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7.1c. Evolution of Cognition (Evolution of Cognition on PhilPapers)

See also:
Atkinson, Anthony P. & Wheeler, M. (2003). Evolutionary psychology's grain problem and the cognitive neuroscience of reasoning. In David E. Over (ed.), Evolution and the Psychology of Thinking: The Debate. Psychology Press.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Atkinson, Anthony P. & Wheeler, M. (2004). The grain of domains: The evolutionary-psychological case against domain-general cognition. Mind and Language 19 (2):147-76.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   Prominent evolutionary psychologists have argued that our innate psychological endowment consists of numerous domainspecific cognitive resources, rather than a few domaingeneral ones. In the light of some conceptual clarification, we examine the central inprinciple arguments that evolutionary psychologists mount against domaingeneral cognition. We conclude (a) that the fundamental logic of Darwinism, as advanced within evolutionary psychology, does not entail that the innate mind consists exclusively, or even massively, of domainspecific features, and (b) that a mixed innate cognitive economy of domainspecific and domaingeneral resources remains a genuine conceptual possibility. However, an examination of evolutionary psychology's 'grain problem' reveals that there is no way of establishing a principled and robust distinction between domainspecific and domaingeneral features. Nevertheless, we show that evolutionary psychologists can and do live with this grain problem without their whole enterprise being undermined
Atran, Scott (2005). Adaptationism for human cognition: Strong, spurious, or weak? Mind and Language 20 (1):39-67.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Strong adaptationists explore complex organic design as taskspecific adaptations to ancestral environments. This strategy seems best when there is evidence of homology. Weak adaptationists don't assume that complex organic (including cognitive and linguistic) functioning necessarily or primarily represents taskspecific adaptation. This approach to cognition resembles physicists' attempts to deductively explain the most facts with fewest hypotheses. For certain domainspecific competencies (folkbiology) strong adaptationism is useful but not necessary to research. With grouplevel belief systems (religion) strong adaptationism degenerates into spurious notions of social function and cultural selection. In other cases (language, especially universal grammar) weak adaptationism's 'minimalist' approach seems productive
Atran, Scott (2005). Strong versus weak adaptationism in cognition and language. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York.   (Google)
Bergstrom, Carl T. & Godfrey-Smith, Peter (1998). On the evolution of behavioral complexity in individuals and populations. Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):205-31.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   A wide range of ecological and evolutionary models predict variety in phenotype or behavior when a population is at equilibrium. This heterogeneity can be realized in different ways. For example, it can be realized through a complex population of individuals exhibiting different simple behaviors, or through a simple population of individuals exhibiting complex, varying behaviors. In some theoretical frameworks these different realizations are treated as equivalent, but natural selection distinguishes between these two alternatives in subtle ways. By investigating an increasingly complex series of models, from a simple fluctuating selection model up to a finite population hawk/dove game, we explore the selective pressures which discriminate between pure strategists, mixed at the population level, and individual mixed strategists. Our analysis reveals some important limitations to the ESS framework often employed to investigate the evolution of complex behavior
Bogdan, Radu J. (2003). Minding Minds: Evolving a Reflexive Mind by Interpreting Others. MIT Press.   (Cited by 36 | Google | More links)
Calvin, William H. (2004). A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This book looks back at the simpler versions of mental life in apes, Neanderthals, and our ancestors, back before our burst of creativity started 50,000 years...
Cangelosi, Angelo; Greco, Alberto & Harnad, Stevan (2002). Symbol grounding and the symbolic theft hypothesis. In A. Cangelosi & D. Parisi (eds.), Simulating the Evolution of Language. Springer-Verlag.   (Cited by 16 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Scholars studying the origins and evolution of language are also interested in the general issue of the evolution of cognition. Language is not an isolated capability of the individual, but has intrinsic relationships with many other behavioral, cognitive, and social abilities. By understanding the mechanisms underlying the evolution of linguistic abilities, it is possible to understand the evolution of cognitive abilities. Cognitivism, one of the current approaches in psychology and cognitive science, proposes that symbol systems capture mental phenomena, and attributes cognitive validity to them. Therefore, in the same way that language is considered the prototype of cognitive abilities, a symbol system has become the prototype for studying language and cognitive systems. Symbol systems are advantageous as they are easily studied through computer simulation (a computer program is a symbol system itself), and this is why language is often studied using computational models
Christensen, Dr Wayne (ms). The decoupled representation theory of the evolution of cognition - a critical assessment.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Sterelny’s Thought in a Hostile World (2003) presents a complex, systematically structured theory of the evolution of cognition centered on a concept of decoupled representation. Taking Godfrey-Smith’s (1996) analysis of the evolution of behavioral flexibility as a framework, the theory describes increasingly complex grades of representation beginning with simple detection and culminating with decoupled representation, said to be belief-like, and it characterizes selection forces that drive evolutionary transformations in these forms of representation. Sterelny’s ultimate explanatory target is the evolution of human agency. This paper develops a detailed analysis of the main cognitive aspects. It is argued that some of the major claims are not correct: decoupled representation as defined doesn’t capture belief-like representation, and, properly understood, decoupled representation turns out to be ubiquitous amongst multicellular animals. However some of the key ideas are right, or along the right lines, and suggestions are made for modifying and expanding the conceptual framework
Coates, Paul (2003). Review of Is the Visual World a Grand Illusion?. Human Nature Review 3:176-182.   (Google)
Abstract: A cluster of experiments on “Change Blindness”, “Inattentional Blindness” and associated phenomena appear to demonstrate extremely counter intuitive results. According to one plausible characterisation, these results show that we consciously take in far less of the visual world than it seems we are aware of. It is worth briefly summarising the results of two recent sets of experiments, in order to give a flavour of this work. In ‘Gorillas in our Midst’ (Simons, D. and Chabris, C., Perception, 1999, 28), subjects were asked to perform a task that involved watching a video of a casual basketball game that lasts for about a minute. The task involves counting the number of consecutive passes between members of the one of the teams. While the basketball is being thrown from player to player, something unexpected takes place: a person dressed in a black gorilla-suit walks through the play, stops briefly in the centre of the picture, thumps his chest, and then walks off. Although most subjects correctly record the number of passes made by the team, at least half of these subjects fail to notice the gorilla-suited interloper, who is visible for about nine seconds. When shown the video sequence a second time they are amazed to observe what they had previously overlooked
Cosmides, Leda & Tooby, John (1994). Beyond intuition and instinct blindness: Toward an evolutionary rigorous cognitive science. Cognition 50:41-77.   (Cited by 145 | Google)
Cummins, Denise D. & Cummins, Robert E. (1999). Biological preparedness and evolutionary explanation. Cognition 73 (3):B37-B53.   (Cited by 57 | Google | More links)
Abstract: It is commonly supposed that evolutionary explanations of cognitive phenomena involve the assumption that the capacities to be explained are both innate and modular. This is understandable: independent selection of a trait requires that it be both heritable and largely decoupled from other `nearby' traits. Cognitive capacities realized as innate modules would certainly satisfy these contraints. A viable evolutionary cognitive psychology, however, requires neither extreme nativism nor modularity, though it is consistent with both. In this paper, we seek to show that rather weak assumptions about innateness and modularity are consistent with evolutionary explanations of cognitive capacities. Evolutionary pressures can affect the degree to which the development of a capacity is canalized by biasing acquisition/ learning in ways that favor development of concepts and capacities that proved adaptive to an organism's ancestors. q 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved
Cummins, Denise D. & Cummins, Robert E. (2005). Innate modules vs innate learning biases. Cognitive Processing.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Proponents of the dominant paradigm in evolutionary psychology argue that a viable evolutionary cognitive psychology requires that specific cognitive capacities be heritable and “quasi-independent” from other heritable traits, and that these requirements are best satisfied by innate cognitive modules. We argue here that neither of these are required in order to describe and explain how evolution shaped the mind
Davies, Paul Sheldon (1996). Preface: Evolutionary theory in cognitive psychology. Minds and Machines 6 (4).   (Cited by 18 | Google | More links)
Downes, Stephen M. (2002). Some recent developments in evolutionary approaches to the study of human cognition and behavior. Biology and Philosophy 16 (5):575-94.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   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
Driscoll, Catherine (2004). Can behaviors be adaptations? Philosophy of Science 71 (1):16-35.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Kim Sterelny and Paul Griffiths (Sterelny 1992, Sterelny and Griffiths 1999) have argued that sociobiology is unworkable because it requires that human behaviors can be adaptations; however, behaviors produced by a functionalist psychology do not meet Lewontin's quasi-independence criterion and therefore cannot be adaptations. Consequently, an evolutionary psychologywhich regards psychological mechanisms as adaptationsshould replace sociobiology. I address two interpretations of their argument. I argue that the strong interpretation fails because functionalist psychology need not prevent behaviors from evolving independently, and it relies on too strong an interpretation of the quasi-independence criterion. The weaker interpretation does not undermine sociobiology, and evolutionary psychology would be vulnerable to the same criticism. Finally, I offer reasons to think that both mental mechanisms and behaviors can be adaptations
Durrant, Russil & Haig, Brian D. (2001). How to pursue the adaptationist program in psychology. Philosophical Psychology 14 (4):357 – 380.   (Cited by 33 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In recent times evolutionary psychologists have offered adaptation explanations for a wide range of human psychological characteristics. Critics, however, have argued that such endeavors are problematic because the appropriate evidence required to demonstrate adaptation is unlikely to be forthcoming, therefore severely limiting the role of the adaptationist program in psychology. More specifically, doubts have been raised over both the methodology employed by evolutionary psychologists for studying adaptations and about the possibility of ever developing acceptably rigorous evolutionary explanations of human psychological phenomena. We argue that by employing a wide range of methods for inferring adaptation and by adopting an inference to the best explanation strategy for evaluating adaptation explanations, these two doubts can be adequately addressed. We illustrate how this approach can be fruitfully employed in evaluating claims about the evolutionary origins of language, and conclude with a brief discussion of the future of evolutionary psychology
Gardenfors, Peter (2004). Does evolution provide a key to the scientific study of mind? The detachment of thought. In Christina E. Erneling & David Martel Johnson (eds.), Mind As a Scientific Object. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Millikan, Ruth G. (1997). On cognitive luck: Externalism in an evolutionary frame. In P. Machamer & M. Carrier (eds.), Mindscapes: Philosophy, Science, and the Mind. Pittsburgh University Press and Universtaetsverlag Konstanz.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Abstract: Steven Pinker (1995) chides the educated layman for imagining Darwin's theory to go this way (the vertical lines are "begats"): [Figure #1] Pinker says, "evolution did not make a ladder; it made a bush" (p. 343), and he gives us the following diagrams instead, showing how it went, in increasing detail, down to us
Gervet, Jacques; Gallo, Alain; Chalmeau, Raphael & Soleilhavoup, Muriel (1996). Some prerequisites for a study of the evolution of cognition in the animal kingdom. Acta Biotheoretica 44 (1).   (Google)
Abstract: A distinction is made between two definitions of animal cognition: the one most frequently employed in cognitive sciences considers cognition as extracting and processing information; a more phenomenologically inspired model considers it as attributing to a form of the outside world a significance, linked to the state of the animal. The respective fields of validity of these two models are discussed along with the limitations they entail, and the questions they pose to evolutionary biologists are emphasized. This is followed by a presentation of a general overview of what might be the study of the evolution of knowledge in animals
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (1996). Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 134 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This book explains the relationship between intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing links philosophy of mind to more general issues about the relations between organisms and environments, and to the general pattern of 'externalist' explanations. The author provides a biological approach to the investigation of mind and cognition in nature. In particular he explores the idea that the function of cognition is to enable agents to deal with environmental complexity. The history of the idea in the work of Dewey and Spencer is considered, as is the impact of recent evolutionary theory on our understanding of the place of mind in nature
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (2002). Environmental complexity and the evolution of cognition. In Robert J. Sternberg & J. Kaufman (eds.), The Evolution of Intelligence. Lawrence Erlbaum.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Abstract: One problem faced in discussions of the evolution of intelligence is the need to get a precise fix on what is to be explained. Terms like "intelligence," "cognition" and "mind" do not have simple and agreed-upon meanings, and the differences between conceptions of intelligence have consequences for evolutionary explanation. I hope the papers in this volume will enable us to make progress on this problem. The present contribution is mostly focused on these basic and foundational issues, although the last section of the paper will look at some specific models and programs of empirical work
