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The Evolution of Cultural Entities - British Academy Scholarship Online
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The Evolution of Cultural Entities

Michael Wheeler, John Ziman, and Margaret A. Boden


Ever since Charles 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. This book considers whether this comparison is ‘just a metaphor’, or whether modern evolutionary theory can help us to understand the dynamics of different cultural domains. The ‘evolutionary paradigm of rationality’ has a significant role to play throughout the human sciences, but raises complex issues in every cultural context where it is applied. By fostering dis ... More

Keywords: evolution, languages, laws, selection, replication, evolutionary theory, cultural entities, evolutionary paradigm of rationality

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780197262627
Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015 DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197262627.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Wheeler, editor
Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Dundee

John Ziman, editor
Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Bristol

Margaret A. Boden, editor
Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, University of Sussex