. Meme are defined as cultural analogues to genes. Spiral guide uses a spiral model to enable the user through stages/cycles of topics. Spiral model most closely matches how learning really happens. Spiral guide takes an iterative approach rather than a linear approach. Each iteration is an independent capsule of knowledge.
|Demonstrate Observe Imitate by (2006)|
Applied memetics is the science of persuasion through demonstration, observation and imitation. It takes the lessons of pure memetics and puts them to use in the real world. It recognizes that we persuade others not through logic, but rather by appealing to the mind in ways that resonate with the mind. What does this mean for the executive, the marketer or the entrepreneur? That customers are far less influenced by advertising or word-of-mouth than they are by the human actions they observe and the human actions they imitate.
|Cognitive Mechanisms Underlying the Origin and Evolution of Culture by (2001)|
2001 thesis. This thesis aims to clarify how the invention and development of cultural entities—such as ideas, artifacts, mannerisms, and attitudes—constitutes a form of evolution distinct from, yet intertwined with, biological evolution, and to propose how this evolutionary process may have begun. This is clearly an ambitious goal, so at best this thesis will comprise a few small steps toward its realization.
|Cosmos and Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context by (2010)|
Authors with diverse backgrounds in science, history, anthropology, and more, consider culture in the context of the cosmos. How does our knowledge of cosmic evolution affect terrestrial culture? Conversely, how does our knowledge of cultural evolution affect our thinking about possible cultures in the cosmos? Are life, mind, and culture of fundamental significance to the grand story of the cosmos that has generated its own self-understanding through science, rational reasoning, and mathematics? Book includes bibliographical references and an index. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|That Complex Whole: Culture And The Evolution Of Human Behavior by (1999)|
When evolutionary biology stretched out a tentacle called sociobiology and began to probe human behavior back in the 1970s, there was no room for neutrality. Advocates of the new science hailed the dawn of a new era in our understanding of human behavior, while opponents wrung their hands with concern over the new field’s potential to transform and even destroy anthropology and other social and behavioral sciences. Twenty years later, little has changed. Anthropology and its sister disciplines are still intact and thriving, though they seldom make use of insights from evolutionary biology. Cultural anthropology in particular has recoiled from the biological threat by moving away from the sciences and toward the humanities. During that same time, a new generation of scholars in biological anthropology, psychology, and other fields has made great progress by using evolutionary theory to understand human behavior, applying it to everything from mating and parenting to the study of mental illness. The success of this research program is threatened, however, by its lack of a serious role for the concept of culture.That Complex Whole: Culture and the Evolution of Human Behavior is an effort to develop a scientific study of human behavior that is at once evolutionary and cultural. In a lively, readable style, it deals with such serious, scholarly issues as how to best define culture, the question of whether culture is present in other species, human universals and human diversity, the relationship between culture and behavior, and cultural and moral relativism. It covers existing models of the relationship between cultural and biological evolution, including the concept of the meme and the new science of memetics, as well as the author’s own work on the role of culture in human communications that draws upon the study of animal signals. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition by (1993)|
Donald brings new knowledge of neuropsychology, ethology, and archaeology to propose a tripartite theory of the transition from ape to man. Using the fossil evidence of braincase size and tool-kit remains, Donald concludes that the australopithecines were limited to concrete/episodic minds: bipedal creatures able to benefit from pair-bonding, cooperative hunting, etc., but essentially of a seize-the-moment mentality. The first transition was to a 'mimetic' culture: the era of Homo erectus in which mankind absorbed and refashioned events to create rituals, crafts, rhythms, dance, and other prelinguistic traditions. This was followed by the evolution to mythic cultures: the result of the acquisition of speech and the invention of symbols. The third transition carried oral speech to reading, writing, and an extended external memory- store seen today in computer technology.
|Frozen Evolution: Or, that's not the way it is, Mr. Darwin - Farewell to selfish gene by (2008)|
The old Darwinian model of evolution was recently substituted with the selfish gene theory. The present book suggests that this mainstream theory is just as erroneous as Darwin's original model and we can soon expect another revolution. It suggests replacing the selfish gene model by a theory called 'frozen evolution'. The new theory assumes that the vast majority of species encountered in nature are not capable to evolve even when exposed to extremely strong selection and thus only passively wait until changes in their environment accumulate to such a degree that they have no choice but to quietly die out. Why is this true and where do the new species come from? How is it possible that species are usefully adapted to their environment and how can evolution occur at all in such an evolutionarily frozen world? This book offers an answer to these questions and, at the same time, also a frank and somewhat unusual insight into behind the scenes of contemporary science. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Human Adaptation by (1998)|
This book examines the concept of adaptation in four major fields in the human sciences. Genetic aspects are first considered through an examination of the human genes which have so far been identified as conferring survival value in particular environmental circumstances. The drift versus selection argument is also fully reviewed. The second contribution concerns the physiological changes which occur when individuals move from one environment to another. In the past, most attention has been given to the mechanisms of these changes, but here the focus is on the effects. The third contribution is directed at the analysis of behaviour - especially social behaviour. The application of kin selection and reciprocal attraction theories to humans is explored and the value of these approaches explained, whether the behaviour has a genetic basis or not. The final essay deals with the relevance of the adaptation concept to the social sciences and especially to social anthropology. It demonstrates that an ecological approach to understanding the nature and structure of human societies demands attention to adaptation. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by (2007)|
Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.” View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Contagious: Why Things Catch On by (2013)|
If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?
Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times articles make the paper’s own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children. In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.
|Meme by (2005)|
What is the nature of reality? Where did we come from? Is there a God? What is the point of life? Give your brain a shake and take on a radically new understanding of your world by joining author Sean Sinjin as he fills in the gaps in our contemporary understanding of everything from physics to religion, from the universe's birth to its death, and how to find happiness in the midst of all this seeming chaos. Meme pits science agains the supernatural in a final battle that can only end with the truth. Intentionally written with the layperson in mind, the entertaining analogies, diagrams, and clearly stated concepts construct a complete and purpose-filled perspective on what reality really is. An open mind and heart are the only prerequisites - but be warned, the concepts introduced herein can be quite overwhelming and may change your life forever.
|Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior by (1989)|
With insight and wit, Robert J. Richards focuses on the development of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior from their first distinct appearance in the eighteenth century to their controversial state today. Particularly important in the nineteenth century were Charles Darwin's ideas about instinct, reason, and morality, which Richards considers against the background of Darwin's personality, training, scientific and cultural concerns, and intellectual community. Many critics have argued that the Darwinian revolution stripped nature of moral purpose and ethically neutered the human animal. Richards contends, however, that Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and their disciples attempted to reanimate moral life, believing that the evolutionary process gave heart to unselfish, altruistic behavior. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Social Information Transmission and Human Biology by (2006)|
Recent research has emphasized that socially transmitted information may affect both the gene pool and the phenotypes of individuals and populations, and that an improved understanding of evolutionary issues is beneficial to those working towards the improvement of human health. Equally, an improved awareness of how human behavior influences health and reproductive fitness is starting to shed new light on the processes that shape the evolution of human behavior and the human mind. Focusing directly on these emerging trends, Social Information Transmission and Human Biology bridges the gap between primarily theoretical work undertaken by those with evolutionary interests and biomedical work undertaken by those dealing with practical issues in human health and demographics. Incorporating papers from a symposium organized under the auspices of the UK Society for the Study of Human Biology, this volume merges the perspectives of internationally renowned evolutionary and theoretical biologists, zoologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, psychologists, and medical researchers whose work is linked by common themes addressing how information is transmitted socially and how its transmission influences both immediate and evolutionary biological outcomes. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Evolution of Cultural Entities by (2003)|
Ever since Darwin, scholars have noted that cultural entities such as languages, laws, firms and theories seem to 'evolve' through sequences of variation, selection and replication, in many ways just like living organisms. These essays consider whether this comparison is 'just a metaphor,' or whether modern evolutionary theory can help us to understand the dynamics of different cultural domains. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|A Scientific Model of Social and Cultural Evolution by (1995)|
The title of A Scientific Model of Social and Cultural Evolution is rather misleading. It is actually about demographics, which Graber, following Carneiro, considers to be "the process underpinning — and in part constituting — sociocultural evolution". The emphasis is on the construction of simple, quantitative models and the framework is materialist. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Meme Media and Meme Market Architectures: Knowledge Media for Editing, Distributing, and Managing Intellectual Resources by (2003)|
This book provides an integrated view of the five kinds of enabling technologies in terms of knowledge media architectures: multimedia and hypermedia, object-oriented GUI and visual programming, reusable component software and component integration, network publishing and electronic commerce, and object-oriented and multimedia databases. The book is written based on the hypothesis that knowledge media work as genes, with their network publishing repository, working as a gene pool to accelerate the evolution of knowledge shared in our societies.
|Perspectives in Ethology - Volume 13: Evolution, Culture, and Behavior by (2000)|
This volume is perhaps best characterised by its interdisciplinary nature and reliance on an eclectic range of approaches. One theme that naturally emerges from the collected essays is that of causation versus analogy. Phenomena defined at multiple levels can in principle be studied in two ways - vertically and horizontally. The vertical strategy directly specifies causal relations holding between levels, whereas the horizontal approach looks for parallels between levels, seeking to isolate shared causal properties. One of the essays here stands directly for the vertical strategy, while another warns explicitly against the perils of a loose selectionist analogy among levels. Other parallels between evolution and culture are probed, calling attention to the general limits of analogy, or carefully noting the respects in which the proposed analogy is expected to break down. The other themes of economics, optimisation, and stability, when not explicitly mentioned, lurk in the background of any treatment of culture and behaviour in relation to natural selection. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Social Darwinism: Linking Evolutionary Thought to Social Theory by (2000)|
What is the value of evolutionary thought to social theory - and vice-versa? * How has human nature evolved and is it realized or constrained by modern society? * Are there parallels between social evolution and evolution in the natural world? Social Darwinism is the extension of Darwin's evolutionary ideas to human society. Over the past two centuries it has been argued that the 'fittest' in terms of physical and mental prowess are most likely to survive and reproduce. It has also been suggested that the increasingly complex structure of human society mirrors the increasing complexity of nature. This highly original text examines whether these extensions from nature to society are justified, and considers how dangerous they may be in implying the systematic neglect - or even destruction - of the least 'fit'. It asks what, in any case, is 'fitness' as applied to human beings? It also questions whether human nature is constrained by modern society and whether people evolved as essentially competitive or collaborative. Written in a clear and accessible style, with text boxes to explain key ideas and little or no biological knowledge required of the reader, this book suggests a new way in which evolutionary thought and social theory can be combined. Dickens argues that the difficulties and prejudices associated with the field can be avoided by combining historical materialism with aspects of contemporary biology to create a 'Social Darwinism' for the twenty-first century. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Dawn of the Neomodern: the Evolving Meme by (2010)|
