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Mixed MessagesCultural and Genetic Inheritance in the Constitution of Human Society$
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Robert A. Paul

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226240725

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241050.001.0001

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Introduction: The Social Consequences of Dual Inheritance

Introduction: The Social Consequences of Dual Inheritance

(p.1) Introduction: The Social Consequences of Dual Inheritance
Mixed Messages

Robert A. Paul

University of Chicago Press

Dual inheritance is an empirical fact: humans are reproduced by a combination of genetically and culturally transmitted information. A theory of dual inheritance has been developed by a number of contributors, among the most important of whom are Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd, that extends ideas from evolutionary biology to encompass cultural information in a way that recognizes the partial independence of the cultural from the genetic channel. The complementary approach of this book investigates the differences between the two channels of inheritance from a theoretical standpoint grounded in social and cultural anthropology, and uses comparative ethnography to demonstrate how the observed differences can be seen to manifest themselves in actual socio-cultural systems encountered in the ethnographic record. Though the approach used in this book owes much to Richerson and Boyd it differs from it in a few key respects as well as subsequent chapters will show.

Keywords:   dual inheritance, dual inheritance theory, evolutionary biology, cultural information, comparative ethnography, Peter Richerson, Robert Boyd

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