FocusCo-evolution of genetics and culture
- Knowledge is … scope of manifest possibility
- Knowing is … viable activity
- Learner is … evolving agent (individual, social, cultural)
- Learning is … replicating patterns, copying
- Teaching is … manifesting, modeling
SynopsisDual Inheritance Theory aims to explain human activity in terms of two intertwined processes: biological evolution and cultural evolution. Concisely, changes at the genetic level can influence culture, and changes in culture can influence genetic selection.
CommentaryCriticisms of Dual Inheritance Theory have tended to be developed around concern that the association between biological evolution and cultural evolution may be, at best, an analogy – whereas proponents of the theory tend to treat it as literal.
Authors and/or Prominent InfluencesRichard Dawkins; E.O. Wilson
Status as a Theory of LearningDual Inheritance Theory can be construed as an attempt to make sense of the co-entanglement of two learning systems.
Status as a Theory of TeachingDual Inheritance Theory is not a theory of teaching, but proponents make frequent references to the role of teaching in cultural evolution.
Status as a Scientific TheoryNo systematic program of research has arisen around Dual Inheritance Theory, no doubt in part due to huge methodological complexities associated with making sense of cultural and biological dynamics simultaneously. These systems operate in very different physical and temporal scales. As well, considerable criticism has been leveled against some orienting assumptions, especially around efforts to generalize or transpose principles based on one domain of evolution onto another.
Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Dual Inheritance Theory” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.
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