IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Aestheticism in the Theory of Custom

  • Schlicht Ekkehart

    (University of Munich)

La nature des processus d’apprentissage ainsi que les considérations évolutionaires suggèrent que le jugement esthétique est d’une importance centrale dans la formation des coutumes. L’ apprentissage et l’extrapolation prennent appui sur les évaluations de caractéristiques noninstrumentales telles que la simplicité, l’analogie, la droiture et la clarté. De plus, l’apprentissage est particulièrement efficace s’il est animé par un désir actif de découvrir de nouvelles régularités, plutôt que de rassembler simplement des informations de manière passive.A partir d’une perspective évolutionaire, l’apprentissage a évolué par adaptation aux changements rapides et environnementaux qui ne peuvent être efficacement traduits par les processus évolutifs lents et de long terme qui se situent au niveau génétique. La “raison d’être” évolutionaire de l’apprentissage est de permettre aux individus de chercher sans cesse à découvrir de nouvelles régularités et d’agir sur elles de manière appropriée. De même que l’apprentissage dépend des jugements esthétiques, la sélection évolutionaire pour l’apprentissage implique une matrice évolutionaire du sens esthétique, et une préférence pour des modèles et des actions stéréotypées qui en fin de compte conduisent à la formation de coutumes et d’une compréhension sociale. L’article est, ainsi, une présentation évolutionaire étayée des tendances “behaviorales” sous-tendant ma théorie des coutumes.The nature of learning processes as well as evolutionary considerations suggest that aesthetic judgement is of central importance in the formation of custom. Learning and extrapolation rely on evaluations of non-instrumental features like simplicity, analogy, straightforwardness, and clarity. Further, learning is particularly effective if it is driven by an active desire to uncover new regularities, rather than merely gathering information in a passive way.From an evolutionary perspective, learning has evolved as an adaptation to fast and transitory environmental changes which cannot be effectively traced by the slow and long-term evolutionary processes which take place on the genetic level. The evolutionary raison d’être of learning is to enable the individual to incessantly search for upcoming new regularities, and to act appropriately on them. As learning depends on aesthetic judgement, the evolutionary selection for learning implies an evolutionary molding of an aesthetic sense, and a preference for patterns and patterned action which ultimately leads to the formation of custom and social learning. The paper presents, thus, an evolutionary underpinning for the behavioral tendencies underlying my theory of custom.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

Volume (Year): 10 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-21

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:10:y:2000:i:1:n:2
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:10:y:2000:i:1:n:2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.