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In The Descent of Man, Darwin describes the higher development of humankind

Parade, Cusco, Peru, 27. 8. 1989
Parade, Cusco, Peru, 27. 8. 1989


as an amalgamation of biological and cultural factors. The brains of pre-historic and early humans get bigger, and cultural achievements are increasing simultaneously and with mutual dependence. Brain growth is about biological and hereditary factors. Cultural achievements are not hereditary; they have to be learned anew, one generation after the next.

Cultural language acquisition requires individuals to be biologically equipped to do so. The infant who lacks the biological means to articulate speech or the ability to hear cannot acquire the ability to speak.

Darwin also says nothing about the biological mechanisms that would have placed the higher monkeys on track to become human beings. He obviously trusts the Hegelian, self-developing mind, which at some point came over the higher monkeys like the Holy Spirit did to the Virgin Mary.

Since Darwin, of course, there has been a wealth of new knowledge, research results and individual studies. The question is: Is the Victorian dilemma solved? My answer: No, that is not the case.

In almost all studies, the share of culture in human brain development is emphasised, although the area of what is considered culture is extended beyond the culture of the English gentleman, especially to the economic areas of work, the work environment and the social areas of cooperation, social behaviour, etc.

However, this does not weaken the deterministic factor, let alone overcome it. The Victorian dilemma is just as current today as it was 150 years ago.

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