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Darwin's Unfinished Symphony$
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Kevin N. Laland

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182810

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182810.001.0001

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Awe Without Wonder

Awe Without Wonder

(p.315) Epilogue Awe Without Wonder
Darwin's Unfinished Symphony

Kevin N. Laland

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter summarizes the major points achieved in the previous chapters and further reflects on this volume's findings about human culture. It considers why the evolution of culture proved difficult for researchers for the very same reasons as understanding the origins of the human mind has proved challenging to the broader scientific community. The human cultural capability did not evolve in isolation but in intricate coevolution with central aspects of cognition and behavior; including our language, teaching, intelligence, perspective-taking, powers of computation, cooperative tendencies, tool use, memory, and control of the environment. In struggling to understand the origins of culture, some light on the origins of the human mind, language, and intelligence might have been shed. Yet while all these efforts to better understand culture might have lessened the sense of wonderment one might feel at the scope of human achievement, this chapter notes that it still continues to inspire awe.

Keywords:   human culture, coevolution, human achievement, scientific community, human mind, cultural evolution

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