How the Mind and Culture Evolve with Steve Stewart-Williams

by Scott Barry Kaufman, November 13, 2018

“It’s gonna be Okay.” — Steve Stewart-Williams

Today I’m delighted to have Steve Stewart-Williams on the podcast. Dr. Stewart-Williams is a New Zealander who moved to Canada, then to Wales, and then to Malaysia, where he is now an associate professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. His first book, Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life, was published in 2010 and his latest book is The Ape That Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve.

In this episode we cover the following topics:

  • What would the human species look like from the perspective of an alien?
  • Are humans just evolved fish?
  • How far does evolutionary psychology take us in understanding human nature?
  • What are some common myths about the evolutionary process?
  • How we can be evolutionary “losers” and still be human success stories
  • The distinction between altruism and selfishness
  • Why the evolutionary psychology perspective is not enough to understand human nature
  • How culture evolved among humans
  • The link between human creativity and cultural evolution
  • The potential human conflict between passing on genes vs. passing on memes
  • How culture can amplify our nature
  • Steve answers questions from Twitter


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