Can behaviors be adaptations?

Philosophy of Science 71 (1):16-35 (2004)
Kim Sterelny and Paul Griffiths (Sterelny 1992, Sterelny and Griffiths 1999) have argued that sociobiology is unworkable because it requires that human behaviors can be adaptations; however, behaviors produced by a functionalist psychology do not meet Lewontin's quasi-independence criterion and therefore cannot be adaptations. Consequently, an evolutionary psychologywhich regards psychological mechanisms as adaptationsshould replace sociobiology. I address two interpretations of their argument. I argue that the strong interpretation fails because functionalist psychology need not prevent behaviors from evolving independently, and it relies on too strong an interpretation of the quasi-independence criterion. The weaker interpretation does not undermine sociobiology, and evolutionary psychology would be vulnerable to the same criticism. Finally, I offer reasons to think that both mental mechanisms and behaviors can be adaptations
Keywords Adaptation  Behavior  Functionalism  Psychology  Science  Sociobiology  Griffiths, P  Sterelny, K
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DOI 10.1086/381410
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Kevin Brosnan (2009). Quasi-Independence, Fitness, and Advantageousness. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (3):228-234.

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