Olivier Morin

Exit Ghost?

Biological Reviews publishes a 25-authors paper lead by Simon Townsend and titled "Exorcising Grice’s ghost: an empirical approach to studying intentional communication in animals." I was quite amazed to find such a huge number of authors coming together from different horizons, and agreeing to ...

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“I can’t believe it’s evolutionary psychology!”

Back in the days when vegetarianism was less fashionable, you could see ads for tofu where a glowing child, her mouth full, exclaimed: “I can’t believe it’s tofu!” One should hope this book will have the same effect on scholars not used to putting Evolutionary Psychology on the dinner ...

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The tale of the three-headed snail

David Wengrow opens his fascinating book with a conjecture that he attributes to cultural epidemiologists (not without good reasons): composite animals are “minimally counter-intuitive” and thus, some monsters enjoy a supplement of cultural success by virtue of being composites (and not because ...

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‘Speaking Our Minds’ Book Club June-July 2015

From mid-June to mid-July 2015, the ICCI website has hosted a Book Club devoted to Thom Scott-Phillips’ book, Speaking Our Mind. The book has received positive reviews in various media, including the Times Literary Supplement (read Richard Moore's review here), and has been called "an amazing ...

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No communication without reputation, no reputation without communication

I chose to organise an ICCI book club around Speaking Our Minds because it is an exceptional book in more than one way. It ties together two research traditions¬—the pragmatic approach to linguistics and the Darwinian legacy in biology—, that lie at the heart of our field. It does so in a ...

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‘Speaking Our Minds’ Book Club

We are thrilled to open our second book club, devoted to Thom Scott-Phillips’ book Speaking Our Minds: Why human communication is different, and how language evolved to make it special. The book has received positive reviews in various media, including the Times Literary Supplement (read ...

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Cultural Evolution at the Santa Fe Institute

Last May, Daniel Dennett gathered, at the Santa Fe Institute, a handful of people who have written about cultural evolution. The general impression was that (as he tweeted some time later) "the meeting revealed a lot of unexpected comon ground". The International Cognition and Culture Institute is ...

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Olivier Morin

These are Olivier Morin's remarks on the workshop on cultural evolution convened by Dan Dennett in Santa Fe in May 2014. Dennett's introduction is here. *** Here is my 200% subjective summary of the main points of agreement (and some disagreements) touched upon in our (to me quite unforgettab...

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Alberto Acerbi on cultural evolution

Alberto Acerbi's excellent blog hosts a noteworthy discussion of Claidière, Scott-Phillips and Sperber's recent PTRS paper on cultural attraction. Alex Mesoudi, Thom Scott-Phillips and Dan Speber joined the discussion; Alberto concluded it.

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‘Big Gods’ book club #1 — Skeptical thoughts

Be that as it may, I am tempted to read this précis as an attempt to stress the political consequences of the birth of moral religions. We all agree (don't we?) that they were huge, especially in the long term — and growing more substantial as more and more people on the planet become exposed to ...

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Robin Dunbar vs. Pop Dunbar

This post is part of a Webinar, Debating Dunbar's Number. Part 1 — Part 2 — Part 3 While reading the stimulating critique of Robin Dunbar's social brain hypothesis recently published by Jan de Ruiter and his colleagues, my first reaction was: "Straw man!". On ...

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A debate on Robin Dunbar’s social brain hypothesis

  This post is part of a Webinar, Debating Dunbar's Number. Part 1 — Part 2 — Part 3   Some months ago, an article by Jan de Ruiter, Gavin Weston and Stephen Lyon appeared in American Anthropologist. The paper's target is Robin Dunbar's Social brain ...

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