The Evolved Apprentice Model: Scope and Limits

Kim Sterelny*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Downes, Gerrans, and Sutton all raise important issues for the account of human social learning and cooperation developed in The Evolved Apprentice. Downes suggests that I have bought too uncritically into the view that hunting was economically critical to forager life; I remain unpersuaded, while conceding something to the alternative view that hunting was signaling. Downes also suggests that I consider extending the evolved apprentice model to contemporary issues in social epistemology; I wonder whether that might make the model so general that it loses explanatory force. Gerrans probes the model on the relationship between social learning and imitation; I respond by arguing that imitation became important relatively late in the human social learning career, probably via learning to communicate via gesture. Sutton wonders whether the model of social learning developed is too intellectualist and individualist; I respond by emphasizing the varied task demands in different domains, and the change over time of the different elements involved in social learning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-43
    Number of pages7
    JournalBiological Theory
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


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