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Reading: Against the Research Programme of Evolutionary Psychology

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Against the Research Programme of Evolutionary Psychology

Author:

Lucy Jane MacAllister Dukes

Abstract

Evolutionary psychology seeks to explain human behaviour through the evolution by natural selection of mental modules, often supporting extremely controversial social conclusions. While I agree that the relations between evolution and human behaviour ought to be explored, I argue that the foundational claims of evolutionary psychology are deeply flawed. In reverse order I show that each claim is insufficient for its purposes and thus together they are insufficient forgiving behavioral explanations. Evolutionary psychology ignores crucial factors such as evolution selecting for the best available not the best possible traits and not all traits being directly selected for. I use Developmental Systems Theory and work by Dupré to argue that not just genes build brains. Lastly, I use extended mind theory to argue that evolutionary psychology wrongly equivocates between the brain and the mind. Moreover, the hypothesized modules do not make sense. There is a danger that, if taken seriously, evolutionary psychology can easily be used to legitimise prejudice. Taking all this into account I conclude evolutionary psychology’s foundation as a research programme falls apart, likely explaining why there is little compelling evidence in favour of it
How to Cite: Dukes, L.J.M., 2019. Against the Research Programme of Evolutionary Psychology. Rerum Causae, 10(2), pp.22–30.
Published on 14 Sep 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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