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (2002). On the evolution of representational and interpretive capacities. The Monist 85 (1):50-69.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (forthcoming). Untangling the evolution of mental representation. In A. Zilhao (ed.), Cognition, Evolution, and Rationality: A Cognitive Science for the XXIst Century. Routledge.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Abstract: The "tangle" referred to in my title is a special set of problems that arise in understanding the evolution of mental representation. These are problems over and above those involved in reconstructing evolutionary histories in general, over and above those involved in dealing with human evolution, and even over and above those involved in tackling the evolution of other human psychological traits. I am talking about a peculiar and troublesome set of interactions and possibilities, linked to long-standing debates about the status of folk psychology and the nature of semantic properties
Greenberg, Mark (2004). Goals versus memes: Explanation in the theory of cultural evolution. In Susan L. Hurley & Nick Chater (eds.), Perspectives on Imitation. MIT Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Darwinian theories of culture need to show that they improve upon the commonsense view that cultural change is explained by humans? skillful pursuit of their conscious goals. In order for meme theory to pull its weight, it is not enough to show that the development and spread of an idea is, broadly speaking, Darwinian, in the sense that it proceeds by the accumulation of change through the differential survival and transmission of varying elements. It could still be the case that the best explanation of why the idea has developed and spread is the conscious pursuit of human goals. Meme theory has the potential to do explanatory work in diverse ways. It can challenge the goal-based account of cultural change directly. Other possibilities for meme theory include explaining the acquisition of our goals and showing that memes and genes evolve together, each affecting the selective forces acting on the other. Raising the question of meme theory?s explanatory payoff brings out the importance of the ?selfish-meme? idea and the idea of non-content biases. Both have the potential to challenge the claim that our goals are in the driver?s seat. In order to show that a Darwinian theory of culture is more than an idle redescription, however, it is necessary to make the case that it offers explanatory gain over its competitors, in particular over the common sense goal-based account
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (1999). Where Biology Meets Psychology: Philosophical Essays. MIT Press.   (Cited by 25 | Google)
Abstract: This book is perhaps the first to open a dialogue between the two disciplines.
Hauser, Marc D. & Spelke, Elizabeth (2004). Evolutionary and developmental foundations of human knowledge. In Michael S. Gazzaniga (ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences III. MIT Press.   (Cited by 36 | Google | More links)
Abstract: What are the brain and cognitive systems that allow humans to play baseball, compute square roots, cook soufflés, or navigate the Tokyo subways? It may seem that studies of human infants and of non-human animals will tell us little about these abilities, because only educated, enculturated human adults engage in organized games, formal mathematics, gourmet cooking, or map-reading. In this chapter, we argue against this seemingly sensible conclusion. When human adults exhibit complex, uniquely human, culture-specific skills, they draw on a set of psychological and neural mechanisms with two distinctive properties: they evolved before humanity and thus are shared with other animals, and they emerge early in human development and thus are common to infants, children, and adults. These core knowledge systems form the building blocks for uniquely human skills. Without them we wouldn’t be able to learn about different kinds of games, mathematics, cooking, or maps. To understand what is special about human intelligence, therefore, we must study both the core knowledge systems on which it rests and the mechanisms by which these systems are orchestrated to permit new kinds of concepts and cognitive processes. What is core knowledge? A wealth of research on non-human primates and on human infants suggests that a system of core knowledge is characterized by four properties (Hauser, 2000; Spelke, 2000). First, it is domain-specific: each system functions to represent particular kinds of entities such as conspecific agents, manipulable objects, places in the environmental layout, and numerosities. Second, it is task-specific: each system uses its representations to address specific questions about the world, such as “who is this?” [face recognition], “what does this do?” [categorization of artifacts], “where am I?” [spatial orientation], and “how many are here?” [enumeration]. Third, it is relatively encapsulated: each uses only a subset of the information delivered by an animal’s input systems and sends information only to a subset of the animal’s output systems.
Horacio Fabrega Jr, (2005). Biological evolution of cognition and culture: Off Arbib's mirror-neuron system stage? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):131-132.   (Google)
Abstract: Arbib offers a comprehensive, elegant formulation of brain/language evolution; with significant implications for social as well as biological sciences. Important psychological antecedents and later correlates are presupposed; their conceptual enrichment through protosign and protospeech is abbreviated in favor of practical communication. What culture “is” and whether protosign and protospeech involve a protoculture are not considered. Arbib also avoids dealing with the question of evolution of mind, consciousness, and self
Humphrey, N. (2003). The Inner Eye: Social Intelligence in Evolution. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 62 | Google)
Abstract: Easy to read, adorned with Mel Calman's brilliant illustrations, passionately argued, yet never less than scientifically profound, this book remains the...
Humphrey, N. (2003). The Mind Made Flesh: Essays From the Frontiers of Psychology and Evolution. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Nicholas Humphrey's writings about the evolution of the mind have done much to set the agenda for contemporary psychology.
Logan, J. D. (1898). Psychology and the argument from design. Philosophical Review 7 (6):604-614.   (Google | More links)
Machery, Edouard & Barrett, H. Clark (2006). Debunking Adapting Minds. Philosophy of Science 73.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Abstract: David Buller’s recent book, _Adapting Minds_, is a philosophical critique of the field of evolutionary psychology. Buller argues that evolutionary psychology is utterly bankrupt from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view. Although _Adapting Minds _has been well received in both the academic press and the popular media, we argue that Buller’s critique of evolutionary psychology fails
Mameli, Matteo (online). Evolution and psychology in philosophical perspective.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Abstract: evolution has resulted in a restricted set of basic Humans are evolved organisms. This means that innate mental abilities and, in so far as human human minds have an evolutionary origin and psychological traits are concerned, in nothing that human psychological traits are, in one way else. This basic set comprises sensory skills and a or another, the product of evolution. This chap- small number of general-purpose rules for learn-
Mameli, Matteo (2002). Mindreading, mindshaping, and evolution. Biology and Philosophy 16 (5):595-626.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I present and apply some powerful tools for studying human evolution and the impact of cultural resources on it. The tools in question are a theory of niche construction and a theory about the evolutionary significance of extragenetic (and, in particular, of psychological and social) inheritance. These tools are used to show how culturally transmitted resources can be recruited by development and become generatively entrenched. The case study is constituted by those culturally transmitted items that social psychologists call ‘expectancies’. Expectancy effects are mindshaping effects of our mindreading dispositions. I show how expectancies may have been recruited by important human developmental processes (like those involved in language acquisition and those responsible for gender differences) and how they may have become entrenched. If the hypothesis is correct, the relation between mindreading and human evolution is more intricate than usually thought
Martel Johnson, David (2004). Mind, brain, and the upper paleolithic. In Christina E. Erneling & David Martel Johnson (eds.), Mind As a Scientific Object. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Mason, Kelby; Sripada, Chandra & Stich, Stephen P. (forthcoming). The philosophy of psychology. In Dermot Moran (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Twentieth-Century Philosophy. Routledge.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: The 20th century has been a tumultuous time in psychology – a century in which the discipline struggled with basic questions about its intellectual identity, but nonetheless managed to achieve spectacular growth and maturation. It’s not surprising, then, that psychology has attracted sustained philosophical attention and stimulated rich philosophical debate. Some of this debate was aimed at understanding, and sometimes criticizing, the assumptions, concepts and explanatory strategies prevailing in the psychology of the time. But much philosophical work has also been devoted to exploring the implications of psychological findings and theories for broader philosophical questions like: Are humans really rational animals? How malleable is human nature? and Do we have any innate knowledge or innate ideas? One particularly noteworthy fact about philosophy of psychology in the 20th century is that, in the last quarter of the century, the distinction between psychology and the philosophy of psychology began to dissolve as philosophers played an increasingly active role in articulating and testing empirical theories about the mind and psychologists became increasingly interested in the philosophical underpinnings and implications of their work. Our survey is divided into five sections, each focusing on an important theme in 20th century psychology which has been the focus of philosophical attention and has benefited from philosophical scrutiny
Okasha, S. (2003). Fodor on cognition, modularity, and adaptationism. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):68-88.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper critically examines Jerry Fodor's latest attacks on evolutionary psychology. Contra Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, Fodor argues (i) there is no reason to think that human cognition is a Darwinian adaptation in the first place, and (ii) there is no valid inference from adaptationism about the mind to massive modularity. However, Fodor maintains (iii) that there is a valid inference in the converse direction, from modularity to adaptationism, but (iv) that the language module is an exception to the validity of this inference. I explore Fodor's arguments for each of these claims, and the interrelations between them. I argue that Fodor is incorrect on point (i), correct on point (ii), partially correct on point (iii), and incorrect on point (iv). Overall, his critique fails to show that adopting a broadly Darwinian approach to cognition is intellectually indefensible
Papineau, David (2004). Friendly thoughts on the evolution of cognition (critical discussion of Kim Sterelny, Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition, 2003). Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):491-502.   (Google)
Papineau, David (2004). Kim Sterelny, thought in a hostile world: The evolution of human cognition , oxford: Blackwell, 2003, pp. XI 262, £50 (cloth), £16.95 (paper). Friendly thoughts on the evolution of cognition. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):491 – 502.   (Google | More links)
Pinker, Steven & Bloom, Paul (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13:707-27.   (Cited by 893 | Google | More links)
Plantinga, Alvin (2004). Evolution, epiphenomenalism, reductionism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):602-619.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Plotkin, Henry C. (2001). Evolution and the human mind: How far can we go? In D. Walsh (ed.), Evolution, Naturalism and Mind. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Radcliffe Richards, J. (2000). Human Nature After Darwin: A Philosophical Introduction. Routledge.   (Google)
Red'ko, Vladimir G. (2000). Evolution of cognition: Towards the theory of origin of human logic. Foundations of Science 5 (3).   (Google)
Abstract: The main problem discussed in this paper is: Why and how did animal cognition abilities arise? It is argued that investigations of the evolution of animal cognition abilities are very important from an epistemological point of view. A new direction for interdisciplinary researches – the creation and development of the theory of human logic origin – is proposed. The approaches to the origination of such a theory (mathematical models of ``intelligent invention'' of biological evolution, the cybernetic schemes of evolutionary progress and purposeful adaptive behavior) as well as potential interdisciplinary links of the theory are described and analyzed
Richards, Robert J. (2005). Darwin's metaphysics of mind. In V. Hoesle & C. Illies (eds.), Darwin and Philosophy. Notre Dame University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Rosenberg, Alexander (1986). Intentional psychology and evolutionary biology, part II: The crucial disanalogy. Behaviorism 14:125-138.   (Google)
Sarnecki, John (2007). Developmental objections to evolutionary modularity. Biology and Philosophy 22 (4).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychologists argue that selective pressures in our ancestral environment yield a highly specialized set of modular cognitive capacities. However, recent papers in developmental psychology and neuroscience claim that evolutionary accounts of modularity are incompatible with the flexibility and plasticity of the developing brain. Instead, they propose cortical and neuronal brain structures are fixed through interactions with our developmental environment. Buller and Gray Hardcastle contend that evolutionary accounts of cognitive development are unacceptably rigid in light of evidence of cortical plasticity. The developing structure of the brain is both too random and too sensitive to external stimuli to be the product of a fixed genetic mechanism. They also claim that the complexity of the human brain cannot be explained in terms of our meager genetic endowment. There simply are not enough genes to program the intricate neuronal structures that are essential to cognition. I argue that neither of these arguments are persuasive. Small numbers of genes can function to determine diverse phenotypical outcomes through evolutionarily selected developmental systems. Similarly, theories of modularity do not rule out the possibility that innate cognitive systems exploit environmental regularities to guide the developing structure of the brain. Consequently, the anti-adaptionist consequences of these positions should be rejected
Shapiro, Lawrence A. & Epstein, William M. (1998). Evolutionary theory meets cognitive psychology: A more selective perspective. Mind and Language 13 (2):171-94.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Quite unexpectedly, cognitive psychologists find their field intimately connected to a whole new intellectual landscape that had previously seemed remote, unfamiliar, and all but irrelevant. Yet the proliferating connections tying together the cognitive and evolutionary communities promise to transform both fields, with each supplying necessary principles, methods, and a species of rigor that the other lacks. (Cosmides and Tooby, 1994, p. 85)
Shapiro, Lawrence A. (2001). Mind the adaptation. In D. Walsh (ed.), Evolution, Naturalism and Mind. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Singh, R. M. (2005). Mind, modularity and evolution. Indian Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1-2):105-131.   (Google)
Sperber, Dan (1996). Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.   (Cited by 728 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The book is full of novel and thought provoking ideas and is a pleasure to read.
