College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

4. How do we believe? Developing human culture

Fourth lecture of Professor Dr Agustin Fuentes' Gifford Lecture Series

Event Details

Date: Tuesday 6 March 2018, 5.30 - 6.30pm. Please note this is a change to the originally advertised lecture.

The lecture may be followed by questions.  Latest finishing time is 7pm.

Venue: Playfair Library, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL

Lecture abstract

In the first three lectures we learn that humans are a particular kind of primate, and hominin, which manipulates animals, plants, ecosystems, and one another, and is capable of intense cruelty and amazing compassion. A major factor in developing this suite of capacities is our ability to create and sustain particular kinds of cultures and to be shaped by them. Human culture is a key to human natures, and core to human belief systems. While other animals have cultures, human cultures include tools, weapons, clothes, buildings, towns, etc…and teaching and learning on scales and with a level of structural complexity, and impact, greater than in any other organisms. Human cultures are rooted in the linguistically mediated beliefs, institutions, histories, and practices of human groups. For humans, culture is a ubiquitous primary component, and potential driver, of our evolution. This lecture lays out just what human culture is, how it emerged, and why it is central to our capacities for, and processes of, belief.

Lecture video

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