, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 283–290 | Cite as

The Organism-Centered Approach to Cultural Evolution

  • Andreas De Block
  • Grant Ramsey


In this paper, we distinguish two different approaches to cultural evolution. One approach is meme-centered, the other organism-centered. We argue that in situations in which the meme- and organism-centered approaches are competing alternatives, the organism-centered approach is in many ways superior. Furthermore, the organism-centered approach can go a long way toward understanding the evolution of institutions. Although the organism-centered approach is preferable for a broad class of situations, we do leave room for super-organismic (group based) or sub-organismic (meme-based) explanations of some cultural phenomena.


Cultural evolution Memetics Institutions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLouvainBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Philosophy, 100 Malloy HallUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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