Sterelny, Kim (2003). Darwinian concepts in the philosophy of mind. In J. Hodges & Gregory Radick (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Darwin. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Sterelny, Kim (2004). Reply to Papineau and Stich (critical discussion of Kim Sterelny, Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition, 2003). Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):512-522.   (Google)
Sterelny, Kim (2006). The evolution and evolvability of culture. Mind and Language 21 (2):137-165.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Joseph Henrich and Richard McElreath begin their survey of theories of cultural evolution with a striking historical example. They contrast the fate of the Bourke and Wills expedition — an attempt to explore some of the arid areas of inland Australia — with the routine survival of the local aboriginals in exactly the same area. That expedition ended in failure and death, despite the fact that it was well equipped, and despite the fact that those on the expedition were tough and experienced. For survival in such areas depended on accumulated local knowledge. The locals had learned how detoxify seeds before making bread from them, and how to catch the local fish. Bourke and Wills and their companions lacked this local knowledge, and died as a result (Henrich and McElreath 2003)
Sterelny, Kim (2003). Thought in a Hostile World. Blackwell.   (Cited by 87 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Blackwell Publishers, 2003 Review by Maura Pilotti, Ph.D. on Dec 1st 2003 Volume: 7, Number: 49
Stich, Stephen (2004). Some questions from the not-so-hostile world. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):503-511.   (Google)
Tooby, John & Cosmides, Leda (1998). Evolutionizing the cognitive sciences: A reply to Shapiro and Epstein. Mind and Language 13 (2):195-204.   (Cited by 9 | Google | More links)
Vilarroya, Oscar (2001). From functional mess to bounded functionality. Minds and Machines 11 (2).   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Some evolutionary psychologists contend that the best way to discover the functions of our present psychological systems is by appealing to the notion of functional mesh, that is, the assumed tight fit between a trait's design and the adaptive problem it is supposed to solve. In this paper, I argue that there exist theoretical considerations and empirical evidence that undermine this assumption of optimal design. Instead, I suggest that cognitive systems are constrained by what I call bounded functionality. This proposal makes use of Jacob's (1977) notion of evolution as a bricoleur and Simon's (1981) idea that problems can have ``satisficing'' solutions. Functional mesh will thus be shown to neglect constraints that are necessary to explain the evolution of psychological mechanisms
Walsh, Denis M. (2001). Naturalism, Evolution and the Mind. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Abstract: This collection of original essays covers a wide range of issues in current naturalised philosophy of mind.
Wasserman, Edward A. (2008). Development and evolution of cognition: One doth not fly into flying! Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (4):400-401.   (Google)
Weber, Bruce H. & Depew, David J. (eds.) (2003). Evolution and Learning: The Baldwin Effect Reconsidered. MIT Press.   (Cited by 35 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The essays in this book discuss the originally proposed Baldwin effect, how it was modified over time, and its possible contribution to contemporary empirical...
Wheeler, M. & Atkinson, Anthony P. (2001). Domains, brains and evolution. In D. Walsh (ed.), Evolution, Naturalism and Mind. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Woodward, James F. & Cowie, Fiona (2004). The mind is not (just) a system of modules shaped (just) by natural selection. In Christopher Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Wright, Richard D. (1994). The Moral Animal. Pantheon Books.   (Cited by 494 | Google)

7.1c.1 Evolutionary Psychology

Ariew, Andre (2003). Natural selection doesn't work that way: Jerry Fodor vs. evolutionary psychology on gradualism and saltationism. Mind and Language 18 (5):478-483.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In Chapter Five of The Mind Doesn’t Work That Way, Jerry Fodor argues that since it is likely that human minds evolved quickly as saltations rather than gradually as the product of an accumulation of small mutations, evolutionary psychologists are wrong to think that human minds are adaptations. I argue that Fodor’s requirement that adaptationism entails gradualism is wrongheaded. So, while evolutionary psychologists may be wrong to endorse gradualism—and I argue that they are wrong—it does not follow that they are wrong to endorse an adaptationist explanation for how the human mind evolved
Asendorpf, Jens B. & Penke, Lars (2005). A mature evolutionary psychology demands careful conclusions about sex differences. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):275-276.   (Google)
Abstract: By comparing alternative evolutionary models, the International Sexuality Description Project marks the transition of evolutionary psychology to the next level of scientific maturation. The lack of final conclusions might partly be a result of the composition of the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory and the sampled populations. Our own data suggest that correcting for both gives further support to the strategic pluralism model
Barendregt, Marko & Van Hezewijk, René (2005). Adaptive and genomic explanations of human behaviour: Might evolutionary psychology contribute to behavioural genomics? Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):57-78.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: . Evolutionary psychology and behavioural genomics are both approaches to explain human behaviour from a genetic point of view. Nonetheless, thus far the development of these disciplines is anything but interdependent. This paper examines the question whether evolutionary psychology can contribute to behavioural genomics. Firstly, a possible inconsistency between the two approaches is reviewed, viz. that evolutionary psychology focuses on the universal human nature and disregards the genetic variation studied by behavioural genomics. Secondly, we will discuss the structure of biological explanations. Some philosophers rightly acknowledge that explanations do not involve laws which are exceptionless and universal. Instead, generalisations that are invariant suffice for successful explanation as long as two other stipulations are recognised: the domain within which the generalisation has no exceptions as well as the distribution of the mechanism described by the generalisation should both be specified. It is argued that evolutionary psychology can contribute to behavioural genomic explanations by accounting for these two specifications
Barkow, Jerome H. (2000). Our shared species-typical evolutionary psychology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):148-148.   (Google)
Abstract: Because human cultures are far more similar than they are different, culturally constituted niches may work to limit or prevent the development of genetically based psychological differences across populations. The niche approach further implies that we may remain relatively well-adapted to contemporary environments because of the latter's cultural niche continuity with ancient environments
Barkow, Jerome; Cosmides, Leda & Tooby, John (eds.) (1992). The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 1369 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Second, this collection of cognitive programs evolved in the Pleistocene to solve the adaptive problems regularly faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors-...
Bering, Jesse M. & Shackelford, Todd K. (2004). The causal role of consciousness: A conceptual addendum to human evolutionary psychology. Review of General Psychology 8 (4):227-248.   (Cited by 36 | Google | More links)
Bering, Jesse M. & Bjorklund, Dave (2007). The serpent's gift: Evolutionary psychology and consciousness. In Philip David Zelazo, Morris Moscovitch & Evan Thompson (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness. Cambridge.   (Google)
Buller, David J. (online). A Guided Tour of Evolutionary Psychology. A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Buller, David J. (2005). Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature. MIT Press.   (Cited by 59 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In the carefully argued central chapters of Adapting Minds, Buller scrutinizes several of evolutionary psychology's most highly publicized "...
