Research project

Darwinizing culture: The status of cultural evolutionary theory as a science

To what extent can we trust methods devised for understanding biological phenomena, if these are applied to the realm of culture?

Darwinizing culture

The last couple of decades has witnessed a surge of attempts to Darwinize the cultural sciences. By applying biological theories and tools to cultural phenomena (e.g., cultural diversity, cultural revolutions), cultural evolutionists purport to make the study of culture a more progressive and more rigorous enterprise. Although their work has caught on astonishingly rapidly, and although it has faced several in principle objections, it hasn’t yet been subjected to thorough methodological criticism. In that light, exploiting the tools provided by the philosophy of science, the VIDI programme aims to answer the following question: To what extent can we trust methods devised for understanding biological phenomena, if these are applied to the realm of culture?

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Project information

Funding program: NWO Responsible Innovation

Staff involved at TU/e 

  • dr. ir. K. Vaesen (P&E - project coordinator) 

  • dr. A. Acerbi (P&E)

  • dr. E. Boon (P&E)