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Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition$
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Linnda R. Caporael, James R. Griesemer, and William C. Wimsatt

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019552

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019552.001.0001

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Evolution, Groups, and Scaffolded Minds

Evolution, Groups, and Scaffolded Minds

(p.57) 2 Evolution, Groups, and Scaffolded Minds
Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition

Linnda R. Caporael

The MIT Press

Humans are a fundamentally social species, unable to reproduce and survive to reproductive age without a group. Groups are a deeply entrenched and significant interface between individuals and habitats. This chapter describes a model for the evolution of dynamic hierarchical structure in face-to-face groups. It posits four core configurations, repeatedly assembled in human evolution as well in intergenerational development. Core configurations are based on the conjunction of bodily form, subgroup size and persistent basic tasks. The overarching hypothesis of the model is that core configurations reciprocally scaffold the evolution, modern extension, and development of human mental systems which are materialized in the interrelations of bodily form, persistent tasks, and the ecology and culture of evolving humans. The overall selective advantage of evolution for sociality is the coordination of activity and the acquisition, reproduction, maintenance and innovation of resources, including information, knowledge, and practices within and between generations.

Keywords:   coordination, cultural inheritance, demic structure, developmental system, epistemic project, group selection, large-scale society, mother-infant scaffolding, repeated assembly, social evolution

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