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Natural artificiality, niche construction, and the content-open mediation of human behavior

Honenberger, Phillip (2021) Natural artificiality, niche construction, and the content-open mediation of human behavior. [Preprint]

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Abstract

There are at least two senses in which human beings can be called “naturally artificial”: (1) being adapted for creation of and participation in niche constructed environments, and (2) being adapted for creation of and participation in such environments despite an exceptional indeterminacy in the details of the niche constructed environments themselves. The former puts human beings in a common category with many niche-constructing organisms while the latter is arguably distinctive of our species. I explain how this can be so by developing an account of supporting concepts of complexity, contingency, and content-openness, and show how to defend the position against a common style of objection by a single comparative case study: hermit crabs and their shells versus humans and their movable dwellings. Finally, I consider evidence that such a feature is indeed species-typical and evolved in human populations.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Honenberger, Phillipphilliphonenberger@gmail.com0000-0002-3910-6879
Keywords: human behavior; human evolution; artifacts; niche construction; complexity; plasticity; Marjorie Grene
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Action
Specific Sciences > Anthropology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
General Issues > Technology
Depositing User: Dr Phillip Honenberger
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2021 03:37
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2021 03:37
Item ID: 19723
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Action
Specific Sciences > Anthropology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cultural Evolution
General Issues > Technology
Date: 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19723

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