Genes, Mind, and Culture : The Coevolutionary Process by Charles J. Lumsden and Edward O. Wilson
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1981. Hardcover. 428 pages ; 25 cm. In original dust jacket with clean and unmarked pages. Binding is firm.
Charles J. Lumsden and Edward O. Wilson
GENES, MIND, AND CULTURE : The Coevolutionary Process
Genes, Mind, and Culture offers a bold and highly original step toward the unification of biology and the social sciences. This is a much more intellectually demanding book than the previous major works on human sociobiology, yet it proceeds from a remarkably straightforward premise: that to understand the coupling of genetic and cultural evolution, one must look within the process of individual mental and behavioral development.
For the first time Lumsden and Wilson systematically analyze the rich and sophisticated data of developmental and cognitive psychology in a fashion that aligns these disciplines with modern evolutionary biology. The authors also draw on population genetics, cultural anthropology, and mathematical physics to establish the main steps that lead from the genes through the assembly of the mind to culture. Lumsden and Wilson demonstrate that the impact of any unit of culture on thought and behavior is biased by sensory filters and distinctive processes of cognition. Thus mind and the cultural agenda are neither arbitrary nor predetermined, but created by the tightly coupled evolution of genes and culture. By analyzing this reciprocating process, we can now identify the mechanisms that produce the upward translation from genes to culture and extract predictions about the properties of genetic evolution within particular cultural patterns.
This is an important book, and one that is certain to engender controversy. It offers a unique confluence of ideas, and an unprecedented catalyst for an exchange between biology and the social sciences. Genes, Mind, and Culture marks a turning point for both fields of endeavor.
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