- Introduction: Doing Philosophy of Social Science
- Micro, Macro, and Mechanisms
- Mechanisms, Causal Modeling, and the Limitations of Traditional Multiple Regression
- Process Tracing and Causal Mechanisms
- Descriptive-Causal Generalizations: “Empirical Laws” in the Social Sciences?
- Useful Complex Causality
- Partial Explanations in Social Science
- Mechanistic Social Probability: How Individual Choices and Varying Circumstances Produce Stable Social Patterns
- The Impact of Duhemian Principles on Social Science Testing and Progress
- Philosophy and the Practice of Bayesian Statistics in the Social Sciences
- Sciences of Historical Tokens and Theoretical Types: History and the Social Sciences
- RCTs, Evidence, and Predicting Policy Effectiveness
- Bringing Context and Variability Back into Causal Analysis
- The Potential Value of Computational Models in Social Science Research
- Models of Culture
- The Evolutionary Program in Social Philosophy
- Cultural Evolution: Integration and Skepticism
- Coordination and the Foundations of Social Intelligence
- Making Race Out of Nothing: Psychologically Constrained Social Roles
- A Feminist Empirical and Integrative Approach in Political Science: Breaking Down the Glass Wall?
- Social Constructions of Mental Illness
- Cooperation and Reciprocity: Empirical Evidence and Normative Implications
- Evaluating Social Policy
- Values and the Science of Well-Being: A Recipe for Mixing
Abstract and Keywords
This article, which defines the relation between sociobiology and other kinds of evolutionary account, and between meme-based versions and population-level learning accounts, also tries to sharpen the understanding of the promises of cultural evolutionary theories. Charles Darwin's synthesis does not always place natural selection in the foreground. One very specific source of skepticism is directed at the use some cultural evolutionists make of the meme concept. Theories of cultural evolution need not, and often do not, support the meme concept. A casual reading of the meme concept might lead one to think that cultural evolutionary theories cast humans in a passive role. Developmental systems theory may present the most likely site for a full reconciliation between social anthropology and cultural evolutionary theory.
Tim Lewens is reader in philosophy of the sciences at the University of Cambridge, where he is also a fellow of Clare College. His previous publications include Darwin (Routledge, 2007) and Organisms and Artifacts: Design in Nature and Elsewhere (The MIT Press, 2004).
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