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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines biology and culture as interactive influences in shaping the human essence, arguing that “culture is biological.” In particular, it considers the idea that cultural embeddedness might be a distinct human attribute from an evolutionary perspective. It then shows how biological processes shaped over millennia have culminated in a species that has the ability to read and write, play computer games, and fly airplanes. It also explores the genes-physiology-neuroscience side of human behavior and the social-cultural-economic environment in which the behavior takes place, along with the basic building blocks of values. Finally, it discusses some characteristics that make humans unique: their ability to build on previous innovations; their differentiation into social roles and the assignment of consensually agreed social status; and their belief in supernatural agents.

Keywords: biological processes, cultural embeddedness, cumulative culture, evolution, gene-culture co-evolution, genes, innovation, roles, status, supernatural, values

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