Cultural evolution: A general appraisal

Ludus Vitalis 13 (23):139-150 (2005)
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Abstract
The first objective of the paper is to propose a classification and characterize the major approaches to the modes of cultural evolution: (1) Research programs on the origins of the cultural capacity of the human species. (2) Description and explanation of cultural change with the help of concepts or models inspired by the schemes of population genetics. (3) Research on parallel evolution of genes and culture. (4) Narrow coupling between biological evolution and cultural evolution, or the “gene-culture coevolution paradigm.” These four modes of cultural evolution make sense at a different time-scale (respectively: more than 100 000 years; less than 100 years; greater than 1000 years; less than 1000 years). The second section of the paper provides an evaluation of the various programs, from various points of view: methodological, ethical, and epistemological.
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