A detailed and extensive work covering widely the nature of consciousness, mind control and the dynamics of freedom. Art, Inspiration, Aspiration, Education, Achievement and the underclass. Also touched is Ancient Greek metaphysics, the global unification of ideology and Humanism. Science, faith and Post-Humanism, Memetics as a paradigm & Hyperspatial Physics but most importantly the production of a new, clean, free energy social superstructure. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Sociocultural Evolution: Calculation and Contingency by (1998)|
Sociocultural evolution is the most important concept that has guided social science thought over the past 300 years. Throughout this time it has, however, been fiercely contested and has changed as it has slowly discarded the providential concerns that originally characterized it. This book traces the gradual development of the concept - and relates how it is currently understood, and misunderstood, to the major political and cultural debates of the present day. The author examines, in particular, issues relating to neo-conservative socioeconomic policy and postmodernism, which he regards as the chief cultural expression of transnational capitalism. He argues that continued sociocultural development requires a greater degree of planning than ever before in human history and far more general participation in the planning process than has been possible or attempted in the past. Sociocultural Evolution will be welcomed by students of anthropology, history, and archaeology, as well as general readers interested in the concerns surrounding further technological development and social change. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Steering Evolution by (2000)|
An in-depth analysis of the philosophical and psychological implications of the interaction between the evolution of genetic information and the evolution of cultural information. Author website View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Evolutionism In Cultural Anthropology: A Critical History by (2003)|
This book traces the interaction of evolutionary thought and anthropological theory from Herbert Spencer to the twenty-first century. It is a focused examination of how the idea of evolution has continued to provide anthropology with a master principle around which a vast body of data can be organized and synthesized. Erudite and readable, and quoting extensively from early theorists (such as Edward Tylor, Lewis Henry Morgan, John McLennan, Henry Maine, and James Frazer) so that the reader might judge them on the basis of their own words, Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology is useful reading for courses in anthropological theory and the history of anthropology. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Imitation Factor: Evolution Beyond The Gene by (2000)|
The dominant paradigm in evolutionary biology asserts that genes are responsible for virtually all manifestations of animal behavior while the environment plays a small role. In a thoroughly engaging, accessible manner, Dugatkin, professor of biology at the University of Louisville, challenges 'that assumption by presenting the case that cultural transmission and gene-culture interactions are serious, underestimated forces in evolutionary biology.' He analyzes a broad array of behavioral studies conducted by himself, his students and many other scientists to demonstrate that animals imitate each other regularly, learn new behaviors from this mimesis and even engage in activities that are best called teaching. By presenting behavioral examples of simple and complex animals ranging from guppies to macaques, from blackbirds to humans, he proves that large brains are not a prerequisite for imitation. Even more important, Dugatkin establishes these actions as constituents of culture, which many scientists limit to humans. Dugatkin explains scientific method superbly and conveys the thrill of designing an ingenious experiment. His theories and supporting evidence will inspire even the most skeptical readers to rethink humans' place in the animal kingdom. Anyone interested in the nature/culture debate will learn something new from Dugatkin. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Perspectives on Imitation: From Neuroscience to Social Science - Volume 1: Mechanisms of Imitation and Imitation in Animals by (2005)|
Imitation is not the low-level, cognitively undemanding behavior it is often assumed to be, but rather--along with language and the ability to understand other minds--one of a trio of related capacities that are fundamental to human mentality. In these landmark volumes, leading researchers across a range of disciplines provide a state-of-the-art view of imitation, integrating the latest findings and theories with reviews of seminal work, and revealing why imitation is a topic of such intense current scientific interest. Perspectives are drawn from neuroscience and brain imaging, animal and developmental psychology, primatology, ethology, philosophy, anthropology, media studies, economics, sociology, education, and law. These volumes provide a resource that makes this research accessible across disciplines and clarifies its importance for the social sciences and philosophy as well as for the cognitive sciences. As a further aid to cross-fertilization, each volume includes extensive interdisciplinary commentary and discussion. The first volume considers possible mechanisms of imitation, including discussion of mirror systems, ideomotor and common coding theories, and the possibility of "shared circuits" for control, imitation, and simulation, and then takes up imitation in animals, with illuminating comparisons to human imitation. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Perspectives on Imitation: From Neuroscience to Social Science - Volume 2: Imitation, Human Development, and Culture by (2005)|
Imitation is not the low-level, cognitively undemanding behavior it is often assumed to be, but rather--along with language and the ability to understand other minds--one of a trio of related capacities that are fundamental to human mentality. In these landmark volumes, leading researchers across a range of disciplines provide a state-of-the-art view of imitation, integrating the latest findings and theories with reviews of seminal work, and revealing why imitation is a topic of such intense current scientific interest. Perspectives are drawn from neuroscience and brain imaging, animal and developmental psychology, primatology, ethology, philosophy, anthropology, media studies, economics, sociology, education, and law. These volumes provide a resource that makes this research accessible across disciplines and clarifies its importance for the social sciences and philosophy as well as for the cognitive sciences. As a further aid to cross-fertilization, each volume includes extensive interdisciplinary commentary and discussion. The second volume focuses first on the roles of imitation in human development and in learning to understand the minds of others, and then on the broader social and cultural roles and functions of imitation, including discussions of meme theory and cultural evolution, and of the pervasive imitative tendencies of normal adults and their relevance for understanding the effects of the media on human behavior. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Books with sections on memes/memetics|
|The Selfish Gene by (1976)|
Inheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we had since Mendel's work was rediscovered, we turn it around and imagine that our genes build and maintain us in order to make more genes. That simple reversal seems to answer many puzzlers which had stumped scientists for years, and we haven't thought of evolution in the same way since. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Darwin's Dangerous Idea by (1995)|
