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Towards a Pricean foundation for cultural evolutionary theory

Baravalle, Lorenzo and Luque, Víctor J. (2022) Towards a Pricean foundation for cultural evolutionary theory. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 37 (2). pp. 209-231. ISSN 2171-679X

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Abstract

The Price equation is currently considered one of the fundamental equations —or even the fundamental equation— of evolution. In this article, we explore the role of this equation within cultural evolutionary theory. More specifically, we use it to account for the explanatory power and the theoretical structure of a certain generalised version of dual-inheritance theory. First, we argue that, in spite of not having a definite empirical content, the Price equation offers a suitable formalisation of the processes of cultural evolution, and provides a powerful heuristic device for discovering the actual causes of cultural change and accumulation. Second, we argue that, as a consequence of this, a certain version of the Price equation is the fundamental law of cultural evolutionary theory. In order to support this claim, we sketch the ideal structure of dual-inheritance theory and we stress the unificatory role that the Price equation plays in it.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Baravalle, Lorenzolbaravalle@fc.ul.pt0000-0001-6299-6403
Luque, Víctor J.victor.luque@uv.es0000-0002-2911-1105
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: Cultural evolutionary theory, Price equation, Dual-inheritance theory, Fundamental laws, Metatheoretical structuralism.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email theoria@ehu.es
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2022 03:43
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2022 03:43
Item ID: 20991
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL: https://ojs.ehu.eus/index.php/THEORIA/article/view...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.21940
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Date: May 2022
Page Range: pp. 209-231
Volume: 37
Number: 2
ISSN: 2171-679X
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20991

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