Not By Genes Alone

How Culture Transformed Human Evolution
Author: Peter J. Richerson,Robert Boyd
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226712130
Category: Social Science
Page: 342
View: 3601

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Humans are a striking anomaly in the natural world. While we are similar to other mammals in many ways, our behavior sets us apart. Our unparalleled ability to adapt has allowed us to occupy virtually every habitat on earth using an incredible variety of tools and subsistence techniques. Our societies are larger, more complex, and more cooperative than any other mammal's. In this stunning exploration of human adaptation, Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd argue that only a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution can explain these unique characteristics. 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. In abandoning the nature-versus-nurture debate as fundamentally misconceived, Not by Genes Alone is a truly original and groundbreaking theory of the role of culture in evolution and a book to be reckoned with for generations to come. “I continue to be surprised by the number of educated people (many of them biologists) who think that offering explanations for human behavior in terms of culture somehow disproves the suggestion that human behavior can be explained in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Fortunately, we now have a book to which they may be directed for enlightenment . . . . It is a book full of good sense and the kinds of intellectual rigor and clarity of writing that we have come to expect from the Boyd/Richerson stable.”—Robin Dunbar, Nature “Not by Genes Alone is a valuable and very readable synthesis of a still embryonic but very important subject straddling the sciences and humanities.”—E. O. Wilson, Harvard University

Not By Genes Alone

How Culture Transformed Human Evolution
Author: Peter J. Richerson,Robert Boyd
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226712123
Category: Social Science
Page: 342
View: 5224

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Humans are a striking anomaly in the natural world. While we are similar to other mammals in many ways, our behavior sets us apart. Our unparalleled ability to adapt has allowed us to occupy virtually every habitat on earth using an incredible variety of tools and subsistence techniques. Our societies are larger, more complex, and more cooperative than any other mammal's. In this stunning exploration of human adaptation, Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd argue that only a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution can explain these unique characteristics. 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. In abandoning the nature-versus-nurture debate as fundamentally misconceived, Not by Genes Alone is a truly original and groundbreaking theory of the role of culture in evolution and a book to be reckoned with for generations to come. “I continue to be surprised by the number of educated people (many of them biologists) who think that offering explanations for human behavior in terms of culture somehow disproves the suggestion that human behavior can be explained in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Fortunately, we now have a book to which they may be directed for enlightenment . . . . It is a book full of good sense and the kinds of intellectual rigor and clarity of writing that we have come to expect from the Boyd/Richerson stable.”—Robin Dunbar, Nature “Not by Genes Alone is a valuable and very readable synthesis of a still embryonic but very important subject straddling the sciences and humanities.”—E. O. Wilson, Harvard University

Not By Genes Alone

How Culture Transformed Human Evolution
Author: Peter J. Richerson,Robert Boyd
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226712840
Category: Social Science
Page: 342
View: 3226

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Humans are a striking anomaly in the natural world. While we are similar to other mammals in many ways, our behavior sets us apart. Our unparalleled ability to adapt has allowed us to occupy virtually every habitat on earth using an incredible variety of tools and subsistence techniques. Our societies are larger, more complex, and more cooperative than any other mammal's. In this stunning exploration of human adaptation, Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd argue that only a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution can explain these unique characteristics. 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. In abandoning the nature-versus-nurture debate as fundamentally misconceived, Not by Genes Alone is a truly original and groundbreaking theory of the role of culture in evolution and a book to be reckoned with for generations to come. “I continue to be surprised by the number of educated people (many of them biologists) who think that offering explanations for human behavior in terms of culture somehow disproves the suggestion that human behavior can be explained in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Fortunately, we now have a book to which they may be directed for enlightenment . . . . It is a book full of good sense and the kinds of intellectual rigor and clarity of writing that we have come to expect from the Boyd/Richerson stable.”—Robin Dunbar, Nature “Not by Genes Alone is a valuable and very readable synthesis of a still embryonic but very important subject straddling the sciences and humanities.”—E. O. Wilson, Harvard University

Culture and the Evolutionary Process


Author: Robert Boyd,Peter J. Richerson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226069333
Category: Science
Page: 331
View: 6796

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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.

