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Social Intelligence, Human Intelligence and Niche Construction

Sterelny, Kim

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This paper is about the evolution of hominin intelligence. I agree with defenders of the social intelligence hypothesis in thinking that externalist models of hominin intelligence are not plausible: such models cannot explain the unique cognition and cooperation explosion in our lineage, for changes in the external environment (e.g. increasing environmental unpredictability) affect many lineages. Both the social intelligence hypothesis and the social intelligence-ecological complexity hybrid I...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorSterelny, Kim
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-07T22:48:10Z
dc.identifier.issn0962-8436
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/26376
dc.description.abstractThis paper is about the evolution of hominin intelligence. I agree with defenders of the social intelligence hypothesis in thinking that externalist models of hominin intelligence are not plausible: such models cannot explain the unique cognition and cooperation explosion in our lineage, for changes in the external environment (e.g. increasing environmental unpredictability) affect many lineages. Both the social intelligence hypothesis and the social intelligence-ecological complexity hybrid I outline here are niche construction models. Hominin evolution is hominin response to selective environments that earlier hominins have made. In contrast to social intelligence models, I argue that hominins have both created and responded to a unique foraging mode; a mode that is both social in itself and which has further effects on hominin social environments. In contrast to some social intelligence models, on this view, hominin encounters with their ecological environments continue to have profound selective effects. However, though the ecological environment selects, it does not select on its own. Accidents and their consequences, differential success and failure, result from the combination of the ecological environment an agent faces and the social features that enhance some opportunities and suppress others and that exacerbate some dangers and lessen others. Individuals do not face the ecological filters on their environment alone, but with others, and with the technology, information and misinformation that their social world provides.
dc.publisherRoyal Society of London
dc.sourcePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B
dc.subjectKeywords: cognition; environmental change; niche; reciprocity; social behavior; conference paper; cooperation; evolution; human; intelligence; social behavior; social environment; theoretical model; Cooperative Behavior; Evolution; Humans; Intelligence; Models, The Division of labour; Evolution of cooperation; Niche construction; Social intelligence; Strong reciprocity
dc.titleSocial Intelligence, Human Intelligence and Niche Construction
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume362
dc.date.issued2007
local.identifier.absfor220312 - Philosophy of Cognition
local.identifier.absfor220399 - Philosophy not elsewhere classified
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4193773xPUB44
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationSterelny, Kim, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1480
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage719
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage730
local.identifier.doi10.1098/rstb.2006.2006
dc.date.updated2015-12-07T11:58:07Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-34447306627
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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