One of the best descriptions of the nature and implications of Darwinian evolution ever written, it is firmly based in biological information and appropriately extrapolated to possible applications to engineering and cultural evolution. Dennett's analyses of the objections to evolutionary theory are unsurpassed. Extremely lucid, wonderfully written, and scientifically and philosophically impeccable. Contains a section on memes.' View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Consciousness Explained by (1992)|
Consciousness is notoriously difficult to explain. On one hand, there are facts about conscious experience-the way clarinets sound, the way lemonade tastes--that we know subjectively, from the inside. On the other hand, such facts are not readily accommodated in the objective world described by science. How, after all, could the reediness of clarinets or the tartness of lemonade be predicted in advance? Central to Daniel C. Dennett's attempt to resolve this dilemma is the 'heterophenomenological' method, which treats reports of introspection nontraditionally--not as evidence to be used in explaining consciousness, but as data to be explained. Using this method, Dennett argues against the myth of the Cartesian theater--the idea that consciousness can be precisely located in space or in time. To replace the Cartesian theater, he introduces his own multiple drafts model of consciousness, in which the mind is a bubbling congeries of unsupervised parallel processing. Finally, Dennett tackles the conventional philosophical questions about consciousness, taking issue not only with the traditional answers but also with the traditional methodology by which they were reached. Contains a section on memes.' View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by (2000)|
Evolution meets game theory in this upbeat follow-up to Wright's much-praised The Moral Animal. Arguing against intellectual heavyweights such as Isaiah Berlin, Karl Popper and Franz Boas, Wright contends optimistically that history progresses in a predictable direction and points toward a certain end: a world of increasing human cooperation where greed and hatred have outlived their usefulness. This thesis is elaborated by way of something Wright calls 'non-zero-sumness', which in game theory means a kind of win-win situation. The non-zero-sum dynamic, Wright says, is the driving force that has shaped history from the very beginnings of life, giving rise to increasing social complexity, technological innovation and, eventually, the Internet. From Polynesian chiefdoms and North America's Shoshone culture to the depths of the Mongol Empire, Wright plunders world history for evidence to show that the so-called Information Age is simply part of a long-term trend. Globalization, he points out, has been around since Assyrian traders opened for business in the second millennium B.C. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by (2011)|
Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe. They have unlimited scope and power to cause change, and the quest to improve them is the basic regulating principle not only of science but of all successful human endeavor. This stream of ever improving explanations has infinite reach, according to Deutsch: we are subject only to the laws of physics, and they impose no upper boundary to what we can eventually understand, control, and achieve. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History by (1997)|
In an ambitious, often provocative study, Bloom applies the ideas of sociobiology, ethology and the 'killer ap' school of anthropology to the broad canvas of history, with examples ranging from Oliver Cromwell's reputed pleasure in killing and raping to Mao Tse-tung's bloody Cultural Revolution, India's caste system and Islamic fundamentalist expansion. Bloom says Americans suffer 'perceptual shutdown' that blinds them to the United States' downward slide in the pecking order of nations. His use of concepts like pecking order, memes (self-replicating clusters of ideas), the 'neural net' or group mind of the social 'superorganism' seem more like metaphors than explanatory tools. Available online. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by (2010)|
Ideas have sex, in Ridley's schema; they follow a process of natural selection of their own, and as long as they continue to do so, there is reason to retire apocalyptic pessimism about the future of our species. Erstwhile zoologist, conservationist, and journalist, Ridley (The Red Queen) posits that as long as civilization engages in exchange and specialization, we will be able to reinvent ourselves and responsibly use earthly resources ad infinitum. Humanity's collective intelligence will save the day, just as it has over the centuries. Ridley puts current perceptions about violence, wealth, and the environment into historical perspective, reaching back thousands of years to advocate global free trade, smaller government, and the use of fossil fuels. He confidently takes on the experts, from modern sociologists who fret over the current level of violence in the world to environmentalists who disdain genetically modified crops. An ambitious and sunny paean to human ingenuity, this is an argument for why ambitious optimism is morally mandatory. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century by (2001)|
Bloom's debut, The Lucifer Principle (1997), sought the biological basis for human evil. Now Bloom is after even bigger game. While cyber-thinkers claim the Internet is bringing us toward some sort of worldwide mind, Bloom believes we've had one all along. Drawing on information theory, debates within evolutionary biology, and research psychology (among other disciplines), Bloom understands the development of life on Earth as a series of achievements in collective information processing. He stands up for "group selection" (a minority view among evolutionists) and traces cooperation among organisms and competition between groupsAthroughout the history of evolution. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by (2011)|
In a sense, The Information is a book about everything, from words themselves to talking drums, writing and lexicography, early attempts at an analytical engine, the telegraph and telephone, ENIAC, and the ubiquitous computers that followed. But that's just the 'History.' The 'Theory' focuses on such 20th-century notables as Claude Shannon, Norbert Wiener, Alan Turing, and others who worked on coding, decoding, and re-coding both the meaning and the myriad messages transmitted via the media of their times. In the 'Flood,' Gleick explains genetics as biology's mechanism for informational exchange - Is a chicken just an egg's way of making another egg? - and discusses self-replicating memes (ideas as different as earworms and racism) as information's own evolving meta-life forms. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Dawn of Symbolic Life: The Future of Human Evolution by (2006)|
Approaching evolution from a different point of view, The Dawn of Symbolic Life examines how the rise of civilization and ongoing current technological progress can be seen as an extension of biological evolution. A fascinating blend of biology, philosophy, and economics, the book outlines a formidable and compelling set of ideas that places mankind at the center of an epic evolutionary event. An event that the author believes could lead to a transformation of the world as we know it. By stepping back and analyzing such contemporary issues as environmental sustainability, space exploration, the spread of information technology, and the role of religion in modern society from the long term perspective of the entire history of life, the author reaches some remarkable conclusions concerning the significance of recent events and what they portend for the future. In a profoundly optimistic assessment, the reader is methodically guided toward a fascinating vision of the future that is both inspiring and somewhat unsettling. The author, Jon Beach is both a researcher and published author in the field of evolutionary biology and an active entrepreneur in the world of business. From this combination of viewpoints comes a unique and surprising perspective on the human condition. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Emergence of Culture: The Evolution of a Uniquely Human Way of Life by (2006)|