A Different Kind of Animal: How Culture Transformed Our Species

How Culture Transformed Our Species
Author: Robert Boyd
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400888522
Category: Science
Page: 248
View: 1190

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How our ability to learn from each other has been the essential ingredient to our remarkable success as a species Human beings are a very different kind of animal. We have evolved to become the most dominant species on Earth. We have a larger geographical range and process more energy than any other creature alive. This astonishing transformation is usually explained in terms of cognitive ability—people are just smarter than all the rest. But in this compelling book, Robert Boyd argues that culture—our ability to learn from each other—has been the essential ingredient of our remarkable success. A Different Kind of Animal demonstrates that while people are smart, we are not nearly smart enough to have solved the vast array of problems that confronted our species as it spread across the globe. Over the past two million years, culture has evolved to enable human populations to accumulate superb local adaptations that no individual could ever have invented on their own. It has also made possible the evolution of social norms that allow humans to make common cause with large groups of unrelated individuals, a kind of society not seen anywhere else in nature. This unique combination of cultural adaptation and large-scale cooperation has transformed our species and assured our survival—making us the different kind of animal we are today. Based on the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, A Different Kind of Animal features challenging responses by biologist H. Allen Orr, philosopher Kim Sterelny, economist Paul Seabright, and evolutionary anthropologist Ruth Mace, as well as an introduction by Stephen Macedo.

Cultural Evolution

Society, Technology, Language, and Religion
Author: Peter J. Richerson,Morten H. Christiansen
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 026231830X
Category: Psychology
Page: 504
View: 7129

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Over the past few decades, a growing body of research has emerged from a variety of disciplines to highlight the importance of cultural evolution in understanding human behavior. Wider application of these insights, however, has been hampered by traditional disciplinary boundaries. To remedy this, in this volume leading researchers from theoretical biology, developmental and cognitive psychology, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, history, and economics come together to explore the central role of cultural evolution in different aspects of human endeavor.The contributors take as their guiding principle the idea that cultural evolution can provide an important integrating function across the various disciplines of the human sciences, as organic evolution does for biology. The benefits of adopting a cultural evolutionary perspective are demonstrated by contributions on social systems, technology, language, and religion. Topics covered include enforcement of norms in human groups, the neuroscience of technology, language diversity, and prosociality and religion. The contributors evaluate current research on cultural evolution and consider its broader theoretical and practical implications, synthesizing past and ongoing work and sketching a roadmap for future cross-disciplinary efforts.ContributorsQuentin D. Atkinson, Andrea Baronchelli, Robert Boyd, Briggs Buchanan, Joseph Bulbulia, Morten H. Christiansen, Emma Cohen, William Croft, Michael Cysouw, Dan Dediu, Nicholas Evans, Emma Flynn, Pieter François, Simon Garrod, Armin W. Geertz, Herbert Gintis, Russell D. Gray, Simon J. Greenhill, Daniel B. M. Haun, Joseph Henrich, Daniel J. Hruschka, Marco A. Janssen, Fiona M. Jordan, Anne Kandler, James A. Kitts, Kevin N. Laland, Laurent Lehmann, Stephen C. Levinson, Elena Lieven, Sarah Mathew, Robert N. McCauley, Alex Mesoudi, Ara Norenzayan, Harriet Over, Ju ̈rgen Renn, Victoria Reyes-García, Peter J. Richerson, Stephen Shennan, Edward G. Slingerland, Dietrich Stout, Claudio Tennie, Peter Turchin, Carel van Schaik, Matthijs Van Veelen, Harvey Whitehouse, Thomas Widlok, Polly Wiessner, David Sloan Wilson.

Coevolution

Genes, Culture, and Human Diversity
Author: William H. Durham
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804721561
Category: Social Science
Page: 629
View: 9562

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Charles Darwin's "On the Origins of Species" had two principal goals: to show that species had not been separately created and to show that natural selection had been the main force behind their proliferation and descent from common ancestors. 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. The case studies themselves are lucid and innovative reexaminations of an array of oft-pondered anthropological topics--plural marriage, sickle-cell anemia, basic color terms, adult lactose absorption, incest taboos, headhunting, and cannibalism. In a general case, the author's goal is to demonstrate that an evolutionary analysis of both genes and culture has much to contribute to our understanding of human diversity, particularly behavioral diversity, and thus to the resolution of age-old questions about nature and nurture, genes and culture.

The Origin and Evolution of Cultures


Author: Robert Boyd,Peter J. Richerson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199883122
Category: Science
Page: 464
View: 9252

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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. The interest in this collection will span anthropology, psychology, economics, philosophy, and political science.

Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution


Author: Stephen Shennan
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520255999
Category: Science
Page: 341
View: 9595

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"Archaeological data are uniquely suited to testing models of cultural evolution. This volume provides an excellent summary of the state of the art in this new field."--Robert Boyd, coauthor of "Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution"

Cultural Evolution

How Darwinian Theory Can Explain Human Culture and Synthesize the Social Sciences
Author: Alex Mesoudi
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226520455
Category: Political Science
Page: 280
View: 1966

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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. Along the way, the book reveals how new insights arise from looking at culture from an evolutionary angle. Cultural Evolution provides a thought-provoking argument that Darwinian evolutionary theory can both unify different branches of inquiry and enhance understanding of human behavior.

Darwin's Unfinished Symphony

How Culture Made the Human Mind
Author: Kevin N. Laland
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 069118447X
Category: Science
Page: 450
View: 5420

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Humans possess an extraordinary capacity for culture, from the arts and language to science and technology. But how did the human mind—and the uniquely human ability to devise and transmit culture—evolve from its roots in animal behavior? Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony presents a captivating new theory of human cognitive evolution. This compelling and accessible book reveals how culture is not just the magnificent end product of an evolutionary process that produced a species unlike all others—it is also the key driving force behind that process. Kevin Laland tells the story of the painstaking fieldwork, the key experiments, the false leads, and the stunning scientific breakthroughs that led to this new understanding of how culture transformed human evolution. It is the story of how Darwin’s intellectual descendants picked up where he left off and took up the challenge of providing a scientific account of the evolution of the human mind.

Anthropologist

Scientist of the People
Author: Mary Batten,A. Magdalena Hurtado,Kim Hill
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0618083685
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction
Page: 64
View: 3209

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Describes the daily lives and customs of the Achâe people, one of the few hunter-gatherers societies left in the world, based on the studies of anthropologist Magdalena Hurtado.

A Cooperative Species

Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution
Author: Samuel Bowles,Herbert Gintis
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400838837
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 280
View: 884

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Why do humans, uniquely among animals, cooperate in large numbers to advance projects for the common good? Contrary to the conventional wisdom in biology and economics, this generous and civic-minded behavior is widespread and cannot be explained simply by far-sighted self-interest or a desire to help close genealogical kin. In A Cooperative Species, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis--pioneers in the new experimental and evolutionary science of human behavior--show that the central issue is not why selfish people act generously, but instead how genetic and cultural evolution has produced a species in which substantial numbers make sacrifices to uphold ethical norms and to help even total strangers. The authors describe how, for thousands of generations, cooperation with fellow group members has been essential to survival. Groups that created institutions to protect the civic-minded from exploitation by the selfish flourished and prevailed in conflicts with less cooperative groups. Key to this process was the evolution of social emotions such as shame and guilt, and our capacity to internalize social norms so that acting ethically became a personal goal rather than simply a prudent way to avoid punishment. Using experimental, archaeological, genetic, and ethnographic data to calibrate models of the coevolution of genes and culture as well as prehistoric warfare and other forms of group competition, A Cooperative Species provides a compelling and novel account of how humans came to be moral and cooperative.

Sense and Nonsense

Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour
Author: Kevin N. Laland,Gillian R. Brown
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199586969
Category: Medical
Page: 270
View: 9438

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This book asks whether evolution can help us to understand human behaviour and explores diverse evolutionary methods and arguments. It provides a short, readable introduction to the science behind the works of Dawkins, Dennett, Wilson and Pinker. It is widely used in undergraduate courses around the world.

Developmental Plasticity and Evolution


Author: Mary Jane West-Eberhard
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198028567
Category: Science
Page: 916
View: 1604

