Human evolution and transitions in individuality

Contrastes: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 18 (S1):203-220 (2013)
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Abstract

This paper investigates whether it is fruitful to describe the role culture began to play at some point in the Hominin lineage as pointing to a transition in individuality, by reference to the works of Buss, Maynard-Smith and Szathmáry, Michod and Godfrey-Smith. The chief question addressed is whether a population of groups having different cultural phenotypes is either paradigmatically Darwinian or marginal, by using Godfrey-Smith's representation of such transitions in a multi-dimensional space. Richerson and Boyd's «dual inheritance» theory, and the explanation it provides of the evolution of cooperation in the Hominin lineage, is taken into account to shed light on the way Godfrey-Smith deals with cultural evolution, especially concerning the amount of variation in a population of groups with various cultural phenotypes, the role played by multi-level selection in the evolutionary dynamics of such a population and the adequacy of different modalities of group- reproduction.

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