Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Evolution of Cultural Entities$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 28 February 2021

Choosing the Selectors

Choosing the Selectors

(p.119) Choosing the Selectors
The Evolution of Cultural Entities

Mary Midgley

British Academy

This chapter explores the concept of cultural evolution by looking at a variety of perspectives that explain historical change, with emphasis on their advantages and limitations. It begins by considering the Marxist conception of history that focused on the role of non-human background factors in shaping human life. It then discusses two misfortunes lighted up by the history of Marxism that tend to afflict a theory about social development when it claims scientific status: fatalism and the illusion of impartiality. It also examines the evolutionary pattern for explaining social change by selectionism and stresses the importance of concentrating on the actual people involved in social change. The chapter concludes by describing the use of ‘memess’ to explain social change.

Keywords:   cultural evolution, historical change, history, Marxism, fatalism, impartiality, social change, selectionism, memes

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.