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LINGUIST List 21.3248

Wed Aug 11 2010

Books: Sociolinguistics: Distin

Editor for this issue: Maria Moreno-Rollins <marialinguistlist.org>


Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.
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        1.    Daniel Davies, Cultural Evolution: Distin

Message 1: Cultural Evolution: Distin
Date: 11-Aug-2010
From: Daniel Davies <ddaviescambridge.org>
Subject: Cultural Evolution: Distin
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Title: Cultural Evolution
Published: 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
                http://us.cambridge.org

Book URL: http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780511784255

Author: Kate Distin
Electronic: ISBN: 9780511784255 Pages: 280 Price: U.S. $ 22.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9780521769013 Pages: 280 Price: U.K. £ 55.00
Paperback: ISBN: 9780521189712 Pages: 280 Price: U.K. £ 17.99
Abstract:

In this book, Kate Distin proposes a theory of cultural evolution and shows
how it can help us to understand the origin and development of human
culture. Distin introduces the concept that humans share information not only
in natural languages, which are spoken or signed, but also in artefactual
languages like writing and musical notation, which use media that are made
by humans. Languages enable humans to receive and transmit variations in
cultural information and resources. In this way, they provide the mechanism
for cultural evolution. The human capacity for metarepresentation - thinking
about how we think - accelerates cultural evolution, because it frees cultural
information from the conceptual limitations of each individual language. Distin
shows how the concept of cultural evolution outlined in this book can help us
to understand the complexity and diversity of human culture, relating her
theory to a range of subjects including economics, linguistics, and
developmental biology.

- Explains the origin of culture as the product of both natural and artefactual
languages
- Introduces a powerful new conceptual tool, namely the distinction
between natural and artefactual languages
- Presents evidence, from a range of academic disciplines, that cultural
evolution is a defensible theory with genuine explanatory value

Contents

1. Introduction: small consequences of one general law;
Part I. The Inheritance of Cultural Information:
2. What is information?;
3. How is information inherited?;
Part II. The Inheritance of Cultural Information: Natural Language:
4. Natural language and culture: the biological building blocks;
5. How did natural language evolve? Language, thought, and culture;
Part III. In Inheritance of Cultural Information: Artefactual Language:
7. How did artefactual language evolve?;
8. Artefactual language, representation and culture;
9. Money: an artefactual language;
10. Money: the explanatory power of artefactual languages;
Part III. The Receivers of Cultural Information:
11. How does human diversity affect cultural evolution?;
Part IV. The Expression of Cultural Information:
12. Aspects of the cultural ecology;
13. Patterns of cultural taxonomy;
14. Conclusion: a representational understanding of cultural evolution;
Appendix: what about memetics?


Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Written In: English (eng )

See this book announcement on our website:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=49781


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