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Evolution, Mind and Culture - PHL249

This unit is devoted to examining the ways in which evolutionary biology can shed light on the nature of the human mind and culture. The unit begins with an introduction to evolutionary theory and a discussion of some foundational issues concerning its nature and structure. It explains its central concepts such as natural selection, fitness, adaption, and units of selection. It will also debate current modifications to evolutionary theory, such as evolutionary developmental biology, niche construction and the so called Extended Synthesis. A substantial part of the unit, however, involves investigating extensions of evolutionary theory to the explanation of human mind and culture. In particular, recent theories of cultural and cognitive evolution such as Evolutionary Psychology, gene-culture coevolution, and cognitive-developmental niche construction will be examined in detail. Issues, such as the ambitions and limitations of evolutionary explanations of human ethical and sexual behaviour will also be discussed. No background in biology or science is assumed.

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

S2 Day - Session 2, North Ryde, Day

S2 External - Session 2, External (On-campus sessions: None)

Staff Contact(s): Dr Karola Stotz

(12cp at 100 level or above) or admission to GDipArts Prerequisite Information


NCCW(s): PHIL249
Unit Designation(s):


Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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