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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: 04 April 2020

Choosing the Selectors

Choosing the Selectors

Chapter:
(p.119) Choosing the Selectors
Source:
The Evolution of Cultural Entities
Author(s):

Mary Midgley

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197262627.003.0008

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

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