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An extended functionalist approach to memetics

Kaya, Utku
Memetics is a Darwinian approach to evolution of culture proposed in late 1970s. This thesis proposes an approach to Memetics, which is an effort to overcome some of the problems involved. It is argued in this thesis that units of cultural evolution are functional abstraction of physical reality and are realized within the boundaries of our cognitive processes. The boundaries of human cognitive processes are defined by Clark and Chalmers (1998) in their extended cognition hypothesis according to which, human cognition is understood as a part of the cultural environment. Therefore human cognition and cultural environment can best be understood by studying them together. As for identifying these units, an extended functionalist approach has been proposed and an empirical cultural transmission study has been conducted and explored in the thesis.