This article offers a new definition of culture which hinges on what we consider to be its most distinctive feature, namely its artificiality. Our definition enables us to resolve some of the main issues and controversies involved in the concept of culture and its course of development. We argue that the large human brain played a revolutionary role in inverting the course of natural adaptation of the human species. This dramatic turnabout allowed humans to set their own conditions of existence in their created environment; and one which unlike nature they were able to shape and dominate. We demonstrate the crucial part of language not merely in communication but in forming a web of meaningful symbols which gave rise to the human spiritual or metaphysical world. We depict human society as an unparalleled elaborate web of relationships which gave hominids an advantage over other species from the very beginning.
brain, environment, evolution, inverse adaptation, society, symbols, tools
How to cite:
Gedi, Noa and Yigal Elam. “The Artificial Enclave: Redefining Culture.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 1 (2020): 70-87. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2020.0007.
Noa Gedi (corresponding author)
Faculty of Humanities, Tel Aviv University
P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
Yigal Elam (Professor Emeritus)
The Multidisciplinary Studies Program
Sapir Academic College, Israel
Barnard, Alan. “Modern Hunter-Gatherers and Early Symbolic Culture.” In The Evolution of Culture: An Interdisciplinary View, edited by Robin Ian MacDonald, Chris Knight, and Camilla Power, 50-68. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1999.
Boas, Franz. The Mind of the Primitive Man. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1911.
Bonner, John Tyler. The Evolution of Culture in Animals. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989.
Carp, Richard M. “Perception and Material Culture: Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspectives.” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 23, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 269-300. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41299096.
Childe, Gordon. Man Makes Himself. London: Watts & Co, 1936.
Cicero. “II. On Bearing Pain.” In Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations translated by Andrew P. Peabody, 89-135. Boston: Little & Brown, 1886. https://www.john-uebersax.com/plato/pain.htm#1.
Cochran, Gregory, and Henry Harpending. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. New York: Basic Books, 2009.
Dahre, Ulf Johansson. “Searching for a Middle Ground: Anthropologists and the Debate on the Universalism and the Cultural Relativism of Human Rights.” The International Journal of Human Rights 21, no. 5 (2017): 611-628. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2017.1290930.
Davies, Peter J., ed. Plant Hormones, Biosynthesis, Signal Transduction, Action. 3rd ed. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004.
Dehaene, Stanislas. Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes our Thoughts. New York: Penguin Books, 2014.
Descola, Philippe. Beyond Nature and Culture. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2013.
Deutscher, Guy. The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind’s Greatest Invention. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005.
Dunbar, R. I. M. “Coevolution of Neocortical Size, Group Size and Language in Humans.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16, no. 4 (1993): 681–94. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00032325.
Dunbar, Robin, Clive Gamble, and John Gowlett. Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 2014.
Durkheim, Émile. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1964.
Eagleton, Terry. Culture. London: Yale University Press, 2016.
Edgarton, Robert B. Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony. New York: Free Press, 1992.
Evans-Prichard, Edward E. Nuer Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1956.
Fraser, James George. Totemism and Exogamy: A Treatise on Certain Early Forms of Superstition and Society. London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1935.
Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic Books, 1973.
Giddens, Anthony, ed. Emile Durkheim: Selected Writings. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1972.
Goldman, Michael, and Rachel A. Schurman. “Closing the ‘Great Divide’: New Social Theory on Society and Nature.” Annual Review of Sociology 26, (2000): 563-584. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.563.
Grey, William. “Anthropocentrism and Deep Ecology.” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71, no. 4 (1993): 463-475. https://doi.org/10.1080/00048409312345442.
Harper, Francis Robert, ed. The Code of Hammurabi King of Babylon about 2250 B.C. Autographed Text Transliteration Translation Glossary Index of Subjects Lists of Proper Names Signs Numerals Corrections and Erasures with Map Frontispiece and Photograph of Text. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1904. https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1276. https://doi.org/10.2307/1323443.
Hancock, Angela M., Gorka Alkorta-Aranburu, David B. Witonsky, and Anna Di Rienzo. “Adaptations to New Environments in Humans: The Role of Subtle Allele Frequency Shifts.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365, no. 1552 (2010): 2459-468. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0032.
Hansen Mogens Herman. Polis: An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Henshilwood, Christopher S., Francesco d’Errico, Royden Yates, Zenobia Jacobs, Chantal Tribolo, Geoff A. T. Duller, Norbert Mercier, et al. “Emergence of Modern Human Behavior: Middle Stone Age Engravings from South Africa.” Science 295, no. 5558 (2002): 1278-1280. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1067575.
Herskovits, Melville J. Man and His Works. New York: Alfred A. Knope, Inc., 1948.
Howe, Stephen. Empire: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. https://doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780192802231.001.0001.
Ibn Khaldūn, `Abd al-Rahman. The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History Book 1. Translated by Franz Rosenthal. New York: Pantheon Books, 1958.