Buller, David J. (1999). Defreuding evolutionary psychology: Adaptation and human motivation. In Valerie Gray Hardcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Philosophy. MIT Press.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Buller, David J. & Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (2000). Evolutionary psychology, meet developmental neurobiology: Against promiscuous modularity. Brain and Mind 1 (3):307-25.   (Cited by 28 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychologists claim that the mind contains “hundreds or thousands” of “genetically specified” modules, which are evolutionary adaptations for their cognitive functions. We argue that, while the adult human mind/brain typically contains a degree of modularization, its “modules” are neither genetically specified nor evolutionary adaptations. Rather, they result from the brain’s developmental plasticity, which allows environmental task demands a large role in shaping the brain’s information-processing structures. The brain’s developmental plasticity is our fundamental psychological adaptation, and the “modules” that result from it are adaptive responses to local conditions, not past evolutionary environments. If different individuals share common environ- ments, however, they may develop similar “modules,” and this process can mimic the development of genetically specified modules in the evolutionary psychologist’s sense
Buller, David J. (2005). Evolutionary psychology: The emperor's new paradigm. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (6):277-283.   (Cited by 12 | Google | More links)
Buller, David J. (1997). Individualism and evolutionary psychology (or: In defense of "narrow" functions). Philosophy of Science 64 (1):74-95.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Millikan and Wilson argue, for different reasons, that the essential reference to the environment in adaptationist explanations of behavior makes (psychological) individualism inconsistent with evolutionary psychology. I show that their arguments are based on misinterpretations of the role of reference to the environment in such explanations. By exploring these misinterpretations, I develop an account of explanation in evolutionary psychology that is fully consistent with individualism. This does not, however, constitute a full-fledged defense of individualism, since evolutionary psychology is only one explanatory paradigm among many in psychology
Bulbulia, Joseph (2004). The cognitive and evolutionary psychology of religion. Biology and Philosophy 19 (5).   (Google)
Abstract:   The following reviews recent developments in the cognitive and evolutionary psychology of religion, and argues for an adaptationist stance
Buller, David J. (2007). Varieties of evolutionary psychology. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Buss, David M. (1999). Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind. Allyn and Bacon.   (Cited by 876 | Google)
Buss, David M. & Duntley, Joshua (1999). The evolutionary psychology of patriarchy: Women are not passive pawns in men's game. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (2):219-220.   (Google)
Abstract: We applaud Campbell's cogent arguments for the evolution of female survival mechanisms but take issue with several key conceptual claims: the treatment of patriarchy; the implicit assumption that women are passive pawns in a male game of media exploitation; and the neglect of the possibility that media images exploit existing evolved psychological mechanisms rather than create them
by Edouard Machery, reviewed & Clark Barrett, H. (2006). David J. Buller: Adapting minds: Evolutionary psychology and the persistent Quest for human nature,. Philosophy of Science 73 (2):232-246.   (Google)
Abstract: David Buller's recent book, Adapting Minds, is a philosophical critique of the field of evolutionary psychology. Buller argues that evolutionary psychology is utterly bankrupt from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view. Although Adapting Minds has been well received in both the academic press and the popular media, we argue that Buller's critique of evolutionary psychology fails
Cosmides, Leda & Tooby, John (online). Evolutionary psychology: A Primer.   (Cited by 78 | Google | More links)
Cosmides, Leda & Tooby, John (1987). From evolution to behavior: Evolutionary psychology as the missing link. In John Dupre (ed.), The Latest on the Best: Essays on Evolution and Optimality. MIT Press.   (Cited by 197 | Google)
Cummins, Denise D.; Cummins, Robert E. & Poirier, Pierre (2003). Cognitive evolutionary psychology without representational nativism. Journal Of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 15 (2):143-159.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A viable evolutionary cognitive psychology requires that specific cognitive capacities be (a) heritable and (b) ‘quasi-independent’ from other heritable traits. They must be heritable because there can be no selection for traits that are not. They must be quasi-independent from other heritable traits, since adaptive variations in a specific cognitive capacity could have no distinctive consequences for fitness if effecting those variations required widespread changes in other unrelated traits and capacities as well. These requirements would be satisfied by innate cognitive modules, as the dominant paradigm in evolutionary cognitive psychology assumes. However, those requirements would also be satisfied by heritable learning biases, perhaps in the form of architec- tural or chronotopic constraints, that operated to increase the canalization of specific cognitive capacities in the ancestral environment (Cummins and Cummins 1999). As an organism develops, cognitive capacities that are highly canalized as the result of heritable learning biases might result in an organism that is behaviourally quite similar to an organism whose innate modules come on line as the result of various environ- mental triggers. Taking this possibility seriously is increasingly important as the case against innate cognitive modules becomes increasingly strong
Davies, Paul Sheldon (1996). Discovering the functional mesh: On the methods of evolutionary psychology. Minds and Machines 6 (4):559-585.   (Cited by 43 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   The aim of this paper is to clarify and critically assess the methods of evolutionary psychology, and offer a sketch of an alternative methodology. My thesis is threefold. (1) The methods of inquiry unique to evolutionary psychology rest upon the claim that the discovery of theadaptive functions of ancestral psychological capacities leads to the discovery of thepsychological functions of those ancestral capacities. (2) But this claim is false; in fact, just the opposite is true. We first must discover the psychological functions of our psychological capacities in order to discover their adaptive functions. Hence the methods distinctive of evolutionary psychology are idle in our search for the mechanisms of the mind. (3) There are good reasons for preferring an alternative to the methods of evolutionary psychology, an alternative that aims to discover the functions of our psychological capacities by appeal to the concept of awhole psychology
Davies, Paul Sheldon (2009). Some evolutionary model or other: Aspirations and evidence in evolutionary psychology. Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):83 – 97.   (Google)
Davies, Paul Sheldon (1999). The conflict of evolutionary psychology. In Valerie Gray Hardcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. MIT Press.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
de JongLooren, Huib & van der Steen, Wim J. (1998). Biological thinking in evolutionary psychology: Rockbottom or quicksand? Philosophical Psychology 11 (2):183-205.   (Google)
De Jong, H. Looren & Van Der Steen, W. J. (1998). Biological thinking in evolutionary psychology: Rockbottom or quicksand? Philosophical Psychology 11 (2):183 – 205.   (Google)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychology is put forward by its defenders as an extension of evolutionary biology, bringing psychology within the integrated causal chain of the hard sciences. It is extolled as a new paradigm for integrating psychology with the rest of science. We argue that such claims misrepresent the methods and explanations of evolutionary biology, and present a distorted view of the consequences that might be drawn from evolutionary biology for views of human nature. General theses about adaptation in biology are empty schemata, not laws of nature allowing the subsumption of mind under biology. Functional thinking is an indispensable tool for psychology, mostly of value in abstractive unification and as a heuristic, but it gains little from association with evolutionary notions of selection. Thus, we argue, the cherished integrative causal model evaporates, and evolutionary phraseology serves no more than rhetorical purposes. Moreover, the universality of human nature and the evolutionary irrelevance of individual variation are presented as biological truths that psychologists should respect in their approach to mind. On closer inspection, this turns out to be rather dubious biology. Psychology might conceivably be better off as a continuation of biology by different means, but evolutionary psychology does not provide the conceptual integration leading to such a happy union
de Jong, Huib Looren (forthcoming). Evolutionary psychology and morality. Review essay. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.   (Google)
Dietrich, Eric (1994). AI and the tyranny of Galen, or why evolutionary psychology and cognitive ethology are important to artificial intelligence. Journal of Experimental And Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 6 (4):325-330.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Concern over the nature of AI is, for the tastes many AI scientists, probably overdone. In this they are like all other scientists. Working scientists worry about experiments, data, and theories, not foundational issues such as what their work is really about or whether their discipline is methodologically healthy. However, most scientists aren’t in a field that is approximately fifty years old. Even relatively new fields such as nonlinear dynamics or branches of biochemistry are in fact advances in older established sciences and are therefore much more settled. Of course, by stretching things, AI can be said to have a history reaching back t o Charles Babbage, and possibly back beyond that to Leibnitz. However, all of that is best viewed as prelude. AI’s history is punctuated with the invention of the computer (and, if one wants t o stretch our history back to the 1930s, the development of the notion of computation by Turing, Church, and others). Hence, AI really began (or began in earnest) sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s (some mark the conference a t Dartmouth in the summer of 1957 as the moment of our birth). And since those years we simply have not had time to settle into a routine science attacking reasonably well understood questions (for example, many of the questions some of us regard as supreme are regarded by others as inconsequential or mere excursions)
Downes, Stephen M., Evolutionary psychology, adaptation and design.   (Google)
Abstract: 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
Ferguson, S. (2002). Methodology in evolutionary psychology. Biology and Philosophy 17 (5):635-50.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Fessler, Daniel (2006). Steps toward an evolutionary psychology of a culture dependent species. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Culture and Cognition.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Forster, M. & Shapiro, Lawrence A. (2000). Prediction and accommodation in evolutionary psychology. Psychological Inquiry 11:31-33.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Ketelaar and Ellis have provided a remarkably clear and succinct statement of Lakatosian philosophy of science and have also argued compellingly that the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution fills the Lakatosian criteria of progressivity. We find ourselves in agreement with much of what Ketelaar and Ellis say about Lakatosian philosophy of science, but have some questions about (1) the place of evolutionary psychology in a Lakatosian framework, and (2) the extent to which evolutionary psychology truly predicts new findings
Frankenhuis, Willem E. & Ploeger, Annemie (2007). Evolutionary psychology versus Fodor: Arguments for and against the massive modularity hypothesis. Philosophical Psychology 20 (6):687 – 710.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychologists tend to view the mind as a large collection of evolved, functionally specialized mechanisms, or modules. Cosmides and Tooby (1994) have presented four arguments in favor of this model of the mind: the engineering argument, the error argument, the poverty of the stimulus argument, and combinatorial explosion. Fodor (2000) has discussed each of these four arguments and rejected them all. In the present paper, we present and discuss the arguments for and against the massive modularity hypothesis. We conclude that Cosmides and Tooby's arguments have considerable force and are too easily dismissed by Fodor
Franks, Bradley (2005). The role of "the environment" in cognitive and evolutionary psychology. Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):59-82.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychology is widely understood as involving an integration of evolutionary theory and cognitive psychology, in which the former promises to revolutionise the latter. In this paper, I suggest some reasons to doubt that the assumptions of evolutionary theory and of cognitive psychology are as directly compatible as is widely assumed. These reasons relate to three different problems of specifying adaptive functions as the basis for characterising cognitive mechanisms: the disjunction problem, the grain problem and the environment problem. Each of these problems can be understood as arising from incommensurate characterisations of the nature and role of 'the environment' in the two approaches. Purported solutions to the problems appear to require detailed information concerning the EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptedness), with the disjunction problem placing the lowest requirement, the environment problem placing the highest requirement, and the grain problem placing an intermediate one. In each case, such information is not likely to be forthcoming, because it may require iterating through successively more distant EEA's with no principled stopping point. This produces a dilemma for evolutionary psychology - either to solve these apparently insoluble problems, or to attempt to avoid them but in doing so forego detailed evolutionary constraints on cognition
Gangestad, Steven W. & Simpson, Jeffry A. (2000). Trade-offs, the allocation of reproductive effort, and the evolutionary psychology of human mating. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (4):624-636.   (Google)
Abstract: This response reinforces several major themes in our target article: (a) the importance of sex-specific, within-sex variation in mating tactics; (b) the relevance of optimality thinking to understanding that variation; (c) the significance of special design for reconstructing evolutionary history; (d) the replicated findings that women's mating preferences vary across their menstrual cycle in ways revealing special design; and (e) the importance of applying market phenomena to understand the complex dynamics of mating. We also elaborate on three points: (1) Men who have indicators of genetic fitness may provide more direct benefits when female demand for extra-pair and short-term sex is very low; (2) both men and women track ecological cues to make mating decisions; and (3) more research on female orgasm is needed
Gardner, John (online). Evolutionary psychology.   (Google)
