Evolution and Human Culture argues that values, beliefs, and practices are expressions of individual and shared moral sentiments. Much of our cultural production stems from what in early hominins was a caring tendency, both the care to share and a self-care to challenge others. Topics cover prehistory, mind, biology, morality, comparative primatology, art, and aesthetics. The book is valuable to students and scholars in the arts, including moral philosophers, who would benefit from reading about scientific developments that impact their fields. For biologists and social scientists the book provides a window into how scientific research contributes to understanding the arts and humanities. The take-home point is that culture does not transcend nature; rather, culture is an evolved moral behavior.
Gregory F. Tague is a professor of English at St. Francis College, N.Y. His most recent book is Making Mind: Moral Sense and Consciousness. Other books include Character and Consciousness and Ethos and Behavior.
"Evolution and Human Culture is a milestone piece bringing together philosophy, the sciences and the arts in an original and stimulating read. Culture, art, morality and evolution – a striking unification that is unique to this work." – Kathryn Francis, Fellow, CogNovo Institute, Plymouth University, UK
"Evolution and Human Culture provides a very well written account of evolutionary theory across the spectrum of relevant disciplines ... addressing ... the most challenging questions that face humankind." – Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Ph.D., Professor of drama and consciousness studies, University of Lincoln, UK
"Between the age-old outposts maintained by the humanities and the biological sciences lies a vast wilderness where culture and biology form a dense and inter-tangled forest. If you’ve had the feeling that you need to leave your safe and comfortable outpost and venture into this forest in order to truly understand the unique role that culture has played in the evolution of the human species, Gregory F. Tague’s Evolution & Human Culture is your map of that wilderness. A native of the humanities but also a frequent envoy to the biological sciences, Professor Tague has mapped out the paths taken by anthropologists, primatologists, evolutionary psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers who have traveled where human culture and human biology intersect. Different disciplines have discovered different areas of this biocultural landscape and have returned with different ideas; Evolution & Human Culture provides an impressively-complete account of these diverse explorations. An intrepid explorer himself, Professor Tague provides his own take on the importance of culture to human evolution — that culture emerged as a means of creating and maintaining the norms that enable us to be so highly cooperative — but only after laying out the full spectrum of perspectives so clearly that he enables his reader to entertain interpretations differing from his own." – Christopher X J. Jensen, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Ecology & Evolution, Pratt Institute
Chapter One. Prehistory and Mind
Chapter Two. Biology and Morality as Interrelated
Chapter Three. Culture and Evolution
Chapter Four. Art and Aesthetics as Moral Cognition
Humanists and philosophers curious about how evolutionary science sheds light on their disciplines will especially benefit from Evolution and Human Culture. Also: Biologists, social scientists, cognitive scientists.