Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Generative entrenchment and an evolutionary developmental biology for culture

William C. Wimsatt a1
a1 Philosophy and Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637.

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Mesoudi et al.'s new synthesis for cultural evolution closely parallels the evolutionary synthesis of Neo-Darwinism. It too draws inspiration from population genetics, recruits other fields, and, unfortunately, also ignores development. Enculturation involves many serially acquired skills and dependencies that allow us to build a rich cumulative culture. The newer synthesis, evolutionary developmental biology, provides a key tool, generative entrenchment, to analyze them.

(Published Online November 9 2006)