Gerrans, Philip (2007). Mechanisms of madness: Evolutionary psychiatry without evolutionary psychology. Biology and Philosophy 22 (1).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Delusions are currently characterised as false beliefs produced by incorrect inference about external reality (DSM IV). This inferential conception has proved hard to link to explanations pitched at the level of neurobiology and neuroanatomy. This paper provides that link via a neurocomputational theory, based on evolutionary considerations, of the role of the prefrontal cortex in regulating offline cognition. When pathologically neuromodulated the prefrontal cortex produces hypersalient experiences which monopolise offline cognition. The result is characteristic psychotic experiences and patterns of thought. This bottom-up account uses neural network theory to integrate recent theories of the role of dopamine in delusion with the insights of inferential accounts. It also provides a general model for evolutionary psychiatry which avoids theoretical problems imported from evolutionary psychology
Gerrans, Philip (2002). The theory of mind module in evolutionary psychology. Biology and Philosophy 17 (3):305-21.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   Evolutionary Psychology is based on the idea that the mind is a set of special purpose thinking devices or modules whose domain-specific structure is an adaptation to ancestral environments. The modular view of the mind is an uncontroversial description of the periphery of the mind, the input-output sensorimotor and affective subsystems. The novelty of EP is the claim that higher order cognitive processes also exhibit a modular structure. Autism is a primary case study here, interpreted as a developmental failure of a module devoted to social intelligence or Theory of Mind. In this article I reappraise the arguments for innate modularity of TOM and argue that they fail. TOM ability is a consequence of domain general development scaffolded by early, innately specified, sensorimotor abilities. The alleged Modularity of TOM results from interpreting the outcome of developmental failures characteristic of autism at too high a level of cognitive abstraction
Grantham, Todd A. & Nichols, Shaun (1999). Evolutionary psychology: Ultimate explanations and panglossian predictions. In Valerie Gray Hardcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. MIT Press.   (Cited by 13 | Google)
Grace, C. & Moreland, James P. (2002). Intelligent design psychology and evolutionary psychology on consciousness: Turning water into wine. Journal of Psychology and Theology 30 (1):51-67.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Griffiths, Paul, Dancing in the dark: Evolutionary psychology and the argument from design.   (Google)
Abstract: The Narrow Evolutionary Psychology Movement represents itself as a major reorientation of the social/behavioral sciences, a group of sciences previously dominated by something called the ‘Standard Social Science Model’ (SSSM; Cosmides, Tooby, and Barkow, 1992). Narrow Evolutionary Psychology alleges that the SSSM treated the mind, and particularly those aspects of the mind that exhibit cultural variation, as devoid of any marks of its evolutionary history. Adherents of Narrow Evolutionary Psychology often suggest that the SSSM owed more to ideology than to evidence. It was the child of the 1960s, representing a politically motivated insistence on the possibility of changing social arrangements such as gender roles: ‘Not so long ago jealousy was considered a pointless, archaic institution in need of reform. But like other denials of human nature from the 1960s, this bromide has not aged well.’ (Stephen Pinker, endorsement for Buss, 2000)) This view of history does not ring true to those, like the authors, who have worked in traditions of evolutionary theorizing about the mind that have a continuous history through the 1960s and beyond: traditions such as evolutionary epistemology (Stotz, 1996; Callebaut and Stotz, 1998) and psychoevolutionary research into emotion (Griffiths
Griffiths, Paul (online). Evo-devo meets the mind: Toward a developmental evolutionary psychology.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract: _The emerging discipline of evolutionary developmental biology has opened up many new _ _lines of investigation into morphological evolution. Here I explore how two of the core _ _theoretical concepts in ‘evo-devo’ – modularity and homology – apply to evolutionary _ _psychology. I distinguish three sorts of module - developmental, functional and mental _ _modules and argue that mental modules need only be ‘virtual’ functional modules. _ _Evolutionary psychologists have argued that separate mental modules are solutions to _ _separate evolutionary problems. I argue that the structure of developmental modules in _ _an organism helps determine what counts as a separate evolutionary problem for that _ _organism. I suggest that homology as an organizing principle for research in _ _evolutionary psychology, has been severely neglected in favor of analogy (adaptive _ _function). I consider some arguments suggesting that determining homology is less _ _epistemically demanding than determining adaptive function and argue that _ _psychological categories defined by homology are, in fact, more suitable objects of _ _psychological - and particularly neuropsychological - investigation than categories _ _defined by analogy. _
Griffiths, Paul E., Evolutionary psychology: History and current status.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The development of evolutionary approaches to psychology from Classical Ethology through Sociobiology to Evolutionary Psychology is outlined and the main tenets of today's Evolutionary Psychology briefly examined: the heuristic value of evolutionary thinking for psychology, the massive modularity thesis and the monomorphic mind thesis
Griffiths, Paul Edmund, Ethology, sociobiology and evolutionary psychology.   (Google)
Abstract: In the years leading up to the Second World War the ethologists Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen, created the tradition of rigorous, Darwinian research on animal behavior that developed into modern behavioral ecology. At first glance, research on specifically human behavior seems to exhibit greater discontinuity that research on animal behavior in general. The 'human ethology' of the 1960s appears to have been replaced in the early 1970s by a new approach called ‘sociobiology’. Sociobiology in its turn appears to have been replaced by an approach calling itself Evolutionary Psychology. Closer examination, however, reveals a great deal of continuity between these schools. At present, whilst Evolutionary Psychology is the most visible form of evolutionary psychology, empirical and theoretical research on the evolution of mind and behavior is marked by a diversity of ideas and approaches and it is far from clear which direction(s) the field will take in future
Hales, Steven D. (2009). Moral relativism and evolutionary psychology. Synthese 166 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I argue that evolutionary strategies of kin selection and game-theoretic reciprocity are apt to generate agent-centered and agent- neutral moral intuitions, respectively. Such intuitions are the building blocks of moral theories, resulting in a fundamental schism between agent-centered theories on the one hand and agent-neutral theories on the other. An agent-neutral moral theory is one according to which everyone has the same duties and moral aims, no matter what their personal interests or interpersonal relationships. Agent-centered moral theories deny this and include at least some prescriptions that include ineliminable indexicals. I argue that there are no rational means of bridging the gap between the two types of theories; nevertheless this does not necessitate skepticism about the moral—we might instead opt for an ethical relativism in which the truth of moral statements is relativized to the perspective of moral theories on either side of the schism. Such a relativism does not mean that any ethical theory is as good as any other; some cannot be held in reflective equilibrium, and even among those that can, there may well be pragmatic reasons that motivate the selection of one theory over another. But if no sort of relativism is deemed acceptable, then it is hard to avoid moral skepticism
Hampton, Simon J. (2006). Can evolutionary psychology learn from the instinct debate? History of the Human Sciences 19 (4):57-74.   (Google)
Haufe, Chris (2008). Sexual selection and mate choice in evolutionary psychology. Biology and Philosophy 23 (1).   (Google)
Abstract: The importance of mate choice and sexual selection has been emphasized by the majority of evolutionary psychologists. This paper assesses three cases of work on mate choice and sexual selection in evolutionary psychology: David Buss on cross-cultural human mate preferences, Randy Thornhill and Steve Gangestad on the link between mate preferences and fluctuating asymmetry, and Geoffrey Miller on the role of Fisher’s runaway process in human evolution. A mixture of conceptual and empirical problems in each case highlights the general weakness of work in evolutionary psychology on these issues
Holcomb Iii, Harmon R. (1996). Just so stories and inference to the best explanation in evolutionary psychology. Minds and Machines 6 (4):525-540.   (Google)
Holcomb, Harmon R. (1996). Just so stories and inference to the best explanation in evolutionary psychology. Minds and Machines 6 (4).   (Google)
Abstract:   Evolutionary psychology is a science in the making, working toward the goal of showing how psychological adaptation underlies much human behavior. The knee-jerk reaction that sociobiology is unscientific because it tells just-so stories has become a common charge against evolutionary psychology as well. My main positive thesis is that inference to the best explanation is a proper method for evolutionary analyses, and it supplies a new perspective on the issues raised in Schlinger's (1996) just-so story critique. My main negative thesis is that, like many nonevolutionist critics, Schlinger's objections arise from misunderstandings of the evolutionary approach.Evolutionary psychology has progressed beyond telling just-so stories. It has found a host of ingenious special techniques to test hypotheses about the adaptive significance and proximate mechanisms of behavior. Naturalistic data using the comparative method combined with controlled tests using statistical analyses of data provide good evidence for a variety of hypotheses about behavioral control mechanisms — whether in nonhumans or in humans. For instance, the work of Gangestad and Thornhill on evolved mate preferences and fluctuating asymmetry of body type (FA) is a model of success. As the quantity and quality of evidence increase, we are entitled not just to regard such evolutionary hypotheses as preferable, but also as true. Such studies combine to show that the best explanation of the psychic unity of humankind — common patterns across societies, history, and cultures exposed by evolutionists — is the gendered, adapted, evolved species-typical design of the mind
Horne, Christine (2004). Values and evolutionary psychology. Sociological Theory 22 (3):477-503.   (Google | More links)
Humphrey, Nicholas (ms). Great expectations: The evolutionary psychology of faith- healing and the placebo effect.   (Google)
Abstract: I said that the cure itself is a certain leaf, but in addition to the drug there is a certain charm, which if someone chants when he makes use of it, the medicine altogether restores him to health, but without the charm there is no profit from the leaf
Jackson, John, Definitional argument in evolutionary psychology and cultural anthropology.   (Google)
Abstract: An old aphorism claims that “The person who defines the terms of the debate can win it.” This paper argues that the debate between evolutionary psychologists and cultural anthropologists over the biological explanation of human behavior is framed by a larger definitional dispute over the question, “What is culture?” Both disciplines attempt to define “culture” to build their disciplines, but were engaged in different kinds of arguments by definition. Definitional arguments often take one of two forms. A real definition takes the form “What is X?” In this view, we should use the word “X” in a particular way because that is what X really is. The other form of definitional argument, pragmatic definition, takes the form, “How should we use the term X?” In this view, an arguer puts for reasons for using the term “X” in a particular way. Evolutionary psychologists are engaged in argument by real definition. In their “manifesto” for evolutionary psychology, Tooby and Cosmides argue that the explanations of social or cultural behavior in the social sciences are “incoherent” because they attempt to explain such behavior “psychological phenomena without describing or even mentioning the evolved mechanisms their theories would require to be complete or coherent” (p.37). Because humans are biological creatures, cultural explanations must include biology because culture really is biological. Hence, biology is a necessary part of explanations of human culture. Cultural anthropologists engaged in argument by persuasive definition. A close examination of Kroeber’s writings reveals, however, that he readily acknowledged that humans were biological and culture rested on a biological foundation. He argued that we should treat culture as autonomous in our explanatory schemes because that would bring benefits to the biological sciences as well as the human sciences. In his writings, Kroeber reveals himself as a staunch Darwinian who argues for the autonomy of cultural anthropology on pragmatic, not on ontological grounds. Hence, the historical caricature of his work by evolutionary psychology fails
Jones, Mostyn W. (1995). Inadequacies in current theories of imagination. Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):313-333.   (Google)
Abstract: Interest in imagination dates back to Plato and Aristotle, but full-length works have been devoted to it only relatively recently by Sartre, McKellar, Furlong, Casey, Johnson, Warnock, Brann, and others. Despite their length and variety, however, these current theories take overly narrow views of this complex phenomenon. (1) Their definitions of “imagination” neglect the multiplicity of its meanings and tend to focus narrowly on the power of imaging alone (which produces images and imagery). But imagination in the fullest, most encompassing sense centers instead on creativity, which involves both imaging and reasoning powers. (2) Current accounts of the operations of imagination narrowly construe it in fixed, immutable terms. But it’s instead a dynamic, evolving synergy of its psychological roots (images and symbols) and sociobiological roots (cultures and instincts). This synergy has transformed the roles of images and symbols in imagination (as Vygotsky, Goody, etc. note). For example, in the shift from mytheopic to scientific imagination, literacy and formal education fostered abstract symbolic thinking (reason), which differs from mytheopic thinking based on richly concrete associations (imagery). The result was “more than cool reason”, but experimental studies (by Perkins, Clement, etc.) show that it’s also more than just dreamy imagery. It’s a dynamic synergy of the two that has transformed both. (3) Current evaluations of imagination’s potentials are also narrow. They tend to focus on its role in mental life while ignoring social and political life. Also, they tend to follow romantic and existentialist customs of extolling imagination’s virtues without soberly critiquing its limitations. Again, they ignore the synergy of psychological, sociological and biological forces that shape mental and social evolution, and promote and constrain imagination in complex ways. For example, Sartre surreally asks us to choose our own nature with an imagination emancipated from institutional and instinctual strictures. Yet making intelligible choices depends on these strictures. (4) In conclusion, current theories define imagination narrowly in terms of imaging, they describe its operations in fixed and immutable terms, and they evaluate its potentials without examining the full interplay of forces shaping it. These shortcomings are remedied by a broader perspective that defines imagination more adequately and comprehensively, and that recognizes it’s complex roots, dynamic operations, and evolving potentials.
