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Thorstein Veblen's Darwinian framework and gene-culture coevolution theory

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At the turn of the previous century, Thorstein Veblen used Darwinian evolutionary principles to explain the macro-historical evolution of human societies, as well as the institutional structure of the modern pecuniary culture. Even if Veblen had a strong intuitive grasp of the evolutionary forces operating in society, he was not always clear and explicit in developing his ideas towards a full-fledged, consistent evolutionary social theory. This paper argues that a relatively recent theoretical approach, gene-culture coevolution theory, has the conceptual apparatus to remedy this problem and thus make Veblen's ideas an important part of contemporary evolutionary thinking in social theory.
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Keywords: B15; B31; B52; Darwinian theory; Thorstein Veblen; Z13; cultural evolution; dual inheritance; gene-culture coevolution

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 3, 2016

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