The prospects for an evolutionary psychology: Human language and human reasoning [Book Review]

Minds and Machines 6 (4):541-557 (1996)
  Evolutionary psychology purports to explain human capacities as adaptations to an ancestral environment. A complete explanation of human language or human reasoning as adaptations depends on assessing an historical claim, that these capacities evolved under the pressure of natural selection and are prevalent because they provided systematic advantages to our ancestors. An outline of the character of the information needed in order to offer complete adaptation explanations is drawn from Robert Brandon (1990), and explanations offered for the evolution of language and reasoning within evolutionary psychology are evaluated. Pinker and Bloom's (1992) defense of human language as an adaptation for verbal communication, Robert Nozick's (1993) account of the evolutionary origin of rationality, and Cosmides and Tooby's (1992) explanation of human reasoning as an adaptation for social exchange, are discussed in light of what is known, and what is not known, about the history of human evolution. In each case, though a plausible case is made that these capacities are adaptations, there is not enough known to offer even a semblance of an explanation of the origin of these capacities. These explanations of the origin of human thought and language are simply speculations lacking the kind of detailed historical information required for an evolutionary explanation of an adaptation
Keywords Evolution  Language  Learning  Psychology  Reason  Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00389658
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

85 ( #34,527 of 1,725,628 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #110,407 of 1,725,628 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.