In recent years an interest in applying the principles of evolution to the study of culture emerged in the social sciences. Archaeologists and anthropologists reconsidered the role of invation in particular, and have moved toward characterizing invation in cultural systems t only as a product but also as an evolutionary process. This distinction was familiar to biology but new to the social sciences; cultural evolutionists from the nineteenth to the twentieth century had tended to see invation as a preprogrammed change that occurred when a cultural group needed to overcome environmental problems. In this volume, leading researchers from a variety of disciplines--including anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, philosophy, and psychology--offer their perspectives on cultural invation. The book provides t only a range of views but also an integrated account, with the chapters offering an orderly progression of thought. The contributors consider invation in biological terms, discussing epistemology, animal studies, systematics and phylogeny, phetypic plasticity and evolvability, and evo-devo; they discuss modern insights into invation, including simulation, the random-copying model, diffusion, and demographic analysis; and they offer case studies of invation from archaeological and ethgraphic records, examining developmental, behavioral, and social patterns. ContributorsAndre Ariew, R. Alexander Bentley, Werner Callebaut, Joseph Henrich, Anne Kandler, Kevin N. Laland, Daniel O. Larson, Alex Mesoudi, Michael J. O'Brien, Craig T. Palmer, Adam Powell, Simon M. Reader, Valentine Roux, Chet Savage, Michael Brian Schiffer, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Stephen J. Shennan, James Steele, Mark G. Thomas, Todd L. VanPool
Stephen J. Shennan is Professor of Theoretical Archaeology and Director of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London.