Paleolithic archaeologists and human paleontologists have failed to address the origins of a phenomenon that is both absolutely central to the human way of life and unique to our species. In all species of mammals, there are codes (rules, concepts, values, etc.) that govern behavior. Among humans, and only among humans, some of these codes are created socially, through interactions among individuals. Other species may learn codes socially, from their parents or other members of their species, but the codes are not created socially. Human culture is thus an emergent phenomenon, one that cannot be understood without taking into account the interactions among individuals. Because human society creates the culture that governs individual behavior, it can control individual members in a way that other primate societies cannot. Culture can facilitate cooperative and group activities, but can also lead individuals to behave contrary to their own evolutionary best interests. This book describes the emergent nature of human culture. It proposes hypotheses to explain how a phenomenon that is potentially maladaptive for individuals could have evolved, and to explain why culture plays such a pervasive role in human life. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain by (1998)|
This revolutionary book provides fresh answers to long-standing questions of human origins and consciousness. Drawing on his breakthrough research in comparative neuroscience, Terrence Deacon offers a wealth of insights into the significance of symbolic thinking: from the co-evolutionary exchange between language and brains over two million years of hominid evolution to the ethical repercussions that followed man's newfound access to other people's thoughts and emotions. Informing these insights is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes underlie the brain's development and function as well as its evolution. In contrast to much contemporary neuroscience that treats the brain as no more or less than a computer, Deacon provides a new clarity of vision into the mechanism of mind. It injects a renewed sense of adventure into the experience of being human. Has a section about memes. (p. 110-115). Also says: 'The symbolic universe has ensnared us in an inescapable web. Like a 'mind virus', the symbolic adaptation has infected us, and now by virtue of the irresistible urge it has instilled in us to turn everything we encounter and everyone we meet into symbols, we have become the means by which it unceremoniously propagates itself throughout the world.' View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment by (2009)|
In humanity’s more than 100,000 year history, we have evolved from vulnerable creatures clawing sustenance from Earth to a sophisticated global society manipulating every inch of it. In short, we have become the dominant animal. Why, then, are we creating a world that threatens our own species? What can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, increased famine, and epidemic disease? Renowned Stanford scientists Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich believe that intelligently addressing those questions depends on a clear understanding of how we evolved and how and why we’re changing the planet in ways that darken our descendants’ future. The Dominant Animal arms readers with that knowledge, tracing the interplay between environmental change and genetic and cultural evolution since the dawn of humanity. In lucid and engaging prose, they describe how Homo sapiens adapted to their surroundings, eventually developing the vibrant cultures, vast scientific knowledge, and technological wizardy we know today. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect by (2002)|
Why do we behave the way we do? Biologist Paul Ehrlich suggests that although people share a common genetic code, these genes "do not shout commands at us . . . at the very most, they whisper suggestions." He argues that human nature is not so much the result of genetic coding; rather, it is heavily influenced by cultural conditioning and environmental factors. With personal anecdotes, a well-written narrative, and clear examples, Human Natures is a major work of synthesis and scholarship as well as a valuable primer on genetics and evolution that makes complex scientific concepts accessible to lay readers. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Richard Dawkins: how a scientist changed the way we think by (2007)|
In this exciting collection of original essays, some of the world's leading thinkers offer their take on how Dawkins has changed the way we think. Readers will find stimulating pieces by Daniel Dennett, the renowned philosopher of mind and author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea; Steven Pinker, the brilliant Harvard linguist who wrote The Language Instinct and The Blank Slate; Matt Ridley, author of the bestselling Genome; and James Watson, who with Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA, arguably the greatest scientific discovery of the last century. Dawkins' widely admired literary style forms the subject of several pieces, including one from novelist Philip Pullman (author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy). As one of the world's best known rationalists, Dawkins' stance on religion is another theme in this collection, explored by Simon Blackburn, Michael Ruse, Michael Shermer, and the Bishop of Oxford. Numbering twenty in all, these articles are not simply rosy tributes, but explore how Dawkins' ideas have shaped thinking and public debate, and include elements of criticism as well as thoughtful praise. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Did Darwin Get It Right?: Essays on Games, Sex and Evolution by (1988)|
Now in paperback, Did Darwin Get It Right discusses some of the hottest issues in biology today. Its author, the eminently quotable John Maynard Smith, discusses such fascinating conundrums as how life began, whether the brain works like a computer, why most animals and plants reproduce sexually, and how social behavior evolved out of the context of natural selection - a process which would seem to favor selfishness. A humorous and insightful writer, John Maynard Smith has the special ability to convey the excitement of science, its complexity and fascination, without baffling or boring his readers. In these 28 brief and accessible essays, Maynard ranges widely over such issues as science and the media, the birth of sociobiology, the evolution of animal intelligence and the limitations of evolutionary theory. For his work on the evolution of sex, Smith won the Darwin medal from the Royal Society, and he has pioneered the application of game theory to animal behavior. The book contains reviews of: The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, On Human Nature, Genes, Minds and Culture, Culture and the Evolutionary Process and Cultural Transmission and Evolution. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology by (1987)|
This brilliant work heralds the new age of nanotechnology, which will give us thorough and inexpensive control of the structure of matter. Drexler examines the enormous implications of these developments for medicine, the economy, and the environment, and makes astounding yet well-founded projections for the future. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Extended Phenotype by (1982)|
Richard Dawkins continued his writing on memes in The Extended Phenotype (1982). He backed off the topic to some extent. The book also acted founded "internalism" - the idea that memes are structures inside brains.
