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From Behavior to Culture: An Assessment of Cultural Evolution and a New Synthesis


Three approaches to cultural evolution—sociobiology, dual inheritance, and memes—are reviewed and it is shown that each makes use of an incomplete notion of what constitutes culture. Cultural evolution has to be considered in terms of at least three dimensions, each with a different time scale: evolution of a system of symbols, evolution in the instantiation of a system of symbols, and evolution of behavior framed by a system of symbols and its instantiation. The complexity of human societies lies in the interrelationship of these three dimensions.

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