Why Divination? Cultural Attractors and Strategic Interaction

Joining instructions: https://www.anthro.ox.ac.uk/event/why-divination-cultural-attractors-and-strategic-interaction

Abstract: Divination is a good example of a cultural attractor – almost all human societies have some documented form of divination, a procedure that supposedly guarantees the truth of the statements it produces.

I propose a model of the strategic interactions around divination that may explain why the practice is so widespread, with some unexpected commonalities. This is an opportunity to think about cultural evolution, which so far has produced good models of cultural consumption, leaving aside why people produce the kind of material that becomes culturally widespread.