Théories darwiniennes de l'évolution culturelle : modèles et mécanismes

Abstract : The purpose of this thesis is to conduct a critical review of key Darwinian models of cultural evolution, to show to what extent and how cultural change is analogous to biological evolution and to propose conceptual and formal models to study cultural evolution in this perspective. Three separate theories are studied. Memetic is based on the idea that a psychological mechanism analogous to the replication in biology exists in the cultural domain. We show that imitation is not faithful enough to play this role and therefore that the memetic model cannot serve as a basis for a general theory of cultural phenomena. The theory of gene culture co-evolution is based on the idea that selection is a dominant factor of evolution and argues that there are several psychological mechanisms and forces specific to the cultural field. However, we show that the importance of selection depends on other forces and is not necessarily dominant. Finally, in a chapter devoted to the study of cultural epidemiology, we defend the idea that the psychological mechanisms tend to be modular and to maximize relevance. These two properties are responsible for the fact that psychological mechanisms construct the cultural elements they transmit. Attraction is the result of these transformations at the population level and can explain the stability and evolution of cultural elements. Attraction and selection are the two sources of stability of cultural elements. Cultural evolution is therefore Darwinian in a populational sense.
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Philosophy. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2009. French


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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 4:07:04 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 5:33:44 AM

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Nicolas Claidière. Théories darwiniennes de l'évolution culturelle : modèles et mécanismes. Philosophy. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2009. French. <tel-00431055>

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