Explaining culture. A constraint-based approach
Acosta Calvo, Josu
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The three main naturalistic approaches to culture¿the Epidemiological account (Sperber 1996; Atran 1990, 2002; Sperber and Claidière 2006), Memetics (Dawkins 2006 , Dennett 1996) and the Standard Evolutionary approach (Boyd and Richerson 1988 , Mesoudi 2011)¿reduce it to a set of representational items that are shared by individuals in a population by non-genetic means. That¿s why I see those three approaches as versions of what I call the ¿Itemic View of Culture¿ (IVC). I argue that, by that reduction, the IVC is missing a key element in the subject matter of culture: an element that is best captured by the notion of constraints (Barwise and Perry 1983). I call my approach the ¿Constraint-Based Approach¿ (CBA), and I conceive it as an account that situates conventional constraints, and the simple attunement to those constraints by individuals, as the fundamental building blocks of culture. On their grounds, other kinds of attunements can be distinguished, and a natural account of explicit representational items and our cultural knowledge of them can be built. In this sense, the CBA is a necessary fundamental requirement for the IVC.