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January 1997


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"Christian C. Young" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Intl Soc for the Hist Phil and Soc St of Biol <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 14:07:06 -0600
text/plain (162 lines)
A few reminders to accompany recent messages submitted to ISHPSB-L, the listserv
of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of
Biology (ISHPSSB).

Friday, Jan. 31 is the deadline for submitting abstracts for the 1997 ISHPSSB
meeting in Seattle (to be held July 16-20).

Saturday, Feb. 1 is the deadline for submitting papers for the Marjorie Grene

Saturday, Feb. 1 is also the deadline for nominations for committee members.

See the last newsletter (distributed via e-mail in early December and via snail
mail more recently) for details on these deadlines.

Finally, all subscribers to this list should be members of ISHPSSB.  If you are
not a member, please join by checking out our web-page at

or contact the society secretary, (Barbara Horan) at

[log in to unmask]

Thank you,

------------ First Message begins here ------------
From: [log in to unmask] (Agner Fog)
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 16:38:42 +0100
Subject: Announcement. Cultural selection online book

Cultural selection - Electronic book available for discussion

Allow me to introduce a new interdisciplinary theory for cultural change.
This theory has important consequences for several branches of science,
and therefore needs to be discussed in a broad forum.

In order to facilitate this discussion, I have published my theory as an
electronic book and made it available at:

The book will appear later in print.

Abstract of the book:

Cultural phenomena are subject to a selection process resembling natural
selection due to the fact that some phenomena are more likely to be copied
than others.  There are many fundamental differences between biological
evolution and cultural selection, however, so you cannot draw conclusions
by analogy from one process to the other.

Unlike traditional evolutionist thinkers, I do not infer that cultural
selection always will lead in the same direction (called 'progress').
Rather, I have found that cultural selection may lead in different
directions depending on the external conditions.

In a militant environment, where war or threat of war is common, the
society will develop towards a pronouncedly hierarchic organization
characterized by a strict discipline. Individual freedom is restricted
because ressources of the individual (time, energy, material possessions)
must be heavily taxed because they are needed to strengthen the group.

In an isolated or sparsely populated environment, where warfare is
unlikely or impossible, the development will go in the opposite direction:
You will se an egalitarian society where individualism and tolerance
prevails. Here, individuals are believed to live for their own sake,
rather than for the sake of the community. The same applies to societies where
war and international conflict is unlikely for other reasons.

I am introducing the term 'regal' for the former type of society, and
'kalyptic' for the latter.

The absolutely regal or absolutely kalyptic society does not exist. You
should think of a graduated scale representing varying degrees of regality
or kalypticity, rather than a polarization into ideal types or extremes.

I have found that the regal/kalyptic (r/k-) dimension has a strong
influence on many areas of cultural life: religion, philosophy, world-
view, and political principles are gradually developing in the direction
which is most compatible with the position of the society on the r/k-
scale. Interestingly, also the artistic style and music preferences of the
population are strongly influenced by these factors. There seems to be a
psychological mechanism which makes people prefer the style of art and
music which is most congruent with the political structure, philosophy,
and world-view of their social environment.  Also the sexual behavior of
the population is influenced: In a regal society the production of
children is much higher than in a kalyptic society.

The mechanisms behind all these processes are fairly complicated. You will
find them explained in my book.

Please tune in your web-browser at:


read my book, and give your opinion. I want to get a discussion going in
the relevant newsgroups and mailing lists.

I am aware that my cultural r/k-theory has important political
consequences.  Please keep the political and scientific arguments
completely separate.

Agner Fog, Ph.D.

E-mail: [log in to unmask]

------------ Second Message begins here ------------
From: George Joseph <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 1996 12:24:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CFP: 1997 JAS in History of Biology

Call for Papers:  Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of Biology, 1997

The 33rd annual meeting of the Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of
Biology will be held on 11-12 April 1997 and will be hosted by the Section
of the History of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine.  The
meeting will begin on Friday evening with a reception and a banquet on
Saturday evening will conclude the meeting's activities.

Call for Papers: The program committee invites abstracts of no more than
300 words on all aspects of the history of biology and the life sciences.
Paper presentations will be limited to 20 minutes and must constitute
original work not already published or in press.
Submissions from graduate students, recent graduates, and junior faculty
are especially encouraged.  To maximize time for discussion, no more than
ten papers will be selected for presentation on Saturday, April 12.
Abstracts must be received by 31 January 1997; notification will be made
by 28 February 1997.  Registration material, and information on housing
and possible travel grants will also be available in February.

Abstracts, requests for registration material, and questions about the
meeting should be directed to:

Joint Atlantic Seminar 1997
c/o Section of the History of Medicine
Yale University School of Medicine
L132 Sterling Hall of Medicine
P. O. Box 208015
New Haven, Connecticut  06520-8015
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
telephone: 203.785.4338

(Abstracts and correspondence, when possible, should be submitted by

                           33rd Annual Meeting
          Joint Atlantic Seminar in History of Biology and Medicine
                            11-12 April 1997

                    Yale University School of Medicine
                Section of the History of Medicine and Science
                          New Haven, Connecticut

------------ Messages end here ------------