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J Theor Biol. 1991 Aug 21;151(4):467-507.

Four analogies between biological and cultural/linguistic evolution.

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University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


The intricate phenomena of biology on the one hand, and language and culture on the other, have inspired many writers to draw analogies between these two evolutionary systems. These analogies can be divided into four principal types: species/language, organism/concept, genes/culture, and cell/person. Here, it is argued that the last analogy--between cells and persons--is the most profound in several respects, and, more importantly, can be used to generate a number of empirical predictions. In the first half of the paper, the four analogies are each evaluated after briefly describing criteria for a good predictive analogy. In the second half of the paper, the cell/person analogy and predictions deriving from it are explored in detail.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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