People do lots of things and we have thousands of resources to explain our behavior. The social sciences, widely construed, include explanations of human behavior that invoke culture, religion, beliefs, desires, social institutions, race, gender and so on. In this paper I ignore all such explanations of human behavior. This is not because such explanations are all invalid or inferior, it is because they are not my current focus. A complete account of many components of human behavior will doubtless include (...) reference to all manner of biological and cultural factors. Sarah Hrdy’s (1999) account of motherhood provides an example of the fusion of many different explanatory resources to account for a suite of human behavior. While some may criticize the details of her account, it is hard to deny that the scope of explanatory resources she appeals to is very broad. (shrink)
Here I outline the argument in Kim Sterelny’s book The Evolved Apprentice. I present some worries for Sterelny from the perspective of modelers in behavioral ecology. I go on to discuss Sterelny’s approach to moral psychology and finally introduce some potential new applications for his evolved apprentice view.
The papers in this volume present varying approaches to human aggression, each from an evolutionary perspective. The evolutionary studies of aggression collected here all pursue aspects of patterns of response to environmental circumstances and consider explicitly how those circumstances shape the costs and benefits of behaving aggressively. All the authors understand various aspects of aggression as evolved adaptations but none believe that this implies we are doomed to continued violence, but rather that variation in aggression has evolutionary roots. These papers (...) reveal several similarities between human and nonhuman aggression, including our response to physical strength as an indicator of fighting ability, testosterone response to competition, a sensitivity to paternity, and baseline features of intergroup aggression in foragers and chimps. There is also one paper tackling the phylogeny of these traits. The many differences between human and nonhuman aggression are also pursued here. Topics here include the impact of modern weapons and extremes of wealth and power on both the costs and benefits of fighting, and the scale to which coercion can promote aggression that acts against a fighter’s own interests. Also the implications of large-scale human sociality are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the view that there are many scientific images that have a serious epistemic role in science but this role is not adequately accounted for by the going view of representation and its attendant theoretical commitments. The relevant view of representation is Laura Perini’s account of representation for scientific images. I draw on Adina Roskies’ work on scientific images as well as work on models in science to support my conclusion.
There are a number of competing hypotheses about human evolution. For example, Homo habilis and Homo erectus could have existed together, or one could have evolved from the other, and paleontological evidence may allow us to decide between these two hypotheses (see, e.g., Spoor et al., 2007). For most who work on the biology of human behavior, there is no question that human behavior is in some large part a product of evolution. But, there are competing hypotheses in this area (...) as well. Some claim that human behavior is produced by a collection of psychological mechanisms, for the most part, and that these mechanisms are adaptations that arose in the Pleistocene Epoch (e.g., Tooby & Cosmides, 1992; Buss, 2007). The claim is important and testable (although, more difficult to test than the above mentioned hypotheses about origins); but importantly, it is only one among many hypotheses about the evolutionary origins of human behavior. While I think that there may be components of our behavior that are best explained by appealing to processes or mechanisms that arose in the Pleistocene, I think that human behavior is a result of evolutionary processes both much older and more recent than the Pleistocene. I also maintain that much of human behavior, and the mechanisms underlying it, could still be subject to evolutionary.. (shrink)
Several prominent philosophers of science, most notably Ron Giere, propose that scientific theories are collections of models and that models represent the objects of scientific study. Some, including Giere, argue that models represent in the same way that pictures represent. Aestheticians have brought the picturing relation under intense scrutiny and presented important arguments against the tenability of particular accounts of picturing. Many of these arguments from aesthetics can be used against accounts of representation in philosophy of science. I rely on (...) Dominic Lopes' recent summary of arguments against various views of picturing and reformulate some of them to fit the philosophy of science context. My specific targets here are Giere and Steven French. I go on to argue that assuming all scientific models and images represent in the same way is not the best guide to understanding scientific practice. (shrink)
I introduce a range of examples of different causal hypotheses about human mate selection. The hypotheses I focus on come from evolutionary psychology, fluctuating asymmetry research and chemical signaling research. I argue that a major obstacle facing an integrated biology of human behavior is the lack of a causal framework that shows how multiple proximate causal mechanisms can act together to produce components of our behavior.
In this paper I review some theoretical exchanges and empiricalresults from recent work on human behavior and cognition in thehope of indicating some productive avenues for critical engagement.I focus particular attention on methodological debates between Evolutionary Psychologists and behavioral ecologists. I argue for a broader and more encompassing approach to the evolutionarily based study of human behavior and cognition than either of these two rivals present.
In this article, the author focuses on Philip Kitcher's and Alvin Goldman's economic models of the social character of scientific knowledge production. After introducing some relevant methodological issues in the social sciences and characterizing Kitcher's and Goldman's models, the author goes on to show that special problems arise directly from the concept of an agent invoked in the models. The author argues that the two distinct concepts of agents, borrowed from economics and cognitive psychology, are inconsistent. Finally, the author discusses (...) some of the normative implications that arise from adopting economic concepts of agents in the study of science. (shrink)
In this paper I examine various ways in whichphilosophers have made connections between truth andnatural selection. I introduce several versions ofthe view that mechanisms of true belief generationarise as a result of natural selection and argue thatthey fail to establish a connection between truth andnatural selection. I then turn to scientific truthsand argue that evolutionary accounts of the origin ofscientific truth generation mechanisms also fail. Iintroduce David Hull's selectionist model ofscientific development and argue that his account ofscientific success does not (...) rely on connecting truthand natural selection. I argue that Hull's model,which severs the connection between truth andselection, can account for some aspects of scientificchange, but it still leaves us plenty of questionsabout what aspects of our individual cognitive make-upcontribute to scientific change and how they do so. I introduce an evolutionary approach to scientificcognition that shows how some of these questions canbe answered without making an explanatory appeal toselection for true belief generating mechanisms. (shrink)
In this paper I assess Gopnik and Meltzoff's developmental psychology of science as a contribution to the understanding of scientific development. I focus on two specific aspects of Gopnik and Meltzoff's approach: the relation between their views and recapitulationist views of ontogeny and phylogeny in biology, and their overall conception of cognition as a set of veridical processes. First, I discuss several issues that arise from their appeal to evolutionary biology, focusing specifically on the role of distinctions between ontogeny and (...) phylogeny when appealing to biology for theoretical support. Second, I argue that to presuppose that cognition is veridical or "truth-tropic" can compromise attempts to understand scientific cognition both throughout history and in the present. Finally, I briefly sketch an evolutionary approach to understanding scientific development that contrasts with Gopnik and Meltzoff's. (shrink)
I propose an approach to naturalized philosophy of science that takes the social nature of scientific practice seriously. I criticize several prominent naturalistic approaches for adopting "cognitive individualism", which limits the study of science to an examination of the internal psychological mechanisms of scientists. I argue that this limits the explanatory capacity of these approaches. I then propose a three-level model of the social nature of scientific practice, and use the model to defend the claim that scientific knowledge is socially (...) produced. (shrink)
I critically examine the semantic view of theories to reveal the following results. First, models in science are not the same as models in mathematics, as holders of the semantic view claim. Second, when several examples of the semantic approach are examined in detail no common thread is found between them, except their close attention to the details of model building in each particular science. These results lead me to propose a deflationary semantic view, which is simply that model construction (...) is an important component of theorizing in science. This deflationary view is consistent with a naturalized approach to the philosophy of science. (shrink)