Culture and Transitions in Individuality

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Abrantes, Paulo
conference paper description
Some "major" evolutionary transitions have been described as transitions in individuality. In this depiction, natural selection might bring about new kinds of individuals, whose evolutionary dynamics takes place in a novel way. Using a categorization proposed by Godfrey-Smith (2009), this transition is fully accomplished when a new "paradigmatic" Darwinian population emerges. In this paper I investigate whether at some point in the evolution in the hominin lineage a transition of this kind might have happened, by assuming some of the theses of dual inheritance theory, especially about the role played by a conformist bias. I argue that Godfrey-Smith misses in his book a scenario in which conformism is one of the preconditions for a transition towards a Darwinian population of cultural groups.