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Cumulative Culture and Complex Cultural Traditions

Buskell, Andrew (2020) Cumulative Culture and Complex Cultural Traditions. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Cumulative cultural evolution is taken to be a distinctive feature of human culture. This claim of distinctiveness is often secured by pointing to complex, late-appearing human technologies. Yet by adopting such technologies as paradigm cases of cumulative culture, researchers have unhelpfully lumped together a range of features and processes associated with the concept. This article thus has two aims. First, to disentangle four trends associated with cumulative culture: adaptiveness, complexity, efficiency, and disparity. Second, to highlight the epistemic implications of adopting (typically late-appearing) complex human technologies as the primary explanatory target of research in cumulative culture. By disaggregating the four accumulative trends, and identifying other explanatory targets, this article opens up conceptual and empirical space for work on cumulative culture in non-human animals and earlier stages in hominin evolution.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Buskell, Andrewab2086@cam.ac.uk0000-0001-6939-2848
Keywords: Cultural Evolution, Cumulative Culture, Cognitive Evolution
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
Depositing User: Andrew Buskell
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2020 15:52
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2020 15:52
Item ID: 18055
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
Date: 27 May 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18055

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