Darwin's Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0691151182
ISBN-10: 0691151180
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Frequently bought together

  • Darwin's Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind
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  • The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter
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  • A Different Kind of Animal: How Culture Transformed Our Species (University Center for Human Values)
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Editorial Reviews

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"Darwin was certainly aware of the importance of human culture, but under Mr. Laland's sophisticated interpretation, cultural innovations did not merely respond to environmental challenges but also helped create the elaborate surroundings within which natural selection made us what we are today. Besides illuminating the interaction between biological and cultural evolution, he gives suitable attention to recent discoveries in the new field of ‘cognitive ethology,' which has revealed astounding mental capacities on the part of our animal relatives. . . . Mr. Laland is one of those rare biologists who have personally studied the processes--notably in fishes and rats--whereby animals learn and transmit their learning and who has also applied mathematical models to the spread of cultural traditions among human beings and other species. The evolution of learning is a well-trodden research path, but Darwin's Unfinished Symphony may be the first book-length integrated account of the evolution of teaching."---David Barash, Wall Street Journal

"Behavioural and evolutionary biologist, Kevin Laland shows how learned and socially transmitted activities of our ancestors shaped our intellectual abilities through accelerating cycles of evolutionary feedback. Drawing on his own research, Professor Laland explains how animals imitate, innovate, and have remarkable traditions of their own. . . . This engaging book will appeal to people who wish to understand human nature and civilization, whether philosophers, scientists and those with a curious mind."---Forbes.com,

"Winner of the 2017 British Psychological Society Book Awards, Best Academic Monograph"

"[B]rilliant."---Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, The Jerusalem Post

"Darwin's Unfinished Symphony is accessible to the general reader and well researched. It is an enjoyable and valuable place to begin or to top up your understanding of our enigmatic existence."---Mark Pagel, New Scientist

"Kevin Laland's ambitious new book is, to my mind, the best account yet. . . . A richly rewarding and powerfully argued book."---Steven Rose, Times Higher Education

"Winner of the 2018 PROSE Award in Biological Science, Association of American Publishers"

"A persuasively comprehensive account that not only brings forward exciting and thought-provoking new theses but is also accessible to a wider public."---Anders Klostergaard Petersen, Journal of Cognitive Historiography

"This well-researched book establishes how cognitive processes are essential for ‘cumulative' learning, finding links ‘between teaching, language, and cumulative culture.’ After years of studying human culture and the human mind, Laland concludes that other evolutionarily advanced animals do not possess human attributes, as is often claimed.", Choice

"As Laland reveals, human endeavour is a vast, cooperative effort that cannot be explained by natural selection alone. . . . Our success, he argues, is not down to language, tool-use, empathy or any other single factor, but rather a 'whirlpool' of cultural and biological processes. In this book, he scours the animal kingdom for clues to why we are a species apart."---Stuart Blackman, BBC Wildlife Magazine

Review

"A most enjoyable and rewarding book that investigates many of humans' greatest achievements―from language to art―from the perspective of animals and evolution. Ranging across many different topics, Laland brings together processes of biological and cultural evolution in unique and fascinating ways to explain what it means to be human."―Michael Tomasello, codirector of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
19 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2018
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Top international reviews

Stephen B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 25, 2018
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Matias Berg
5.0 out of 5 stars The unique mechanisms behind genetic and cultural co-evolution. Presenting the Big Picture
Reviewed in Germany on July 20, 2017
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antonio marsilio
4.0 out of 5 stars natura contro cultura
Reviewed in Italy on February 13, 2019
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Marco Ferrari
5.0 out of 5 stars Complesso e non facile
Reviewed in Italy on May 16, 2018
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Cliente de Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelente lectura
Reviewed in Mexico on September 29, 2017
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Adam Bell
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book up to the point where it focused ...
Reviewed in Canada on May 19, 2017
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Dr. Glockenspiel
4.0 out of 5 stars La symphonie inachevée de Darwin est de situer les capacités ...
Reviewed in Canada on December 4, 2017
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