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Appears in Collections:Law and Philosophy Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Culture, Embodiment and Genes: Unravelling the Triple Helix
Authors: Wheeler, Michael
Clark, Andy
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Keywords: cultural transmission
embodied cognition
nich construction
evolutionary psychology
Issue Date: Nov-2008
Publisher: Royal Society Publishing
Citation: Wheeler M & Clark A (2008) Culture, Embodiment and Genes: Unravelling the Triple Helix, 363 (1509), pp. 3563-3575.
Abstract: Much recent work stresses the role of embodiment and action in thought and reason, and celebrates the power of transmitted cultural and environmental structures to transform the problem-solving activity required of individual brains. By apparent contrast, much work in evolutionary psychology has stressed the selective fit of the biological brain to an ancestral environment of evolutionary adaptedness, with an attendant stress upon the limitations and cognitive biases that result. On the face of it, this suggests either a tension or, at least, a mismatch, with the symbiotic dyad of cultural evolution and embodied cognition. In what follows, we explore this mismatch by focusing on three key ideas: cognitive niche construction; cognitive modularity; and the existence (or otherwise) of an evolved universal human nature. An appreciation of the power and scope of the first, combined with consequently more nuanced visions of the latter two, allow us to begin to glimpse a much richer vision of the combined interactive potency of biological and cultural evolution for active, embodied agents.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: Published by Royal Society Publishing. Publisher allows use of Author Generated Postprint within Institutional Repository 12 months after publication.
Affiliation: Philosophy
University of Edinburgh

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