The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and the Evolution of Culture

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Lawrence & Wishart, 2006 - Science - 173 pages
In this ground-breaking synthesis of evolutionary and cultural theory, Wendy Wheeler draws on the new field of complex adaptive systems and biosemiotics in order to argue that - far from being opposed to nature - culture is the way that nature has evolved in human beings. Her argument is that these evolutionary processes reveal the fundamental sociality of human creatures, and she thus rejects the selfish individualism that is implied both in the biological reductionism of much recent evolutionary psychology, and in the philosophies of neoliberalism. She shows, instead, that the complex structures of biosemiotic evolution have always involved a creativity which is born from the difficult but productive phenomenological encounter between the Self and its Others; and she argues that this creativity, in both the sciences and the humanities, is fundamental to human progress. In this major contribution to both cultural studies and ecocriticism, Wheeler shows how complexity and biosemiotics forge the link between nature and culture, and provide a new and better understanding of how 'the whole human creature' operates as both social and biological being.

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the complexity revolution
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About the author (2006)

Wendy Wheeler is Reader in English at London Metropolitan University. She is the author of A New Modernity? Change in Science, Literature and Politics; and editor of The Political Subject: Essays on the Self.

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