The Evolution of Human Sociality
Jordan Zlatev (Centre for Cognitive Semiotics, Lund)
There are at least two common senses of the term ‘evolution’: (1) change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift; (2) a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions. While often regarded as unrelated, both are needed for an evolutionary theory that combines biology and culture. Two attempts at this are Donald’s (1991) macro-evolutionary theory and Richerson and Boyd’s (2005) Cultural Darwinism. I use these in addressing one of the major puzzles in evolutionary theory: the emergence of human-scale sociality. Three key features of this are intersubjectvity (empathy), morality, and language. A co-evolutionary scenario of these features, relying on multi-level selection (MLS) is proposed.