Ellen Fridland - 'Do as I say and as I do'

Address48-51 Broad Street
AtBlackwell's Bookshop
CountyOxfordshire (GB108)

48-51 Broad Street
Blackwell's Bookshop
Oxfordshire (GB108)
Tel 2017-05-31
Categoria Events

The next Oxford Brookes public philosophy lecture of this academic year supported by the Royal Institute of Philosophy will take place on Wednesday 31st May at 7.00 p.m. at Blackwell's bookshop on Broad Street Oxford. This event is free and open to all. Dr Ellen Fridland from King's College London works on the Philosophy of Mind/Cognitive Science and knowledge, and her primary research interests lie in know-how and the nature of skills. Abstract: Do as I say and as I do: imitation, pedagogy, and cumulative culture How do we account for the richness, sophistication and diversity of human culture? Several theories, which attempt to give an account of cumulative culture emphasize the importance of high-fidelity transmission mechanisms such as imitation and teaching as central to human learning (Boyd and Richerson 1985; Galef 1992; Tomasello, 1994).

These high-fidelity transmission mechanisms are thought to account for the ratchet effect, that is, the capacity to inherit modified or improved knowledge and skills rather than having to develop one’s skills from the ground up via individual learning. In this capacity, imitation and teaching have been thought to occupy a special place in the explanation of cumulative culture because they are thought to both function as high-fidelity transmission mechanisms (e.g, Boyd and Richerson; 1985Galef 1992; Tomasello 1994; Richerson and Boyd 2005; Thornton and Raihani, 2008; Fogarty et al. 2011; Moore 2016). In contrast to this standard view, I will argue that imitation and teaching are not both best construed as primarily high-fidelity transmission mechanisms. Rather, I’ll argue that though both can contribute to the high-fidelity transmission of information, imitation and teaching make two distinct contributions to cumulative culture.
I will claim that imitation functions primarily as a high-fidelity transmission mechanism while teaching is primarily responsible for the innovation and creativity characteristic of cumulative culture.

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