|Mankind Evolving by (1962)|
The Silliman Lectures at Yale University have been responsible for many books which have greatly influenced the progress of scientific work in the twentieth century. One of the foremost scientists of our time, Theodosius Dobzhansky, recipient of the Elliot and Kimbler prizes, and Da Costa Professor of Zoology at Columbia University, delivered the Silliman Lectures given in honor of the Centennial of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Based upon these lectures, Mr. Dobzhansky’s latest book, Mankind Evolving, now takes its place beside his other great works. With a profound knowledge of the biological theory of evolution and modern genetics, Mr. Dobzhansky explores the possibilities of understanding mankind as a product of evolution and as an evolving whole. Human evolution, contends Mr. Dobzhansky, cannot be understood as a purely biological process, nor can it be adequately described as a history of culture; rather, it is the interaction between the two components of evolution—the biological, or organic, and the cultural, or superorganic. The interdependence of these two components is brought out most clearly if we consider that they both serve the same function—the adaptation to and control of man’s environment. Drawing upon evidence from human biology, and the study of fossil ancestors of now-living mankind, Mr. Dobzhansky explains how the biological process led to the inception and advancement of culture as an instrument of adaptation. In producing the genetic basis of culture, biological evolution has transcended itself: it has produced the superorganic. The superorganic, Mr. Dobzhansky points out, has not annulled the organic; and human welfare, both in individuals and in societies, is predicated upon the health of the genetic endowment of human population. Man has not only evolved but is evolving, and Mr. Dobzhansky expounds the thesis that the genetic basis of culture should be improved. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Information and Meaning in Evolutionary Processes by (2007)|
William Harms develops the conceptual foundations and tools for a science of knowledge through the application of evolutionary theory, thus allowing us to acknowledge the legacy of skepticism while denying its relativistic offspring. The most significant legacy of philosophical skepticism is the realization that our concepts, beliefs and theories are social constructs. This belief has led to epistemological relativism, or the thesis that, since there is no ultimate truth about the world, theory preferences are only a matter of opinion. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Paradigms Lost: tackling the unanswered mysteries of modern science by (1989)|
Intended for both the layman and the scientist, this book presents an overview of some of today's great scientific questions, from the way in which we acquire language and the fundamental nature of our thinking processes, to the possible existence of life elsewhere in the universe. Each chapter is constructed in the form of a trial, with the conventional scientific wisdom presented by the "prosecution" and alternative views put forward by the "defence". The author, who aims to be both informative and entertaining, subsequently steps in to act as "juror", offering explanations of his verdicts. Has a small section on memetics. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Paradigms Regained: A Further Exploration of the Mysteries of Modern Science by (2001)|
Paradigms Lost framed each Big Question as a mock jury trial with prosecution, defense, and verdict rendered. Now Paradigms Regained reexamines each of these questions as an appellate brief and decides whether or not the previous verdict still holds based on a decade's worth of new evidence from the scientific world's top minds. In Paradigms Regained, noted mathematician and researcher John Casti boldly tackles the Big Questions of science and sets our sights on a thrilling new millennium of discovery. Exploring the extraordinary "what ifs" of the natural world - the origins of Life, the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, our genetic destiny, the roots of Language and Learning, the limits of knowtedge - he debates, with penetrating insight, the diverse and competing theories that exist today. Has a small section on memetics. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed by (2011)|
EVOLUTION IS OFTEN PRESENTED AS A STRICTLY COMPETITIVE ENDEAVOR. This point of view has had serious implications for the way we see the mechanics of both science and culture. But scientists have long wondered how societies could have evolved without some measure of cooperation. And if there was cooperation involved, how could it have arisen from nature “red in tooth and claw”? Martin Nowak, one of the world’s experts on evolution and game theory, working here with bestselling science writer Roger Highfield, turns an important aspect of evolutionary theory on its head to explain why cooperation, not competition, has always been the key to the evolution of complexity. He offers a new explanation for the origin of life and a new theory for the origins of language, biology’s second greatest information revolution after the emergence of genes. SuperCooperators also brings to light his game-changing work on disease. Cancer is fundamentally a failure of the body’s cells to cooperate, Nowak has discovered, but organs are cleverly designed to foster cooperation, and he explains how this new understanding can be used in novel cancer treatments. Nowak and Highfield examine the phenomena of reciprocity, reputation, and reward, explaining how selfless behavior arises naturally from competition; how forgiveness, generosity, and kindness have a mathematical rationale; how companies can be better designed to promote cooperation; and how there is remarkable overlap between the recipe for cooperation that arises from quantitative analysis and the codes of conduct seen in major religions, such as the Golden Rule. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Mood Matters: From Rising Skirt Lengths to the Collapse of World Powers by (2011)|
"Mood Matters" makes the radical assertion that all social events ranging from fashions in music and art to the rise and fall of civilizations are biased by the attitudes a society holds toward the future. When the "social mood" is positive and people look forward to the future, events of an entirely different character tend to occur than when society is pessimistic. The book presents many examples from every walk of life in support of this argument. In addition, methods are given to actually measure the social mood and to project it into the future in order to forecast what’s likely or not over varying periods of time. Casti's writing is a pleasure to read and its contents an eye-opener. Has a small section on memetics. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|30-Second Theories: The 50 Most Thought-Provoking Theories in Science, Each Explained in Half a Minute by (2009)|