Jelinek, Arthur J. Neanderthal Lithic Industries at La Quina. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2013.
Klein, Richard G. The Human Career, Human Biological and Cultural Origins, 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226027524.001.0001.
Kroeber Alfred Louis. The Nature of Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952.
Kroeber Alfred Louis. and Clyde Kluckhohn. Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. Cambridge: The Museum, 1952.
Laland, Kevin N., and Bennett G. Galef, eds. The Question of Animal Culture. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2009.
Latour, Bruno. “Relativism.” In We Have Never Been Modern. Translated by Catherine Porter, 91-129. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.
Lévi-Strauss, Claude. Totemism. Translated by Rodney Needham. London: Merlin Press Ltd, 1964.
Lévi-Strauss, Claude. The Savage Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.
Malinowski, Bronislaw. Magic, Science and Religion. Garden City: Doubleday, 1954.
McGrew, William C. “Culture in Nonhuman Primates?” Annual Review of Anthropology 27, no. 1 (2003): 301-328. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.anthro.27.1.301.
McLennan, F. J. “The Worship of Animals and Plants.” Fortnightly Review 6 (1869); two parts – Part I: “Totems and Totemism,” 407-427: Part II: “Totem-gods among the Ancients” 562-582 – Part II (concluded), “Totem-gods among the Ancients.” Fortnightly Review 7 (1870): 194-216.
Mumford, Lewis. The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1961.
Nettle, Daniel. “Beyond Nature versus Culture: Cultural Variation as an Evolved Characteristic.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15, (2009): 223-240. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2009.01561.x.
Neumann, Joseph. “Biology and Culture.” Journal of Life Sciences 7, no. 3 (2013): 322-332.
Phillipson, Laurel. “Aksumite Lithic Industries.” African Archaeological Review 17, no. 2 (2000): 49-63. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1006600324970.
Park, Robert E. “The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment.” The American Journal of Sociology XX, no. 5 (March 1915): 577–612. https://doi.org/10.1086/212433.
Pike, Alistair et al. “U-Series dating of Paleolithic art in 11 caves in Spain.” Science 336, no. 6087 (June, 2012): 1409-13. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1219957.
Pilgrim, Sarah, and Jules Pretty, eds. Nature and Culture: Rebuilding Lost Connections. London: Earthscan, 2010. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849776455.
Pinker, Steven. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. New York: Harper-Perennial, 2000.
Premack, David, and Ann J. Premack. “Why Animals Have Neither Culture nor History.” In Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology, edited by Tim Ingold, 350-365. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.
Ramsey, Grant. “What is Animal Culture?” In Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Animal Minds, edited by Kristin Andrews, and Jacob Beck, 345-353. New York: Routledge Press, 2017. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315742250-33.
van Schaik, Carl. “Animal Culture: How Much Culture is There in Nature and What is it About?” Semiotix 14, January 2009. https://semioticon.com/sx-old-issues/semiotix14/sem-14-03.html.
Shumaker, Robert W., Kristina R. Walkup, and Benjamin B. Beck, Animal Tool Behavior: The Use and Manufacture of Tools by Animals. Rev. Ed. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2011.
Smith, Robertson W. Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, First Series, The Fundamental Institutions. London: A. & C. Black  ,1901. http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/main/b22240089_B000893311.pdf.
Soper, Kate. What Is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 1995.
Tanner, Nancy Makepeace. On Becoming Human. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
Tattersall, Ian. “The Case for Saltational Events in Human Evolution.” In The Speciation of Homo Sapiens, edited by T. J. Crow, 49-59. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Tooby, John, and Leda Cosmides. “The Psychological Foundations of Culture.” In The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, edited by J. Barkow, L. Cosmides and J. Tooby, 19-136. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Watkins, Calvert. The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 2nd ed. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.
Weinstein-Evron, Mina, Daniel Kaufman, and Reuven Yeshurun. “Spatial Organization of Natufian el-Wad Through Time: Combining the Results of Past and Present Excavations.” In Natufian Foragers in the Levant: Terminal Pleistocene Social Changes in Western Asia, edited by Ofer Bar-Yosef and François Raymond Valla, 88-106. Ann Arbor, Mich.: International Monographs in Prehistory, 2013. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284342606_Spatial_organization_of_Natufian_el-Wad_through_time_Combining_the_results_of_past_and_present_excavations. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv8bt33h.13.
Wirth, Louis. “Urbanism as a Way of Life.” American Journal of Sociology 44, no. 1 (1938): 1-24. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2768119. https://doi.org/10.1086/217913.
White, Leslie A. The Evolution of Culture: The Development of Civilization to the Fall of Rome. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, INC, 1959.
Simmel, Georg. “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” In The Sociology of Georg Simmel, edited and translated by Kurt H. Wolff, 409–424. New York: Free Press, 1950.
Open Access Statement:
This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.