Jonathan Kaplan
Oregon State University
Phylogenetic information is often necessary to distinguish between evolutionary scenarios. Recently, some prominent proponents of evolutionary psychology have acknowledged this, and have claimed that such evidence has in fact been brought to bear on adaptive hypotheses involving complex human psychological traits. Were this possible, it would be a valuable source of evidence regarding hypothesized adaptive traits in humans. However, the structure of the Hominidae family makes this difficult or impossible. For many traits of interest, the closest extant relatives to the human species are too phenotypically different from humans for such methods to provide meaningful data. While phylogenetic information can be useful for testing adaptive hypotheses in humans, these generally involve traits that are (a) not widely shared in the species or (b) fairly widely shared in the Hominidae family, and hence likely of a lower order of complexity than the sorts of traits evolutionary psychology has so far been interested in.
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DOI 10.1086/341853
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References found in this work BETA

Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature.Philip Kitcher & J. H. Fetzer - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (3):389-392.
Evolutionary Psychology: The Burdens of Proof.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 1999 - Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):211-233.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Demarcation Problem: A (Belated) Response to Laudan.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. pp. 9.
An Evidence-Based Study of the Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.E. Machery & K. Cohen - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (1):177-226.

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