Krellenstein, Marc F. (ms). What have we learned from evolutionary psychology?   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychology claims biological inclinations for certain behaviors (e.g., a desire for more frequent sex and more sexual partners by males as compared to females), and the origin of these inclinations in natural selection. Jerry Fodor’s recent book, The Mind Doesn’t Work that Way (2000), grants the nativist case for such biological grounding but disputes the presumed certainty of its origin in natural selection. Nevertheless, there is today a consensus that at least some of the claims of evolutionary psychology are true, and their broad appeal suggests that many see them as easy insights into and possible license for some controversial behaviors. Evolutionary psychologists, on the other hand, caution that an origin in natural selection implies only an inclination for certain behaviors, and not that the behaviors will be true of all people, will lead to happiness or are morally correct. But such cautions can be as facile as the simplistic positions they are intended to counter. A biological basis implies tendencies to behaviors that will be pleasurable when engaged in, and that can be modified to an extent and at a psychic cost that is, at best, not fully understood. Also, while it is true that naturally selected behaviors are not necessarily moral, the implications of current evolutionary psychology cast doubt on any absolute foundation for morality at all, as well as suggesting limits on our ability to fully understand both ourselves and the universe around us. However, this does not mean that our (relative) values or apparent free will are any less real or important for us
Kruttschnitt, Candace (1999). Do we owe it all to Darwin? The adequacy of evolutionary psychology as an explanation for gender differences in aggression. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (2):228-229.   (Google)
Abstract: Gender differences in aggression are highly variable; there is significant evidence that this variability is as much a function of social and cultural conditions as evolutionary processes. While some of these conditions may reflect resource scarcities as Campbell proposes, others are inconsistent with her perspective or are explained equally well by other perspectives
Leiber, Justin (2006). Instinctive incest avoidance: A paradigm case for evolutionary psychology evaporates. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 36 (4):369–388.   (Google | More links)
Leiber, Justin (2008). The Wiles of evolutionary psychology and the indeterminacy of selection. Philosophical Forum 39 (1):53–72.   (Google | More links)
Levy, Neil (2004). Evolutionary psychology, human universals, and the standard social science model. Biology and Philosophy 19 (3):459-72.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   Proponents of evolutionary psychology take the existence of humanuniversals to constitute decisive evidence in favor of their view. Ifthe same social norms are found in culture after culture, we have goodreason to believe that they are innate, they argue. In this paper Ipropose an alternative explanation for the existence of humanuniversals, which does not depend on them being the product of inbuiltpsychological adaptations. Following the work of Brian Skyrms, I suggestthat if a particular convention possesses even a very small advantageover competitors, whatever the reason for that advantage, we shouldexpect it to become the norm almost everywhere. Tiny advantages aretranslated into very large basins of attraction, in the language of gametheory. If this is so, universal norms are not evidence for innatepsychological adaptations at all. Having shown that the existence ofuniversals is consistent with the so-called Standard Social ScienceModel, I turn to a consideration of the evidence, to show that thisstyle of explanation is preferable to the evolutionary explanation, atleast with regard to patterns of gender inequality
Lloyd, Elisabeth A. (1999). Evolutionary psychology: The burdens or proof. Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):211-33.   (Cited by 56 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   I discuss two types of evidential problems with the most widely touted experiments in evolutionary psychology, those performed by Leda Cosmides and interpreted by Cosmides and John Tooby. First, and despite Cosmides and Tooby's claims to the contrary, these experiments don't fulfil the standards of evidence of evolutionary biology. Second Cosmides and Tooby claim to have performed a crucial experiment, and to have eliminated rival approaches. Though they claim that their results are consistent with their theory but contradictory to the leading non-evolutionary alternative, Pragmatic Reasoning Schemas theory, I argue that this claim is unsupported. In addition, some of Cosmides and Tooby's interpretations arise from misguided and simplistic understandings of evolutionary biology. While I endorse the incorporation of evolutionary approaches into psychology, I reject the claims of Cosmides and Tooby that a modular approach is the only one supported by evolutionary biology. Lewontin's critical examinations of the applications of adaptationist thinking provide a background of evidentiary standards against which to view the currently fashionable claims of evolutionary psychology
Machery, Edouard (web). Discovery and confirmation in evolutionary psychology. In Jesse J. Prinz (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The defining insight of evolutionary psychology consists of bringing considerations drawn from evolutionary biology to bear on the study of human psychology. So characterized, evolutionary psychology encompasses a large range of views about the nature and evolution of human psychology as well as diverging opinions about the proper method for studying them.1 In this article, I propose to clarify and evaluate various aspects of evolutionary psychologists’ methodology, with a special focus on their heuristics of discovery—i.e., their methods for developing plausible hypotheses—and their strategies of confirmation—i.e., their methods for providing empirical support for these hypotheses.2 I will also evaluate several well-known objections raised against evolutionary psychology. Note that because views about psychology and evolution differ among evolutionary psychologists, I do not pretend to cover every method used in evolutionary psychology.3
Maffie, James (1998). Atran's evolutionary psychology: “Say it ain't just-so, joe”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):583-584.   (Google)
Abstract: Atran advances three theses: our folk-biological taxonomy is (1) universal, (2) innate, and (3) the product of natural selection. I argue that Atran offers insufficient support for theses (2) and (3) and that his evolutionary psychology thus amounts to nothing more than a just-so story
Mallon, Ronald & Stich, Stephen P. (2000). The odd couple: The compatibility of social construction and evolutionary psychology. Philosophy Of Science 67 (1):133-154.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychology and social constructionism are widely regarded as fundamentally irreconcilable approaches to the social sciences. Focusing on the study of the emotions, we argue that this appearance is mistaken. Much of what appears to be an empirical disagreement between evolutionary psychologists and social constructionists over the universality or locality of emotional phenomena is actually generated by an implicit philosophical dispute resulting from the adoption of different theories of meaning and reference. We argue that once this philosophical dispute is recognized, it can be set to the side. When this is done, it becomes clear that the two approaches to the emotions complement, rather than compete with, one another
Mameli, Matteo (online). Sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, and adaptive thinking.   (Google)
Meijer, Danielle (2007). Adapting minds: Evolutionary psychology and the persistent Quest for human nature. Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):124-125.   (Google)
Morin, Alain (ms). Evolutionary psychology.   (Google)
Abstract: A review of The Face in the Mirror: The Search for the Origins of Consciousness by Julian Paul Keenan with Gordon C. Gallup Jr. and Dean Falk. Ecco, New York, 2003. ISBN 006001279X
Mullen, John T. (2007). Can evolutionary psychology confirm original sin? Faith and Philosophy 24 (3):268-283.   (Google)
Abstract: Christian responses to the developing field of evolutionary psychology tend to be defensive, focusing on the task of showing that Christians have not beenpresented with any reason to abandon any central beliefs of the Christian faith. A more positive response would seek to show that evolutionary psychologycan provide some sort of epistemic support for one or more distinctively Christian doctrines. This paper is an attempt to supply such a response by focusing on the distinctively Christian doctrine of original sin, which presents itself as an especially likely candidate for support from evolutionary psychology. I consider five versions of the doctrine in order of increasing content, arguing that all but the last can receive such support. However, in order to argue for the fourth version (which includes the doctrine traditionally described as “original guilt”), I enlist the aid of a Molinist understanding of divine providence. A consequence of this application of Molinism is that God holds us morally accountable, not only for what we actually do, but also for what we would do in any non-actual conditions, and that He acts on His knowledge of what we would do in such conditions. Because many may find this consequence problematic, I also argue that it is both morally acceptableand necessary for the perfection of the relationship between God and human beings. The last version of original sin that I consider insists that it must be thecausal product of the first sin of the first human being(s), but I argue that this is not a reasonable alternative if original sin is to be equated with behavioraltendencies inherited from an evolutionary ancestry
Murphy, Dominic (2000). Darwin in the madhouse: Evolutionary psychology and the classification of mental disorders. Evolution and the Human Mind.   (Cited by 25 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Recent years have witnessed a ground swell of interest in the application of evolutionary theory to issues in psychopathology (Nesse & Williams 1995, Stevens & Price 1996, McGuire & Troisi 1998). Much of this work has been aimed at finding adaptationist explanations for a variety of mental disorders ranging from phobias to depression to schizophrenia. There has, however, been relatively little discussion of the implications that the theories proposed by evolutionary psychologists might have for the classification of mental disorders. This is the theme we propose to explore. We'll begin, in Section 2, by providing a brief overview of the account of the mind advanced by evolutionary psychologists. In Section 3 we'll explain why issues of taxonomy are important and why the dominant approach to the classification of mental disorders is radically and alarmingly unsatisfactory. We will also indicate why we think an alternative approach, based on theories in evolutionary psychology, is particularly promising. In Section 4 we'll try to illustrate some of the virtues of the evolutionary psychological approach to classification. The discussion in Section 4 will highlight a quite fundamental distinction between those disorders that arise from the malfunction of a component of the mind and those that can be traced to the fact that our minds must now function in environments that are very different from the environments in which they evolved. This mis-match between the current and ancestral environments can, we maintain, give rise to serious mental disorders despite the fact that, in one important sense, there is nothing at all wrong with the people suffering the disorder. Their minds are functioning exactly as Mother Nature intended them to. In Section 5, we'll give a brief overview of some of the ways in which the sorts of malfunctions catalogued in Section 4 might arise, and sketch two rather different strategies for incorporating this etiologically
Nanay, Bence (online). Evolutionary psychology and the selectionist model of neural development: A combined approach.   (Google)
Abstract: Evolution and Cognition 8 (2002) pp. 200-206. [abstract] [full text]
Over, David E. (2002). The rationality of evolutionary psychology. In Jose Luis Bermudez & Alan Millar (eds.), Reason and Nature. Clarendon.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Palmer, Craig T.; Steadman, Lyle B.; Cassidy, Chris & Coe, Kathryn (2008). Totemism, metaphor and tradition: Incorporating cultural traditions into evolutionary psychology explanations of religion. Zygon 43 (3):719-735.   (Google)
Abstract: Totemism, a topic that fascinated and then was summarily dismissed by anthropologists, has been resurrected by evolutionary psychologists' recent attempts to explain religion. New approaches to religion are all based on the assumption that religious behavior is the result of evolved psychological mechanisms. We focus on two aspects of Totemism that may present challenges to this view. First, if religious behavior is simply the result of evolved psychological mechanisms, would it not spring forth anew each generation from an individual's psychological mechanisms? Yet, Australian Totemism, like other forms of Totemism, is profoundly traditional, copied by one generation from the prior ones for hundreds of generations. Regardless of personal inclinations, individuals are obligated to participate. Second, it is problematic to assume that all practitioners of Totemism actually believe their religious claims. We propose an alternative explanation that accounts for the persistence of Totemism and that does not rely on an assumption that its practitioners are preliterate or naive because they have strange beliefs. We focus on Totemism as a cultural mechanism aimed at building and sustaining social relationships among close and distant kinsmen
Quartz, Steven; Sullivan, Jackie; Machamer, Peter & Scarantino, Andrea, Session 5: Development, neuroscience and evolutionary psychology.   (Google)
Abstract: Proceedings of the Pittsburgh Workshop in History and Philosophy of Biology, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, March 23-24 2001 Session 5: Development, Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology
Ratcliffe, Matthew (2005). An epistemological problem for evolutionary psychology. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):47-63.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This article draws out an epistemological tension implicit in Cosmides and Tooby's conception of evolutionary psychology. Cosmides and Tooby think of the mind as a collection of functionally individuated, domain-specific modules. Although they do not explicitly deny the existence of domain-general processes, it will be shown that their methodology commits them to the assumption that only domain-specific cognitive processes are capable of producing useful outputs. The resultant view limits the scope of biologically possible cognitive accomplishments and these limitations, it will be argued, are such as to deny us epistemic capacities that evolutionary psychology presupposes in its pursuit of an objective, comprehensive account of human nature
Richardson, Robert C. (1996). The prospects for an evolutionary psychology: Human language and human reasoning. Minds and Machines 6 (4):541-557.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   Evolutionary psychology purports to explain human capacities as adaptations to an ancestral environment. A complete explanation of human language or human reasoning as adaptations depends on assessing an historical claim, that these capacities evolved under the pressure of natural selection and are prevalent because they provided systematic advantages to our ancestors. An outline of the character of the information needed in order to offer complete adaptation explanations is drawn from Robert Brandon (1990), and explanations offered for the evolution of language and reasoning within evolutionary psychology are evaluated. Pinker and Bloom's (1992) defense of human language as an adaptation for verbal communication, Robert Nozick's (1993) account of the evolutionary origin of rationality, and Cosmides and Tooby's (1992) explanation of human reasoning as an adaptation for social exchange, are discussed in light of what is known, and what is not known, about the history of human evolution. In each case, though a plausible case is made that these capacities are adaptations, there is not enough known to offer even a semblance of an explanation of the origin of these capacities. These explanations of the origin of human thought and language are simply speculations lacking the kind of detailed historical information required for an evolutionary explanation of an adaptation
Rosen, Steven M. (1999). Evolution of Attentional Processes in the Human Organism. Group Analysis 32 (2):243-253.   (Google)
Abstract: This article explores the evolution of human attention, focusing particularly on the phylogenetic and ontogenetic implications of the work of the American social psychiatrist Trigant Burrow. Attentional development is linked to the emergence of visual perspective, and this, in turn, is related to Burrow's notion of `ditention' (divided or partitive attention). Burrow's distinction between `ditention' and `cotention' (total organismic awareness) is examined, and, expanding on this, a threefold pattern of perceptual change is identified: prototention-->ditention-->cotention. Next, ditentive visual perspective is related to binocular convergence, and the author makes use of the perspectivally ambiguous, `non-convergent' Gestalt figure known as the Necker Cube to illustrate cotention. The paper concludes by proposing that the shift from the currently pervasive ditentive pattern of awareness to a cotentive mode could have a salutary effect on human society.
Ross, Don & Spurrett, David (2006). Evolutionary psychology and functionally empty metaphors. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (2):192-193.   (Google)
Abstract: Lea & Webley's (L&W's) non-exclusive distinction between tool-like and drug-like motivators is insufficiently discriminating to say much about money that is useful, as the distinction's equivocal application to sex, food, and drugs shows. Further, it appears as though the motivations of problem gamblers are non-metaphorically like those of drug addicts. (Published Online April 5 2006)
Ryan, Christopher & Jethá, Cacilda (2005). Universal human traits: The holy grail of evolutionary psychology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):292-293.   (Google)
Abstract: Although the search for universal human traits is necessarily the principle focus of researchers in evolutionary psychology, the habitual reliance on undergraduate students introduces profound doubts concerning resulting data. Furthermore, the absence of relevant data from foraging societies undermines claims of cross-cultural universality in this paper and in many others
Samuels, Richard (1998). Evolutionary psychology and the massive modularity hypothesis. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (4):575-602.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In recent years evolutionary psychologists have developed and defended the Massive Modularity Hypothesis, which maintains that our cognitive architecture—including the part that subserves ‘central processing’ —is largely or perhaps even entirely composed of innate, domain-specific computational mechanisms or ‘modules’. In this paper I argue for two claims. First, I show that the two main arguments that evolutionary psychologists have offered for this general architectural thesis fail to provide us with any reason to prefer it to a competing picture of the mind which I call the Library Model of Cognition. Second, I argue that this alternative model is compatible with the central theoretical and methodological commitments of evolutionary psychology. Thus I argue that, at present, the endorsement of the Massive Modularity Hypothesis by evolutionary psychologists is both unwarranted and unmotivated
Samuels, Richard (2000). Massively modular minds: Evolutionary psychology and cognitive architecture. Evolution and the Human Mind.   (Cited by 28 | Google)
Abstract: What are the elements from which the human mind is composed? What structures make up our _cognitive architecture?_ One of the most recent and intriguing answers to this question comes from the newly emerging interdisciplinary field of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychologists defend a _massively modular_ conception of mental architecture which views the mind –including those parts responsible for such ‘central processes’ as belief revision and reasoning— as composed largely or perhaps even entirely of innate, special-purpose computational mechanisms or ‘modules’ that have been shaped by natural selection to handle the sorts of recurrent information processing problems that confronted our hunter-gatherer forebears (Cosmides and Tooby,192; Sperber, 1994; Samuels, 1998a)
Scher, S. J. & Rauscher, F. (2002). Evolutionary Psychology: Alternative Perspectives. Kluwer.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Schmaus, Warren (2003). Is Durkheim the enemy of evolutionary psychology? Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (1).   (Google)
Abstract: an exemplar of an approach that takes the human mind to be largely the product of social and cultural factors with negligible contributions from biology. The author argues that on the contrary, his sociological theory of the categories is compatible with the possibility of innate cognitive capacities, taking causal cognition as his example. Whether and to what extent there are such innate capacities is a question for research in the cognitive neurosciences. The extent to which these innate capacities can then be explained by natural selection remains an open question for empirical investigation. Key Words: categories • causality • cognition • Durkheim • evolutionary psychology
Schachner, Dory A.; Scheib, Joanna E.; Gillath, Omri & Shaver, Phillip R. (2005). Worldwide, economic development and gender equality correlate with liberal sexual attitudes and behavior: What does this tell us about evolutionary psychology? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):293-294.   (Google)
Abstract: Shortcomings in the target article preclude adequate tests of developmental/attachment and strategic pluralism theories. Methodological problems include comparing college student attitudes with societal level indicators that may not reflect life conditions of college students. We show, through two principal components analyses, that multiple tests of the theories reduce to only two findings that cannot be interpreted as solid support for evolutionary hypotheses
Shapiro, Larry (web). Evolutionary psychology. In E. Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge.   (Google)
Shalizi, Cosma, Evolutionary psychology.   (Google)
Abstract: The study of how our minds have evolved, and the traces left by that evolution. The most important seems to be that we don't have a general, content-neutral intelligence, but a gang or collection of specialized intelligences bent and stretched into unnatural poses for things like math. Logically, all this is quite separate from the question of whether or not we use evolutionary processes in our thinking, whether the mind is a Darwin machine, but I think all the advocates of the latter support evolutionary psychology as well
Silvers, Stuart (2007). Adaptation, plasticity, and massive modularity in evolutionary psychology: An eassy on David Buller's adapting minds. Philosophical Psychology 20 (6):793 – 813.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature DAVID BULLER Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005 564 pages, ISBN: 0262025795 (hbk); $37.00
Stich, Stephen P. & Mallon, Ron (2000). The odd couple: The compatibility of social construction and evolutionary psychology. Philosophy of Science 67 (1):133-154.   (Google)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychology and social constructionism are widely regarded as fundamentally irreconcilable approaches to the social sciences. Focusing on the study of the emotions, we argue that this appearance is mistaken. Much of what appears to be an empirical disagreement between evolutionary psychologists and social constructionists over the universality or locality of emotional phenomena is actually generated by an implicit philosophical dispute resulting from the adoption of different theories of meaning and reference. We argue that once this philosophical dispute is recognized, it can be set to the side. When this is done, it becomes clear that the two approaches to the emotions complement, rather than compete with, one another
Stotz, K. C. & Griffiths, Paul E. (2002). Dancing in the dark: Evolutionary psychology and the argument from design. In S. J. Scher & F. Rauscher (eds.), Evolutionary Psychology: Alternative Approaches. Kluwer.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The Narrow Evolutionary Psychology Movement represents itself as a major reorientation of the social/behavioral sciences, a group of sciences previously dominated by something called the ‘Standard Social Science Model’ (SSSM; Cosmides, Tooby, and Barkow, 1992). Narrow Evolutionary Psychology alleges that the SSSM treated the mind, and particularly those aspects of the mind that exhibit cultural variation, as devoid of any marks of its evolutionary history. Adherents of Narrow Evolutionary Psychology often suggest that the SSSM owed more to ideology than to evidence. It was the child of the 1960s, representing a politically motivated insistence on the possibility of changing social arrangements such as gender roles:
‘Not so long ago jealousy was considered a pointless, archaic institution in need
of reform. But like other denials of human nature from the 1960s, this bromide
has not aged well.’ (Stephen Pinker, endorsement for Buss, 2000))
This view of history does not ring true to those, like the authors, who have worked in traditions of evolutionary theorizing about the mind that have a continuous history through the 1960s and beyond: traditions such as evolutionary epistemology (Stotz, 1996; Callebaut and Stotz, 1998) and psychoevolutionary research into emotion (Griffiths