Chaos Theory, String Theory, the Theory of Relativity? Intelligent Design? Schrodingerzs Cat, Memetics and Pavlov's Dog? Sure, you know what they all mean. That is, you've certainly heard of all of them. But do you know enough about them to join a dinner party debate or dazzle the bar with your knowledge? 30-Second Theories takes a revolutionary approach to understanding the 50 most significant and intriguing scientific theories. It challenges a half-century of leading boffins to abandon their beloved jargon and explain the most complex theories in half a minute - using nothing more than two pages, 300 words, one flow chart, and a picture. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by (1989)|
In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion - as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war - and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Materialism: The Struggle for a Science of Culture by (1979)|
Cultural Materialism, published in 1979, was Marvin Harris's first full-length explication of the theory with which his work has been associated. While Harris has developed and modified some of his ideas over the past two decades, generations of professors have looked to this volume as the essential starting point for explaining the science of culture to students. Now available again after a hiatus, this edition of Cultural Materialism contains the complete text of the original book plus a new introduction by Orna and Allen Johnson that updates his ideas and examines the impact that the book and theory have had on anthropological theorizing. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Organisms and Artifacts: Design in Nature and Elsewhere by (1989)|
In Organisms and Artifacts, Tim Lewens investigates the analogical use of the language of design in evolutionary biology. Uniquely among the natural sciences, biology uses descriptive and explanatory terms more suited to artifacts than organisms. When biologists discuss, for example, the purpose of the panda's thumb and look for functional explanations for organic traits, they borrow from a vocabulary of intelligent design that Darwin's findings could have made irrelevant over a hundred years ago. Lewens argues that examining the analogy between the processes of evolution and the processes by which artifacts are created -- looking at organisms as analogical artifacts -- sheds light on explanations of the form of both organic and inorganic objects. He argues further that understanding the analogy is important for what it can tell us not only about biology but about technology and philosophy.In the course of his argument, Lewens discusses issues of interest to philosophers of biology, biologists, philosophers of mind, and students of technology. These issues include the pitfalls of the design-based thinking of adaptationism, the possible conflict between selection explanations and developmental explanations, a proposed explanation of biological function, and prospects for an informative evolutionary model of technological change. Emerging from these discussions is an explanation of the use of the vocabulary of intelligence and intention in biology that does not itself draw on the ideas of intelligent design, which will be of interest in the ongoing debate over intelligent design creationism. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Human Behavioral Ecology|
|Fundamentals of Human Behavioral Ecology by (1989)|
Darwinian approach to the study of human behavioral variation. It redresses an absence of evolutionary considerations in the analysis of human behavior and social organization in the social and behavioral sciences. Since its inception in the late 1970s it has spawned the development of new journals and academic specialties explicitly devoted to training students to query the evolutionary bases of behavior. Its penetration into academic life has been uneven.
|Historical (before 1975)|
|Origins of the State and Civilization: The Process of Cultural Evolution by (1975)|
How did civilized life begin? How did government arise? These questions have intrigued philosophers and historians since ancient times. In this volume, Elman R. Service, an anthropologist widely known for his studies of evolution and social organization, uses a unique mix of ethnology, history, and archaeology in exploring the origins and early development of political organization. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Theory of Culture Change: The Methodology of Multilinear Evolution by (1972)|
In a collection of papers spanning some 20 years of work, Steward argues persuasively that cultural change consists of complex, continuing processes, rather than isolable acts or events of unitary character. This volume sets forth certain concepts and methods needed to develop a general methodology for determining regularities in the functional interrelationships of cultural patterns and in the processes of culture change which have occurred independently among societies in different parts of the world. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Cultural Evolutionism: Theory in Practice by (1971)|
Elman R. Service, an anthropologist explores the doctrines of Cultural Evolutionism. The book contains essays arguing for a theory of cultural evolution: Part I - Cultural Evolution Defined and Discussed as Intellectual History; Part II - The Modern World Evolving; Part III - Evolutionary Stages and the Forms of Acculturation; Part IV - Evolution and Kinship; Part V - Problems of the Comparative Method. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Man in Adaptation. the Biosocial Background by (1968)|
Underlying the anthropological study of man is the principle that there is a reality to which man must adapt if he is to survive, reproduce, and to perpetuate himself. Populations must adapt to the realities of the physical world and maintain a proper "fit" between their biological makeup and the pressures of the various niches of the world in which they seek to live. Social groups - where culture is found - must develop adaptative mechanisms in the organization of their social relations if there is to be order, regularity, and predictability in patterns of cooperation and competition and if they are to survive as viable units. This three-volume set of readings presents an introduction to anthropology that is unified and made systematic by focus on adaptations that have accompanied the evolution of man, from non-human primate to inhabitant of vast urban areas in modern industrial societies. Man in Adaptation: The Biosocial Background serves as an introduction to Physical Anthropology, Linguistics, and Archeology from the point of view of processes of adaptation. It focuses on the role of biological adaptation in man's attempts to transcend the restrictions of his natural habitats and deals with the principle issues and concepts in the study of human evolution. These volumes are the first attempt to unify the disparate subject matter of anthropology within a single and powerful explanatory framework. They incorporate the work of the most renowned anthropological experts on man, and they illuminate clearly one of the most important concepts around which one can build an investigation of the nature and scope of anthropology itself. For these reasons, they are recognized as indispensable reading for every professional anthropologist and as perhaps the best available means of introducing new students to the field.
