Contemporary Evolutionary Theories of Culture and the Study of Religion.pdf
Radek Kundt explores the limitations of cultural evolution and examines how and why it is counterproductive to apply the neo-Darwinian theory of natural selection to culture. He argues that cultural change is substantially different from biological change and even though biological evolution influences cultural change, it does not guide it nor can it explain it. Contemporary Evolutionary Theories of Culture and the Study of Religion shows that cultural evolution is not a legitimate extension of evolutionary theory since such approaches either distort the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution or forcibly adjust the phenomena they aim to explain. The author argues that the notion of evolution of culture is an incorrect and confusing analogy for what might better be called history, cultural change, development or historical development of cultural phenomena, including religious phenomena. Furthermore, he argues that on the other hand, there does exist a moderate, "safe" and very enriching application of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory to a study of culture and Kundt identifies its strengths and weaknesses and its ability to explain religious phenomena.
Radek Kundt is Assistant Professor in the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Czech Republic, where he also acts as Director of LEVYNA - Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion.
Preface Introduction Part 1: Classical Cultural Evolutionism 1. Classical Cultural Evolutionism and the Origins of Religious Studies 2. Critique of Classical Cultural Evolutionism Part 2: Contemporary Cultural Evolutionism 3. Group Selection Accounts 4. Dual Inheritance Accounts 5. Memetic Accounts Part 3: Evolutionary Study of Culture Without Cultural Evolution 6. EWCE Approach in Religious Studies Conclusion Bibliography Index