Phrases such as “social constructivism” and “relativism” signal the importance of symbolic meaning systems in human life. Taken to extremes, they have been used to undermine the authority of science and even to deny the existence of objective knowledge, paving the way for today’s epidemic of “fake news”. Against this background, evolutionary science can establish a sensible middle ground that recognizes the importance of symbolic thought in human cultural evolution and provides a disciplined way to scientifically understand it.
Lynette Shaw holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and is Assistant Professor of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan. She joins David to discuss “this view of social constructivism” and more, including the micro to macro link of culture, the social construction of digital currencies, automatic sense-making, human symbolic thought as niche construction, and the need for common ground between different academic disciplines.
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