Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1245-1268 (2017)

Krist Vaesen
Eindhoven University of Technology
The consensus among cultural evolutionists seems to be that human cultural evolution is cumulative, which is commonly understood in the specific sense that cultural traits, especially technological traits, increase in complexity over generations. Here we argue that there is insufficient credible evidence in favor of or against this technological complexity thesis. For one thing, the few datasets that are available hardly constitute a representative sample. For another, they substantiate very specific, and usually different versions of the complexity thesis or, even worse, do not point to complexity increases. We highlight the problems our findings raise for current work in cultural-evolutionary theory, and present various suggestions for future research.
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-017-9603-1
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References found in this work BETA

The Weirdest People in the World?Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):61-83.
The Architecture of Complexity.Herbert A. Simon - 1962 - Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 106.
Primate Cognition.Michael Tomasello & Josep Call - 1997 - Oxford University Press USA.

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Can Communities Produce Complex Technology? Looking Into Space for Insight.Chris Giotitsas & Lucas Lemos - 2021 - Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society 41 (2-3):35-45.

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