Monthly Archives: September 2015

New paper/Nouvelle publication

My paper ‘All innovations are equal, but some more than others: (Re)integrating modification processes to the origins of cumulative culture’ has been published in Biological Theory. (pdf)

Mon article ‘All innovations are equal, but some more than others: (Re)integrating modification processes to the origins of cumulative culture’ a été publié dans Biological Theory. (pdf)

The cumulative open-endedness of human cultures represents a major break with the social traditions of nonhuman species. As traditions are altered and the modifications retained along the cultural lineage, human populations are capable of producing complex traits that no individual could have figured out on its own. For cultures to produce increasingly complex traditions, improvements and modifications must be kept for the next generations to build upon them. High-fidelity transmission would thus act as a ratchet, retaining modifications and allowing the historical build-up of complex traditions. Mechanisms acting against slippage are important, of course, but cultures also need to move forward for the ratchet to retain anything valuable. In this paper, I argue that studies of modification-generating processes and the many ways they shape cumulative culture have been overlooked. Key to a better understanding of cultural modification processes is taking seriously that cultural traditions consist of complex, hierarchically-structured recipes. Taking such structures seriously and assessing the different ways they can vary in cultural design space, a novel picture for the onset of cumulative cultural evolution emerges. I argue that a possible impediment for cumulative culture in non-human animals may in fact reside not so much on the fidelity of their social transmission but rather on the constraints, internal and external, of their capacity to modify complex, hierarchically-structured cultural recipes.

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New postdoc/Nouveau postdoc

From September 2015 to August 2017, I will be pursuing a Technology Studies PostDoc at the Central European University (CEU), in Budapest. My project is part of the Science Studies Program and concerns distributed cognition in science. My research will focus on the diachronic aspects of the formation, transformation, and dissolution of distributed cognitive systems in science, especially in paleoarchaeological research, and the role of the introduction of novel technologies (e.g., objective dating methods, computers, etc.) in changing such systems. I am currently affiliated with both the Philosophy and Cognitive Science departments. Moreover, I am now a member of the Social Mind Center (Somics) also based at the CEU.

De septembre 2015 à août 2017, je serai chercheur post-doctoral en Technology Studies à la Central European University (CEU), à Budapest. Mon projet s’intègre au Science Studies Program et concerne la cognition distribuée en science. Ma recherche focalise sur les aspects diachroniques de la formation, transformation, et dissolution de systèmes de cognition distribuée en science, et plus particulièrement en paléoarchéologie. De plus, je m’intéresse au rôle de l’introduction de nouvelles technologies (ex: méthodes de datation objectives, ordinateurs, etc.) comme agents de transformation de ces systèmes de cognition distribuée. Je suis actuellement affilié aux départements de Philosophie et de Sciences Cognitives. De plus, je suis également membre du Social Mind Center (Somics), lui-aussi au CEU.

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