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The first comprehensive synthesis on development and evolution: it applies to all aspects of development, at all levels of organization and in all organisms, taking advantage of modern findings on behavior, genetics, endocrinology, molecular biology, evolutionary theory and phylogenetics to show the connections between developmental mechanisms and evolutionary change. This book solves key problems that have impeded a definitive synthesis in the past. It uses new concepts and specific examples to show how to relate environmentally sensitive development to the genetic theory of adaptive evolution and to explain major patterns of change. In this book development includes not only embryology and the ontogeny of morphology, sometimes portrayed inadequately as governed by "regulatory genes," but also behavioral development and physiological adaptation, where plasticity is mediated by genetically complex mechanisms like hormones and learning. The book shows how the universal qualities of phenotypes--modular organization and plasticity--facilitate both integration and change. Here you will learn why it is wrong to describe organisms as genetically programmed; why environmental induction is likely to be more important in evolution than random mutation; and why it is crucial to consider both selection and developmental mechanism in explanations of adaptive evolution. This book satisfies the need for a truly general book on development, plasticity and evolution that applies to living organisms in all of their life stages and environments. Using an immense compendium of examples on many kinds of organisms, from viruses and bacteria to higher plants and animals, it shows how the phenotype is reorganized during evolution to produce novelties, and how alternative phenotypes occupy a pivotal role as a phase of evolution that fosters diversification and speeds change. The arguments of this book call for a new view of the major themes of evolutionary biology, as shown in chapters on gradualism, homology, environmental induction, speciation, radiation, macroevolution, punctuation, and the maintenance of sex. No other treatment of development and evolution since Darwin's offers such a comprehensive and critical discussion of the relevant issues. Developmental Plasticity and Evolution is designed for biologists interested in the development and evolution of behavior, life-history patterns, ecology, physiology, morphology and speciation. It will also appeal to evolutionary paleontologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and teachers of general biology.

Genes, Memes and Human History

Darwinian Archaeology and Cultural Evolution
Author: Stephen Shennan
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780500051184
Category: Science
Page: 304
View: 1691

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Uses neo-Darwinian evolutionary ideas to explore the history of human populations and the origins of, and changes to, their cultural traditions.

Indoctrinability, Ideology, and Warfare

Evolutionary Perspectives
Author: Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt,Frank K. Salter
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 9781571819239
Category: Social Science
Page: 490
View: 8707

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Violent ethno-nationalist conflicts continue to mar the history of the twentieth century; yet no satisfactory answer to the question of why humans are susceptible to indoctrination by ideologies that lead to inter-group hostility has so far been found. In this volume an international team of leading scientists from many different fields approach this complex issue from a biological perspective, treating indoctrinability as a predisposition that has its roots in humanity's evolutionary past. Contents: Part I: Evolutionary Precursors and Models - Part II: Contemporary Hunter- Gatherers -Part III: Individual Behavioural Mechanisms - Part IV: Group Processes - Part V: Institutional and Symbolic Mechanisms - Part VI: Indoctrination and Ethics. Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt and Frank K. Salter, Forschungsstelle für Humanethologie, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

Feeling Smart

Why Our Emotions Are More Rational Than We Think
Author: Eyal Winter
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 1610394917
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 288
View: 677

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Distinguished authors like Daniel Kahneman, Dan Ariely, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb have written much about the flaws in the human brain when it comes time to make a decision. Our intuitions and passions frequently fail us, leading to outcomes we don't want. In this book, Eyal Winter, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wonders: why? If our emotions are so destructive and unreliable, why has evolution left us with them? The answer is that, even though they may not behave in a purely logical manner, our emotions frequently lead us to better, safer, more optimal outcomes. In fact, as Winter discovers, there is often logic in emotion, and emotion in logic. For instance, many mutually beneficial commitments—such as marriage, or being a member of a team—are only possible when underscored by emotion rather than deliberate thought. The difference between pleasurable music and bad noise is mathematically precise; yet it is also the result of evolution. And our inherent overconfidence—the mathematically impossible fact that most people see themselves as above average—affords us advantages in competing for things we benefit from, like food and money and romance. Other subjects illuminated in the book include the rationality of seemingly illogical feelings like trust, anger, shame, ego, and generosity. Already a bestseller in Israel, Feeling Smart brings together game theory, evolution, and behavioral science to produce a surprising and very persuasive defense of how we think, even when we don't.

The Creation of Inequality

How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire
Author: Kent Flannery
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674064976
Category: History
Page: 622
View: 6710

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Flannery and Marcus demonstrate that the rise of inequality was not simply the result of population increase, food surplus, or the accumulation of valuables but resulted from conscious manipulation of the unique social logic that lies at the core of every human group. Reversing the social logic can reverse inequality, they argue, without violence.

Cultural Evolution

Conceptual Challenges
Author: Tim Lewens
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199674183
Category: Philosophy
Page: 205
View: 8571

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This title exposes and evaluates a set of conceptual disputes concerning what we might mean by culture, and how we should go about accounting for it. Its particular focus is a set of evolutionary approaches to the genesis of the human capacity for culture, to subsequent cultural change, and to the ways in which genetic and cultural change interact, or 'co-evolve'. The book as a whole argues that there is little realistic hope that the social sciences might become unified around an evolutionary synthesis. Instead the defence of evolutionary approaches to culture must be more modest in scope