Culture is a unique and fascinating aspect of the human species. How did it emerge and how does it develop? Richard Dawkins has suggested that culture evolves and that memes are the cultural replicators, subject to variation and selection in the same way as genes function in the biological world. In this sense human culture is the product of a mindless evolutionary algorithm. Does this imply that we are mere meme machines and that the conscious self is an illusion? Kate Distin extends and strengthens Dawkins's theory and presents a fully developed and workable concept of cultural DNA. She argues that culture's development can be seen both as the result of memetic evolution and as the product of human creativity. Memetic evolution is therefore compatible with the view of humans as conscious and intelligent.
'Distin's discussion is even-handed and informative for those wishing to update themselves on the current state of play in the field.' Scientific and Medical Network Review 'A model of clarity, the book's appeal is wide - from philosophers to sociologists, anyone interested in how cultures change will benefit from reading The Selfish Meme. Her rigorous approach makes her theory more palatable than other theories of cultural evolution.' Philosophy Today The Selfish Meme is a very readable and thought provoking book, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to open-minded students and scholars in any biological, anthropological or sociological field.' Cambridge (the Magazine of the Cambridge Society)