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Scientiae Studia

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Abstract

BARAVALLE, Lorenzo. A função adaptativa da transmissão cultural. Sci. stud. [online]. 2012, vol.10, n.2, pp. 269-295. ISSN 1678-3166.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-31662012000200004.

The main objective of this study is to suggest how we can explain cultural transmission within a general evolutionary, naturalistically acceptable, framework. To do so, I will begin by reconsidering the two major theories that have been proposed for the same purpose, namely, sociobiology and memetics. Regarding sociobiology, I will preserve the idea that the origin of cultural traits lies in a biological adaptation. Regarding the second theory, I will accept that there is a sense in which cultural traits are adapted that differs from simple "increase of biological fitness". The second objective, closely related to the first, is to explain why certain cultural phenomena that are not biologically adaptive, called maladaptations, remain, and thus to provide an adaptationist, but not genocentric, interpretive framework for understanding cultural dynamics. In order to articulate my thesis in an original proposal, I will use the ideas of Boyd and Richerson and introduce the distinction between first order and second order adaptations.

Keywords : Adaptacionism; Sociobiology; Meme; Cultural variable; Maladaptation; Second order adaptation.

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