Cultural Evolution

Tim Lewens

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195392753
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Cultural Evolution

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Social and Political Philosophy


Show Summary Details


This article, which defines the relation between sociobiology and other kinds of evolutionary account, and between meme-based versions and population-level learning accounts, also tries to sharpen the understanding of the promises of cultural evolutionary theories. Charles Darwin's synthesis does not always place natural selection in the foreground. One very specific source of skepticism is directed at the use some cultural evolutionists make of the meme concept. Theories of cultural evolution need not, and often do not, support the meme concept. A casual reading of the meme concept might lead one to think that cultural evolutionary theories cast humans in a passive role. Developmental systems theory may present the most likely site for a full reconciliation between social anthropology and cultural evolutionary theory.

Keywords: sociobiology; meme concept; cultural evolutionary theories; Charles Darwin; scepticism; cultural evolution; developmental systems theory

Article.  11691 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.