Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology

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MIT Press, 22.01.2010 - 232 Seiten

A philosopher subjects the claims of evolutionary psychology to the evidential and methodological requirements of evolutionary biology, concluding that evolutionary psychology's explanations amount to speculation disguised as results.

Human beings, like other organisms, are the products of evolution. Like other organisms, we exhibit traits that are the product of natural selection. Our psychological capacities are evolved traits as much as are our gait and posture. This much few would dispute. Evolutionary psychology goes further than this, claiming that our psychological traits—including a wide variety of traits, from mate preference and jealousy to language and reason—can be understood as specific adaptations to ancestral Pleistocene conditions. In Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology, Robert Richardson takes a critical look at evolutionary psychology by subjecting its ambitious and controversial claims to the same sorts of methodological and evidential constraints that are broadly accepted within evolutionary biology.

The claims of evolutionary psychology may pass muster as psychology; but what are their evolutionary credentials? Richardson considers three ways adaptive hypotheses can be evaluated, using examples from the biological literature to illustrate what sorts of evidence and methodology would be necessary to establish specific evolutionary and adaptive explanations of human psychological traits. He shows that existing explanations within evolutionary psychology fall woefully short of accepted biological standards. The theories offered by evolutionary psychologists may identify traits that are, or were, beneficial to humans. But gauged by biological standards, there is inadequate evidence: evolutionary psychologists are largely silent on the evolutionary evidence relevant to assessing their claims, including such matters as variation in ancestral populations, heritability, and the advantage offered to our ancestors. As evolutionary claims they are unsubstantiated. Evolutionary psychology, Richardson concludes, may offer a program of research, but it lacks the kind of evidence that is generally expected within evolutionary biology. It is speculation rather than sound science—and we should treat its claims with skepticism.

 

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LibraryThing Review

Nutzerbericht  - thcson - LibraryThing

A sharp and convincing critique which exposes the grandiose claims of evolutionary psychology as pure speculation. The author's main argument is simply that there isn't nearly enough available ... Vollständige Rezension lesen

Inhalt

Mans Place in Nature
1
1 The Ambitions of Evolutionary Psychology
13
2 Reverse Engineering and Adaptation
41
3 The Dynamics of Adaptation
89
4 Recovering Evolutionary History
141
5 Idle Darwinizing
173
Notes
185
References
193
Index
209
Urheberrecht

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Beliebte Passagen

Seite 1 - In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.

Über den Autor (2010)

Robert C. Richardson is Charles Phelps Taft Professor of Philosophy and a University Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Cincinnati, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the author of Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology (MIT Press, 2007).

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