Skip to main content Accessibility help

Cultural evolutionary psychology is still evolutionary psychology

  • Marco Fenici (a1) and Duilio Garofoli (a2)


The cognitive gadgets theory proposes to reform evolutionary psychology by replacing the standard nativist and internalist approach to modularity with a cultural constructivist one. However, the resulting “cultural evolutionary psychology” still maintains some controversial aspects of the original neo-Darwinian paradigm. These assumptions are unnecessary to the cognitive gadgets theory and can be eliminated without significant conceptual loss.



Hide All

In compliance with specifications of the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, we clarify that Marco Fenici has written the first four (and the last) paragraphs and that Duilio Garofoli has written the remaining five paragraphs.



Hide All
Anderson, M. L. (2014) After phrenology: Neural reuse and the interactive brain. MIT Press.
Aston, A. (2019) Metaplasticity and the boundaries of social cognition: Exploring scalar transformations in social interaction and intersubjectivity. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18(1):6589.
Barkow, J. H., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J., ed. (1992) The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford University Press.
Bednarik, R. G. (2013) Creating the human past: An epistemology of Pleistocene archaeology. Archaeopress.
Buss, D. (2012) Evolutionary psychology: The new science of the mind. Allyn & Bacon.
Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (2013) Evolutionary psychology: New perspectives on cognition and motivation. Annual Review of Psychology 64(1):201–29.
Everett, D. L. (2012) Language: The cultural tool. Pantheon Books.
Fenici, M. (2017) What is the role of experience in children's success in the false belief test: Maturation, facilitation, attunement or induction? Mind & Language 32(3):308–37.
Fenici, M. & Garofoli, D. (2017) The biocultural emergence of mindreading: Integrating cognitive archaeology and human development. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science 1(2):89117.
Gallagher, S. & Hutto, D. (2008) Understanding others through primary interaction and narrative practice. In: The shared mind: Perspectives on intersubjectivity, ed. Zlatev, J., Racine, T. P., Sinha, C., & Itkonen, E., pp. 1738. John Benjamins.
Garofoli, D. (2019) Embodied cognition and the archaeology of mind: A radical reassessment. In: Handbook of evolutionary research in archaeology, ed. Prentiss, A. M., pp. 379405. Springer.
Gibson, J. J. (1966) The senses considered as perceptual systems. Houghton Mifflin.
Heyes, C. (2018) Cognitive gadgets: The cultural evolution of thinking. Harvard University Press.
Hodder, I. & Hutson, S. (2003) Reading the past: Current approaches to interpretation in archaeology. Cambridge University Press.
Hutto, D. D. (2008) Folk psychological narratives: The sociocultural basis of understanding reasons. MIT Press.
Hutto, D. D. & Myin, E. (2013) Radicalizing enactivism: Basic minds without content. MIT Press.
Hutto, D. D. & Myin, E. (2017) Evolving enactivism: Basic minds meet content. MIT Press.
Ihde, D. (1990) Technology and the lifeworld: From garden to earth. Indiana University Press.
Ihde, D. (2009) Postphenomenology and technoscience: The Peking University lectures. State University of New York Press.
Ihde, D. & Malafouris, L. (2018) Homo faber revisited: Postphenomenology and material engagement theory. Philosophy & Technology 120. Available at:
Iliopoulos, A. & Garofoli, D. (2016) The material dimensions of cognition: Reexamining the nature and emergence of the human mind. Quaternary International 405 (Part A, The material dimensions of cognition):17.
Ingold, T. (2004) Beyond biology and culture. The meaning of evolution in a relational world. Social anthropology 12(2):209–21.
Ingold, T. (2007) The trouble with ‘evolutionary biology’. Anthropology Today 23(2):1317.
Ingold, T. & Palsson, G., ed. (2013) Biosocial becomings: Integrating social and biological anthropology. Cambridge University Press.
Knappett, C. (2005) Thinking through material culture. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Malafouris, L. (2010) Metaplasticity and the human becoming: Principles of neuroarchaeology. Journal of Anthropological Sciences 88:4972.
Malafouris, L. (2013) How things shape the mind: A theory of material engagement. MIT Press.
Malafouris, L. (2016) On human becoming and incompleteness: A material engagement approach to the study of embodiment in evolution and culture. In: Embodiment in evolution and culture, ed. Etzelmüller, G. & Tewes, C., pp. 289305. Mohr Siebeck.
Mesoudi, A. (2011) Cultural evolution: How Darwinian theory can explain human culture and synthesize the social sciences. University of Chicago Press.
Millikan, R. G. (2004) Varieties of meaning. MIT Press.
Penny, S. (2017) Making sense: Cognition, computing, art, and embodiment. MIT Press.
Raja, V. (2017) A theory of resonance: Towards an ecological cognitive architecture. Minds and Machines 28(1):2951.
Renfrew, C. (2004) Towards a theory of material engagement. In: Rethinking materiality: The engagement of mind with the material world, ed. DeMarrais, E., Gosden, C. & Renfrew, A. C., pp. 2331. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Richerson, P. J. & Boyd, R. (2005) Not by genes alone: How culture transformed human evolution. University of Chicago Press.
Rietveld, E., Denys, D. & Van Westen, M. (2018) Ecological-enactive cognition as engaging with a field of relevant affordances: The skilled intentionality framework (SIF). In: Oxford handbook of 4E cognition, ed. Newen, A., De Bruin, L. & Gallagher, S., pp. 4170. Oxford University Press.
Rietveld, E. & Kiverstein, J. (2014) A rich landscape of affordances. Ecological Psychology 26(4):325352.
Robbins, S. E. (2006) Bergson and the holographic theory of mind. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5(3–4):365394.
Roberts, P. (2016) ‘We have never been behaviourally modern’: The implications of material engagement theory and metaplasticity for understanding the late Pleistocene record of human behaviour. Quaternary International 405:(Part A, The material dimensions of cognition):820.
Shanks, M. & Tilley, C. Y. (1987) Social theory and archaeology. Polity Press.
Spivey, M. (2007) The continuity of mind. Oxford University Press.
Tallis, R. (2011) Aping mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the misrepresentation of humanity. Acumen.
Taylor, T. J. (2012) Understanding others and understanding language: How do children do it? Language Sciences 34(1):112.
Trigger, B. G. (1998) Archaeology and epistemology: Dialoguing across the Darwinian chasm. American Journal of Archaeology 102(1):134.
Varela, F. J., Thompson, E. & Rosch, E. (2017) The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. MIT Press.
Verbeek, P.–P. (2005) What things do: Philosophical reflections on technology, agency, and design. University Park: Penn State Press.
Vogd, W. (2013) Constructivism in Buddhism. In: Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions, ed. Runehov, A. L. C. & Oviedo, L., pp. 489495. Springer.
Walls, M. (2019) The bow and arrow and early human sociality: An enactive perspective on communities and technical practice in the Middle Stone Age. Philosophy and Technology. 32(2):265–81. Available at:
Wilson, R. A. (1994) Wide computationalism. Mind 103(411):351–72.
Woodward, M. (2019) Metaplasticity rendered visible in paint: How matter ‘matters’ in the lifeworld of human action. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18(1):113–32.

Cultural evolutionary psychology is still evolutionary psychology

  • Marco Fenici (a1) and Duilio Garofoli (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed