Daniel Dennett: Darwin, Quasi-Darwianian, Pseudo-Darwinian phenomena in Cultural Evolution?
The blurb reads:
To what extent—if at all—is cultural evolution governed by "Darwinian" algorithms of natural selection? I have been a champion of the "meme's eye" perspective on culture for several decades, and encountered huge resistance, most of it hysterical and confused, but with some serious exceptions. Work by Boyd and Richerson, Pagel, Sperber, Laland and others provides valuable alternative perspectives, and perhaps the time is right for a taxonomy of sorts. Peter Godfrey Smith's recent book, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, provides a useful thinking tool: a multi-dimensional "Darwinian Space" in which phenomena can be located. He neglects to apply this tool to cultural evolution, which is a task I am now embarking on. (See the brief discussion in "Homunculi Rule," my commentary on Godfrey Smith's book.) This will be an introduction to the questions and a request for help from those at SFI who are more adept model-mongers than I am.