What´s Evolutionary Psychology? Essay

What´s Evolutionary Psychology? Essay

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Evolutionary Psychology has been controversial since its rise in the 1990s, with critics and proponents debating its merits as a science. While critics (e.g. David Buller, Elizabeth Lloyd) have extensively criticized the fundamentals of Evolutionary Psychology, few philosophers or scientists have challenged them. Given the growing influence of the evolutionary behavioral sciences within mainstream science like Psychology and Anthropology, it is important analyze the critiques and see if the arguments against Evolutionary Psychology have merit. This paper will focus on two of the most often cited critiques of Evolutionary Psychology: the critique of the concept of the modular model of the mind and the critique of the two “signature achievements” in Evolutionary Psychology, Martin Daly and Margot Wilson’s Cinderella Effect and David Buss’s studies of male-female differences in jealousy. I will describe and respond these critiques of Evolutionary Psychology, making the case that these critiques are not valid and have little merit on scientific basis of Evolutionary Psychology.
A Modular Mind?
Many of the most prominent critics of Evolutionary Psychology (Buller and Kaplan) are deeply skeptical of Evolutionary Psychology’s two defining tenets. The first tenet says the human mind is “massively modular,” composed of a myriad of independent, special purpose (“domain-specific”) modules, each evolved to help our ancestors survive and reproduce during the hunter-gather period of human evolution. The second tenet focuses on the idea that no subsequent cognitive adaptations to novel environments have occurred (Machery 2007; Rellihan 2012). According to prominent critic David Buller (2005), evolutionary psychologists think that humans are a le...


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...criterion that true science is progressive. It has proven able to successfully account for apparent anomalies and generate novel predictions and explanations and therefore has the hallmarks of a currently progressive research program capable of providing us with new knowledge of how the mind works (Ketellar and Ellis 2000). A glance at the Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (2005), edited by David Buss, shows just how vigorous and productive the field is. Important challenges remain in the discipline, however. The most important are determining the role of domain-specific versus domain-general processes and integrating evolutionary psychology with other behavioral sciences like genetics, neuroscience, and psychometrics (Buss 2004; Rice 2011). Even though critics will remain, Evolutionary Psychology will remain as a scientific discipline for the foreseeable future.

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