|The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture by (1968)|
The best known, most often cited history of anthropological theory is finally available in paperback! First published in 1968, Harris's book has been cited in over 1,000 works and is one of the key documents explaining cultural materialism, the theory associated with Harris's work. This updated edition included the complete 1968 text plus a new introduction by Maxine Margolis, which discusses the impact of the book and highlights some of the major trends in anthropological theory since its original publication. RAT, as it is affectionately known to three decades of graduate students, comprehensively traces the history of anthropology and anthropological theory, culminating in a strong argument for the use of a scientific, behaviorally-based, etic approach to the understanding of human culture known as cultural materialism. Despite its popularity and influence on anthropological thinking, RAT has never been available in paperback - until now. It is an essential volume for the library of all anthropologists, their graduate students, and other theorists in the social sciences. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Continuities in Cultural Evolution by (1964)|
Margaret Mead once said, 'I have spent most of my life studying the lives of other peoples-faraway peoples - so that Americans might better understand themselves.' Continuities in Cultural Evolution is evidence of this devotion. All of Mead's efforts were intended to help others learn about themselves and work toward a more humane and socially responsible society. Scientist, writer, explorer, and teacher, Mead brought the serious work of anthropology into the public consciousness. This volume began as the Terry Lectures, given at Yale in 1957 and was not published until 1964, after extensive reworking. The time she spent on revision is evidence of the importance Mead attached to the subject: the need to develop a truly evolutionary vision of human culture and society. This was desirable in her eyes both in order to reinforce the historical dimension in our ideas about human culture, and to preserve the relevance of historical and cultural diversity to social, economic, and political action. Given the present state of academic and public discourse alike, this volume speaks to us in a language we badly need to recover. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Theory of culture change;: The methodology of multilinear evolution by (1963)|
In a collection of papers spanning some 20 years of work, Steward argues persuasively that cultural change consists of complex, continuing processes, rather than isolable acts or events of unitary character... With the increasing preponderance of studies of cultural change in archaeology as well as anthropology this volume assumes as much importance for the prehistorian as for the student of contemporary societies. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Evolution of Culture: The Development of Civilization to the Fall of Rome by (1959)|
This title, one of the major works of twentieth-century anthropological theory, written by one of the discipline's most important, complex, and controversial figures, has not been in print for several years. Now, 'Evolution of Culture' is again available in paperback, allowing today's generation of anthropologists new access to Leslie White's crucial contribution to the theory of cultural evolution. A new, substantial introduction by Robert Carneiro and Burton J. Brown assess White's historical importance and continuing influence in the discipline. White is credited with reintroducing evolution in a way that had a profound impact on our understanding of the relationship between technology, ecology, and culture in the development of civilizations. A materialist, he was particularly concerned with societies' ability to harness energy as an indicator of progress, and his empirical analysis of this equation covers a vast historical span. Fearlessly tackling the most fundamental questions of culture and society during the cold war, White was frequently a lightning rod both inside and outside the academy. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|The Science of Culture: A Study of Man and Civilization by (1949)|
Leslie White was one of the most important and controversial figures in American anthropology. This classic work, initially published in 1949, contains White's definitive statement on what he termed "culturology." In his new prologue to this reprint of the second edition, Robert Carneiro outlines the key events in White's life and career, especially his championing of cultural evolutionism and cultural materialism. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|From Yuppies to Rickrolling: The Evolution of Cultural and Internet Memes and the Theory of Memetics by (2011)|
Memetics as a theory is the study of the presence and strength of memes in the collective cultural mind. Memes are ideas or groupings, self-perceptions, and imitable practices. This book explores the more traditional cultural memes such as the preppy or yuppie labels based on fashion and socioeconomic status, as well as the newer meme phenomenons via the internet such as viral marketing, lolcat, and the viral video, plus much more. While the internet has revolutionized the definition of memes, the human nature supporting it remains the same. This book claims to be comipled from high-quality Wikipedia articles. View on Google Books the book page, the author page, or the book contents.
|Memetics, including: Daniel Dennett, Hugo De Garis, The Selfish Gene, Viruses Of The Mind, Susan Blackmore, Meme Pool, Viral Marketing, Opinion ... Meme Hack, Sociocultural Evolution by (2011)|
This particular book is a collaboration focused on Memetics.
More info: Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, which was originated by Richard Dawkins in the 1976 book The Selfish Gene. It purports to be an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer. A meme, analogous to a gene, is an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour (etc.) which is "hosted" in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen memetically as a meme reproducing itself. As with genetics, particularly under Dawkins's interpretation, a meme's success may be due its contribution to the effectiveness of its host (i.e., a the meme is a useful, beneficial idea), or may be "selfish", in which case it could be considered a "virus of the mind". Memetics is notable for sidestepping the traditional concern with the truth of ideas and beliefs.
Tim Tyler |