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The Evolution of Cultural Entities$
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Michael Wheeler, John Ziman, and Margaret A. Boden

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262627

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262627.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 03 April 2020

Heritable Variation and Competitive Selection as the Mechanism of Sociocultural Evolution

Heritable Variation and Competitive Selection as the Mechanism of Sociocultural Evolution

Chapter:
(p.9) Heritable Variation and Competitive Selection as the Mechanism of Sociocultural Evolution
Source:
The Evolution of Cultural Entities
Author(s):

W. G. Runciman

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197262627.003.0002

This chapter examines how heritable variation and competitive selection promote sociocultural evolution, based on the application of Charles Darwin's ‘descent with modification’ to human behaviour. It first considers the extent to which sociocultural selection can be reduced to natural selection before explaining how cultural and natural selection, despite being different evolutionary forces, act simultaneously on human populations and their social behaviour. It then cites the practice of venality in France between 1467 and 1789 as a clear case of replication through social rather than cultural selection.

Keywords:   heritable variation, competitive selection, sociocultural evolution, Charles Darwin, descent with modification, human behaviour, natural selection, social behaviour, venality, replication

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