David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Human Studies 30 (4):357 - 375 (2007)
Academic popularizers of the new field of evolutionary psychology make notable appeals to William James to bolster their doctrine. In particular, they cite James’ remark that humans have all the “impulses” animals do and many more besides to shore up their claim that people’s “instincts” account for their flexibility. This essay argues that these scholars misinterpret James on the instincts. Consciousness (which they find inscrutable) explains cognitive flexibility for James. The evolutionary psychologists’ appeal to James is, therefore, unwarranted and, given the conditions relevant to the public and professional audiences they address, also ineffective as a rhetorical tool for enlisting new recruits.
|Keywords||Evolutionary psychology William James Instincts Consciousness Cognitive flexibility|
|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.
Thomas S. Kuhn (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Vol. The University of Chicago Press.
Steven Pinker (1995). The Language Instinct. Harper Perennial.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Richard M. Gale (1999). William James and the Willfulness of Belief. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (1):71-91.
Jaime Nubiola (2000). Ludwig Wittgenstein and William James. Streams of William James 2 (3):2-4.
C. Grace & James P. Moreland (2002). Intelligent Design Psychology and Evolutionary Psychology on Consciousness: Turning Water Into Wine. Journal of Psychology and Theology 30 (1):51-67.
Tony Chemero (2003). Review of Ecological Psychology in Context: James Gibson, Roger Barker, and the Legacy of William James' Radical Empiricism. [REVIEW] Contemporary Psychology.
Eugene Taylor & Robert H. Wozniak (1996). Pure Experience: The Response to William James. In E. I. Taylor & R. H. Wozniak (eds.), Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society. Bristol: Thoemmes Press 338-341.
Jack Barbalet (2004). Hypothesis, Faith, and Commitment: William James' Critique of Science. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 34 (3):213–230.
Joseph T. Palencik (2007). William James and the Psychology of Emotions: From 1884 to the Present. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 43 (4):769 - 786.
Max Carl Otto (ed.) (1942). William James. Madison, the University of Wisconsin Press.
Lucas McGranahan (2011). William James's Social Evolutionism in Focus. The Pluralist 6 (3):80-92.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads33 ( #143,658 of 1,932,453 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #456,120 of 1,932,453 )
How can I increase my downloads?