The evolution and evolvability of culture

Mind and Language 21 (2):137-165 (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Joseph Henrich and Richard McElreath begin their survey of theories of cultural evolution with a striking historical example. They contrast the fate of the Bourke and Wills expedition — an attempt to explore some of the arid areas of inland Australia — with the routine survival of the local aboriginals in exactly the same area. That expedition ended in failure and death, despite the fact that it was well equipped, and despite the fact that those on the expedition were tough and experienced. For survival in such areas depended on accumulated local knowledge. The locals had learned how detoxify seeds before making bread from them, and how to catch the local fish. Bourke and Wills and their companions lacked this local knowledge, and died as a result (Henrich and McElreath 2003)



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,569

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

126 (#97,923)

6 months
3 (#210,812)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Kim Sterelny
Australian National University

Citations of this work

Social Norms and Human Normative Psychology.Daniel Kelly & Taylor Davis - 2018 - Social Philosophy and Policy 35 (1):54-76.
The Cognitive Bases of Human Tool Use.Krist Vaesen - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (4):203-262.
Cultural Evolution.Tim Lewens - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Meaning and Emotion.Constant Bonard - 2021 - Dissertation, Université de Genève
Moral Nativism: A Sceptical Response.Kim Sterelny - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (3):279-297.

View all 33 citations / Add more citations