Polemics on Evolutionary Psychology

In PLoS Biology (July 19, 2011) a polemical article entitled “Darwin in Mind: New Opportunities for Evolutionary Psychology” by Johan J. Bolhuis, Gillian R. Brown, Robert C. Richardson, and Kevin N. Laland criticising ‘Santa Barbara’ (i.e., Cosmides and Tooby’s) approach (that many here at the ICCI favour).

Abstract: Evolutionary Psychology (EP) views the human mind as organized into many modules, each underpinned by psychological adaptations designed to solve problems faced by our Pleistocene ancestors. We argue that the key tenets of the established EP paradigm require modification in the light of recent findings from a number of disciplines, including human genetics, evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and paleoecology. For instance, many human genes have been subject to recent selective sweeps; humans play an active, constructive role in co-directing their own development and evolution; and experimental evidence often favours a general process, rather than a modular account, of cognition. A redefined EP could use the theoretical insights of modern evolutionary biology as a rich source of hypotheses concerning the human mind, and could exploit novel methods from a variety of adjacent research fields.

This has already elicited critical comments from John Hawks. and from Rob Kurzban here. More should come.




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