Advertisement

Culture from the Perspective of Dual Inheritance

  • Robert A. Paul
Chapter
Part of the Culture, Mind, and Society book series (CMAS)

Abstract

This chapter presents a brief outline of the version of Dual Inheritance Theory developed at greater length in the author’s 2015 book, Mixed Messages: Cultural and Genetic Inheritance in the Constitution of Human Society. Accordingly, that which distinguishes humans from other social animals is a second form of trans-generational information transmission besides the genetic one, namely culture as it exists as symbolic codes external to the organisms who compose the society. While the genetic channel of inheritance is determined by the principles of inclusive fitness and reciprocal altruism, which limit the capacity of most or possibly all other animals to form large and complex societies, the human symbolic channel serves to complement and also to override the selfishness inherent in the genetic program and to create rules for marital exchange that allow identifications to go beyond closely related others, enabling individuals to affiliate with unrelated others in a prosocial way. Cultural symbolic codes thus allow human societies to create a generalized public arena, which is distinctive of our species. Some ethnographic examples of this are provided. The chapter concludes with a formulation of how culture, society, and individuals interact in human life.

References

  1. Akunin, Boris. 2007. Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  2. Boyd, Robert, and Peter J. Richerson. 1985. Culture and the Evolutionary Process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Carrithers, Michael. 1992. Why Humans Have Cultures: Explaining Anthropology and Social Diversity. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. deWaal, Frans. 2016. Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Durkheim, Emile. 1915. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  6. Fortes, Meyer. 1983. Rules and the Emergence of Society. London: Royal Anthropological Institute Occasional Papers 39.Google Scholar
  7. Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Gilmore, David D. 1987. Aggression and Community: Paradoxes of Andalusian Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gregor, Thomas. 1977. Mehinaku: The Drama of Everyday Life in a Brazilian Indian Village. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Haidt, Jonathan. 2012. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  11. Handwerker, W. Penn. 2015. Our Story: How Cultures Shaped People to Get Things Done. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.Google Scholar
  12. Henrich, Joseph. 2015. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making US Smarter. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hill, Kim. 2009. Animal “Culture”? In The Question of Animal Culture, ed. Kevin N. Laland and Bennet G. Galef, 269–287. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kroeber, Alfred L., and Clyde Kluckhohn. 1952. Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  15. Langer, Susanne. 1957. Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Levi-Strauss, Claude. 1969. The Elementary Structures of Kinship. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lewis, Gilbert. 1980. Day of Shining Red: An Essay in Understanding Ritual. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mauss, Marcel. 1990. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. New York: W. W. Norton (Originally Published in 1925 in French; First English Translation in 1954).Google Scholar
  19. Paul, Robert A. 2015. Mixed Messages: Cultural and Genetic Inheritance in the Constitution of Human Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Reynolds, Vernon. 1994. Kinship in Human and Non-Human Primates. In Hominid Culture in Primate Perspective, ed. Duane Quiatt and Junichiro Itani, 137–165. Niwot, CO: University of Colorado Press.Google Scholar
  21. Searle, John R. 2010. Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Shore, Bradd. 1996. Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Silk, Joan B., and Robert Boyd. 2010. From Grooming to Giving Blood. In Mind the Gap: Tracing the Origins of Human Universals, ed. Peter M. Kappeler and Joan B. Silk, 223–244. Heidelberg, Dordrecht, London and New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Spiro, Melford E. 1997. Gender Ideology and Psychological Reality: An Essay on Cultural Reproduction. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Trivers, Robert L. 1971. The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism. The Quarterly Review of Biology 36 (1): 45–57.Google Scholar
  26. Tylor, Edward B. 1871. Primitive Culture. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  27. Whitehead, Hal, and Luke Rendell. 2015. The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  28. Wilson, David Sloan. 2010. Multilevel Selection and Major Transitions. In Evolution: The Extended Synthesis, ed. Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd B. Muller, 81–93. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Paul
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations