David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 25 (2):245-277 (2012)
Evolutionary psychologists attempt to infer our evolved psychology from the selection pressures present in our ancestral environments. Their use of this inference strategy?often called ?adaptive thinking??is thought to be justified by way of appeal to a rather modest form of adaptationism, according to which the mind's adaptive complexity reveals it to be a product of selection. I argue, on the contrary, that the mind's being an adaptation is only a necessary and not a sufficient condition for the validity of adaptive thinking, and that evolutionary psychology's predictive project is in fact committed to an extremely strong and highly implausible form of adaptationism. According to this ?strong adaptationism,? the macroevolutionary trajectory of a population is determined by, and therefore predictable on the basis of, the selection pressures acting upon it. Not only is this form of adaptationism prima facie highly implausible, it requires making a number of naïve and likely false assumptions concerning the nature of heritable phenotypic variation in natural populations. In particular, it assumes that phenotypic variation is inevitably small in its extent, unbiased in its direction, and copious in its quantity. Because it is unlikely that these conditions obtain as a general rule, and even more unlikely that they obtained in early human populations, I conclude that there is little reason to believe that adaptive thinking can be used to infer the current structure of our minds from evidence of past selection pressures
|Keywords||evolutionary psychology adaptationism modularity|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides & John Tooby (eds.) (1992). The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford University Press.
Elliott Sober (1984). The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus. University of Chicago Press.
Jerry A. Fodor (2000). The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology. MIT Press.
Stuart A. Kauffman (1993). The Origins of Order Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Lasse Gerrits & Peter Marks (2015). The Evolution of Wright’s Adaptive Field to Contemporary Interpretations and Uses of Fitness Landscapes in the Social Sciences. Biology and Philosophy 30 (4):459-479.
Similar books and articles
Kenneth J. Sufka & Derek D. Turner (2005). An Evolutionary Account of Chronic Pain: Integrating the Natural Method in Evolutionary Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):243-257.
Paul E. Griffiths (1996). The Historical Turn in the Study of Adaptation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (4):511-532.
Jon F. Wilkins & Peter Godfrey-Smith (2009). Adaptationism and the Adaptive Landscape. Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):199-214.
S. Okasha (2003). Fodor on Cognition, Modularity, and Adaptationism. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):68-88.
Andre Ariew (2003). Natural Selection Doesn't Work That Way: Jerry Fodor Vs. Evolutionary Psychology on Gradualism and Saltationism. Mind and Language 18 (5):478-483.
Scott Atran (2002). Modest Adaptationism: Muddling Through Cognition and Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):504-506.
Roger Sansom (2003). Constraining the Adaptationism Debate. Biology and Philosophy 18 (4):493-512.
Alfonso Troisi (2006). Adaptationism and Medicalization: The Scylla and Charybdis of Darwinian Psychiatry. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):422-423.
Marko Barendregt & René Van Hezewijk (2005). Adaptive and Genomic Explanations of Human Behaviour: Might Evolutionary Psychology Contribute to Behavioural Genomics? [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):57-78.
Sean A. Valles (2012). Evolutionary Medicine at Twenty: Rethinking Adaptationism and Disease. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 27 (2):241-261.
Paul E. Griffiths (2006). Evolutionary Psychology. In Jessica Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge 263--268.
Scott Atran (2005). Adaptationism for Human Cognition: Strong, Spurious, or Weak? Mind and Language 20 (1):39-67.
Todd A. Grantham (2004). Constraints and Spandrels in Gould's Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):29-43.
Gillian Barker (2008). Biological Levers and Extended Adaptationism. Biology and Philosophy 23 (1):1-25.
Added to index2011-08-04
Total downloads51 ( #87,430 of 1,934,509 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #195,826 of 1,934,509 )
How can I increase my downloads?