Is cultural evolution Lamarckian?
- Maria E. KronfeldnerAffiliated withMax Planck Institute for the History of Science Email author
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The article addresses the question whether culture evolves in a Lamarckian manner. I highlight three central aspects of a Lamarckian concept of evolution: the inheritance of acquired characteristics, the transformational pattern of evolution, and the concept of directed changes. A clear exposition of these aspects shows that a system can be a Darwinian variational system instead of a Lamarckian transformational one, even if it is based on inheritance of acquired characteristics and/or on Lamarckian directed changes. On this basis, I apply the three aspects to culture. Taking for granted that culture is a variational system, based on selection processes, I discuss in detail the senses in which cultural inheritance can be said to be Lamarckian and in which sense problem solving, a major factor in cultural change, leads to directed variation.
KeywordsCultural evolution Inheritance of acquired characteristics Lamarckism Memes Problem solving Transformational evolution directed variation
- Is cultural evolution Lamarckian?
Biology & Philosophy
Volume 22, Issue 4 , pp 493-512
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Cultural evolution
- Inheritance of acquired characteristics
- Problem solving
- Transformational evolution
- directed variation
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstr. 22, 14195, Berlin, Germany