Cultural Evolution: A Vehicle for Cooperative Interaction between the Sciences and the Humanities
19 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 8 Aug 2015
Date Written: Sept 8, 2014
The study of cultural evolution requires a comprehensive approach to les sciences de l’homme using methods and insights from researchers trained in both the humanities and the sciences. Only humanists have the wide ranging knowledge of cultural phenomena necessary for effective analytic and descriptive control of the primary phenomena; without such control model building and theory testing are pointless. Scientists, on the other hand, are beginning develop tools for thinking about population-wide maintenance, propagation, and incremental change of cultural codes. At the micro-scale we need to understand, not only perceptual and cognitive processes, but, most critically, the negotiation of meaning through interaction. At the macro-scale we need to see how changes in cultural codes supports the emergence of new mentalities. Taken in sum these efforts will show us how the design of cultural codes emerges from the collective efforts of populations where each individual negotiates his or her life transaction by transaction.
Keywords: cultural evolution, macroanalysis, culture, digital humanities, description
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