•  253
    From Past to Present: The Deep History of Kinship
    In Integrating Qualitative and Social Science Factors in Archaeological Modelling, . pp. 137-162. 2019.
    The term “deep history” refers to historical accounts framed temporally not by the advent of a written record but by evolutionary events (Smail 2008; Shryock and Smail 2011). The presumption of deep history is that the events of today have a history that traces back beyond written history to events in the evolutionary past. For human kinship, though, even forming a history of kinship, let alone a deep history, remains problematic, given limited, relevant data (Trautman et al. 2011). With regard…Read more
  •  4
    The evolution from pre-human primates to modern Homo sapiens is a complex one involving many domains, ranging from the material to the social to the cognitive, both at the individual and the community levels. This article focuses on a critical qualitative transition that took place during this evolution involving both the social and the cognitive domains. For the social domain, the transition is from the face-to-face forms of social interaction and organization that characterize the non-human pr…Read more
  •  19
    Is cultural group selection enough?
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39. 2016.
    © Cambridge University Press 2016.Richerson et al. propose cultural group selection as the basis for understanding the evolution of cultural systems. Their proposal does not take into account the nature of cultural idea systems as being constituted at an organizational rather than an individual level. The sealing partners of the Netsilik Inuit exemplify the problem with their account.
  •  75
    Cognition, Algebra, and Culture in the Tongan Kinship Terminology
    with Giovanni Bennardo
    Journal of Cognition and Culture 7 (1-2): 49-88. 2007.
    We present an algebraic account of the Tongan kinship terminology (TKT) that provides an insightful journey into the fabric of Tongan culture. We begin with the ethnographic account of a social event. The account provides us with the activities of that day and the centrality of kin relations in the event, but it does not inform us of the conceptual system that the participants bring with them. Rather, it is a slice in time of an ongoing dynamic process that links behavior with a conceptual syste…Read more
  •  6
    The objectivity of moral norms is a top-down cultural construct
    with Burton Voorhees and Liane Gabora
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41. 2018.
  •  31
    Learning natural numbers is conceptually different than learning counting numbers
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (6): 667-668. 2008.
    How children learn number concepts reflects the conceptual and logical distinction between counting numbers, based on a same-size concept for collections of objects, and natural numbers, constructed as an algebra defined by the Peano axioms for arithmetic. Cross-cultural research illustrates the cultural specificity of counting number systems, and hence the cultural context must be taken into account
  •  32
    Can There be Cognitive Science Without Anthropology?
    with Fadwa El Guindi
    Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (1): 144-145. 2014.
  •  58
    Subjective experience is transformed into objective reality for societal members through cultural idea systems that can be represented with theory and data models. A theory model shows relationships and their logical implications that structure a cultural idea system. A data model expresses patterning found in ethnographic observations regarding the behavioral implementation of cultural idea systems. An example of this duality for modeling cultural idea systems is illustrated with Arabic proverb…Read more
  •  7
    Human Thought and Social Organization
    with Murray Leaf
    Lexington Books. 2012.
    Human beings, as a species, have two outstanding characteristics compared to all other species: the apparently enormous elaboration of our thought through language and symbolism, and the elaboration of our forms of social organization. The obvious question is whether these two characteristics are connected. ... Our view is that they are connected intimately. Thought and social organization are two aspects of the same larger phenomenon, or better the same larger bundle of phenomena. ... Here we b…Read more
  •  5
    The evolutionary trajectory from non-human to human forms of social organization involves change from experiential- to relational-based systems of social interaction. Social organization derived from biologically and experientially grounded social interaction reached a hiatus with the great apes due to an expansion of individualization of behaviour. The hiatus ended with the introduction of relational-based social interaction, culminating in social organization based on cultural kinship. This ev…Read more
  •  31
    The algebraic logic of kinship terminology structures
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (5): 399-401. 2010.
    Jones' proposed application of Optimality Theory assumes the primary kinship data are genealogical definitions of kin terms. This, however, ignores the fact that these definitions can be predicted from the computational, algebralike structural logic of kinship terminologies, as has been discussed and demonstrated in numerous publications. The richness of human kinship systems derives from the cultural knowledge embedded in kinship terminologies as symbolic computation systems, not the post hoc c…Read more
  •  94
    Cultural evolution is not equivalent to Darwinian evolution
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4): 361-361. 2006.
    Darwinian evolution, defined as evolution arising from selection based directly on the properties of individuals, does not account for cultural constructs providing the organizational basis of human societies. The difficulty with linking Darwinian evolution to structural properties of cultural constructs is exemplified with kinship terminologies, a cultural construct that structures and delineates the domain of kin in human societies. (Published Online November 9 2006).
  •  17
    The rich detail of cultural symbol systems
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (4): 434-435. 2014.
    The goal of forming a science of intentional behavior requires a more richly detailed account of symbolic systems than is assumed by the authors. Cultural systems are not simply the equivalent in the ideational domain of culture of the purported Baldwin Effect in the genetic domain. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.
  •  35
    Culture: The missing piece in theories of weak and strong reciprocity
    with Francesco Guala
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1): 35. 2012.
    Guala does not go far enough in his critique of the assumption that human decisions about sharing made in the context of experimental game conditions accurately reflect decision-making under real conditions. Sharing of hunted animals is constrained by cultural rules and is not as assumed in models of weak and strong reciprocity. Missing in these models is the cultural basis of sharing that makes it a group property rather than an individual one