Stone, Valerie E. (2002). Footloose and fossil-free no more: Evolutionary psychology needs archaeology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (3):420-421.   (Google)
Abstract: Evolutionary theories of human cognition should refer to specific times in the primate or hominid past. Though alternative accounts of tool manufacture from Wynn's are possible (e.g., frontal lobe function), Wynn demonstrates the power of archaeology to guide cognitive theories. Many cognitive abilities evolved not in the “Pleistocene hunter-gatherer” context, but earlier, in the context of other patterns of social organization and foraging
Sufka, Kenneth J. & Turner, Derek D. (2005). An evolutionary account of chronic pain: Integrating the natural method in evolutionary psychology. Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):243-257.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper offers an evolutionary account of chronic pain. Chronic pain is a maladaptive by-product of pain mechanisms and neural plasticity, both of which are highly adaptive. This account shows how evolutionary psychology can be integrated with Flanagan's natural method, and in a way that avoids the usual charges of panglossian adaptationism and an uncritical commitment to a modular picture of the mind. Evolutionary psychology is most promising when it adopts a bottom-up research strategy that focuses on basic affective and motivational systems (as opposed to higher cognitive functions) that are phylogenetically deep
Suplizio, Jean (2007). On the significance of William James to a contemporary doctrine of evolutionary psychology. Human Studies 30 (4).   (Google)
Abstract: 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
Thompson, Nicholas S. (2000). Evolutionary psychology can ill afford adaptionist and mentalist credulity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (6):1013-1014.   (Google)
Abstract: The idea that dreams function as fright-simulations rests on the adaptionist notion that anything that has form has function, and psychological argument relies on the mentalist assumption that dream reports are accurate reports of experienced events. Neither assumption seems adequately supported by the evidence presented. [Revonsuo]
Toates, Frederick (2005). Evolutionary psychology -- towards a more integrative model. Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):305-328.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Aspects of the history of behavioural science are reviewed, pointing to its fragmented and faction-ridden nature. The emergence of evolutionary psychology (EP) is viewed in this context. With the help of a dual-layered model of behavioural control, the case is made for a more integrative perspective towards EP. The model's application to both behaviour and complex human information processing is described. Similarities in their control are noted. It is suggested that one layer of control (‘on-line’) corresponds to the encapsulated modules of EP whereas the off-line controls provide the plasticity and flexibility suggested by its critics
Tooby, John & Cosmides, Leda (2007). Evolutionary psychology, ecological rationality, and the unification of the behavioral sciences. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1):42-43.   (Google)
Abstract: For two decades, the integrated causal model of evolutionary psychology (EP) has constituted an interdisciplinary nucleus around which a single unified theoretical and empirical behavioral science has been crystallizing – while progressively resolving problems (such as defective logical and statistical reasoning) that bedevil Gintis's beliefs, preferences, and constraints (BPC) framework. Although both frameworks are similar, EP is empirically better supported, theoretically richer, and offers deeper unification. (Published Online April 27 2007)
Voracek, Martin (2005). Shortcomings of the sociosexual orientation inventory: Can psychometrics inform evolutionary psychology? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):296-297.   (Google)
Abstract: Simpson and Gangestad's (1991) Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI) is pivotal in Schmitt's cross-national study on sociosexuality. Here I elaborate on psychometric shortcomings of the SOI that are crucial in this research context
Ward, Chuck, Evolutionary psychology and the problem of neural plasticity.   (Google)
Abstract: Evolutionary psychology as commonly presented is committed to the view that our cognitive architecture consists of a set of genetically pre-specified, domain specific, computational modules that are adaptations to the environment of our Pleistocene ancestors. These commitments yield a picture in which the underlying computational design of the human mind is genetically transmitted while cultural variation results from differential experiential inputs being processed through this common architecture. This view has been criticized from a developmental point of view. This paper develops some of those criticisms specifically as they relate to the plasticity of neural structures and their responsiveness to social interactions. In best case scenarios the confirmation of adaptive explanations involves identifying the specific causal mechanisms of selection. This is illustrated in examples from ecological genetics. This is not possible in the case of evolutionary psychology. Instead claims that certain computational modules evolved as adaptations in the ancestral environment are supported by their cross-cultural occurrence in modern populations. However, evidence suggests that behavior itself, and cultural practices, are factors that influence the development of neural structures and the cognitive processes they instantiate. So while genes are playing a role in the development of the brain, they do not really encode its neural architecture. When selection favors one set of neural characteristics over alternatives, the genes that played a role in the development of those structures are passed on. But this does not guarantee replication of the structures themselves. What is being selected? Not genes, but organisms with certain neurological and behavioral tendencies in particular environments. Variation in the genetic determinants of neurological structure is not a necessary condition for natural selection to act on behavior. The necessary condition, as Darwin originally put the point, is that traits are heritable. Certainly heritability implies some genetic transmission between generations. But heritability of neural structure requires more than a genetic determinant because neural structures are so plastic. Some regulation of the experiential environment in which those genes act is also necessary. This suggests that an adequate account of the evolution of behavior requires a multi-level approach that recognizes that gene action and social behavior are related by a kind of causal reciprocity. Such an account would be quite different than the evolutionary psychologists’ model of culture being layered over the top of an underlying cognitive computer that is genetically propagated
Wilson, David Sloan & Miller, Ralph R. (2002). Altruism, evolutionary psychology, and learning. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):281-282.   (Google)
Abstract: Rachlin's substantive points about the relationship between altruism and self-control are obscured by simplistic and outdated portrayals of evolutionary psychology in relation to learning theory
Wilson, David Sloan; Dietrich, Eric & Clark, Anne B. (2003). On the inappropriate use of the naturalistic fallacy in evolutionary psychology. Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):669-81.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Abstract:   The naturalistic fallacy is mentionedfrequently by evolutionary psychologists as anerroneous way of thinking about the ethicalimplications of evolved behaviors. However,evolutionary psychologists are themselvesconfused about the naturalistic fallacy and useit inappropriately to forestall legitimateethical discussion. We briefly review what thenaturalistic fallacy is and why it is misusedby evolutionary psychologists. Then we attemptto show how the ethical implications of evolvedbehaviors can be discussed constructivelywithout impeding evolutionary psychologicalresearch. A key is to show how ethicalbehaviors, in addition to unethical behaviors,can evolve by natural selection

7.1c.2 Evolution of Cognition, Misc

García, Claudia Lorena (2007). Cognitive Modularity, Biological Modularity and Evolvability. Biological Theory: Integrating Development, Evolution and Cognition (KLI) 2 (1):62-73.   (Google)
Abstract: There is an argument that has recently been deployed in favor of thinking that the mind is mostly (or even exclusively) composed of cognitive modules; an argument that draws from some ideas and concepts of evolutionary and of developmental biology. In a nutshell, the argument concludes that a mind that is massively composed of cognitive mechanisms that are cognitively modular (henceforth, c-modular) is more evolvable than a mind that is not c-modular (or that is scarcely c-modular), since a cognitive mechanism that is c-modular is likely to be biologically modular (henceforth, b-modular), and b-modular characters are more evolvable (e.g., Sperber 2002, Carruthers 2005). In evolutionary biology, the evolvability of a character in an organism is understood as the “organism’s capacity to facilitate the generation of non-lethal selectable phenotypic variation from random mutation” with respect to that character. Here I will argue that the notion of cognitive modularity needed to make this argument plausible will have to be understood in terms of the biological notion of variational independence; that is, it will have to be understood in such a way that a cognitive feature is c-modular only if few or no other morphological changes (cognitive and not) are significantly correlated with variations of that feature arising in members of the relevant population. I will also argue that all –except for (possibly) one—of the connotations contained in a cluster of notions of cognitive modularity widely accepted in some of the mainstream currents of thought in classical cognitive science, are simply irrelevant to the argument. In order to argue for this, I will have to examine the question as to whether there are any strong theoretical connections between (1) those connotations and (2) notions of modularity accepted in biology, specially in evolutionary and in developmental biology, that are thought to be most relevant to arguments to the effect that biological modularity enhances evolvability.
Gross, Steven (2010). Origins of human communication - by Michael Tomasello. Mind and Language 25 (2):237-246.   (Google)
Jeffares, Ben (online). The Evolution of Technical Competence: Economic and Strategic Thinking. ASCS09: Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper will outline a series of changes in the archaeological record related to Hominins. I argue that these changes underlie the emergence of the capacity for strategic thinking. The paper will start by examining the foundation of technical skills found in primates, and then work through various phases of the archaeological and paleontological record. I argue that the key driver for the development of strategic thinking was the need to expand range sizes and cope with increasingly heterogeneous environments.
Menant, Christophe, Evolution of meaningful information generation through the evolution of life (2003).   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper, we use the Meaning Generator System (MGS) presented at Gathering in Biosemiotics 2 [1] to analyse the evolution of meaningful information generation through different steps of the evolution of life. Taking as a starting point the usage of MGS for vital constraint satisfaction in basic life (paramecium), we develop its application for more complex living elements up to the case of non-human primate. The thread we follow is relative to the identification of new constraints that can appear through evolution of life, and correspondingly participate to generation of new types of meaningful information. We show that beside the complexification of vital constraints to be satisfied, and in addition to the corresponding enrichment of their satisfaction processes, there is a step in evolution that naturally introduces some specific new constraint in living elements. This step is the one corresponding to the performance of self-representation. Self-representation appeared in evolution at the level of non-human primates. We present the content of self-representation and show that it has a direct consequence on the living element in terms of a new type of constraint to be satisfied. We show that this new constraint participates to the generation of a new set of meaningful information via the MGS, and that the satisfaction of the constraint introduces some natural formulation of emotion generation during the evolution of life. [1]
Menant, Christophe (ms). From biosemiotics to semiotics (2002).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Biosemiotics and Semiotics have similarities and differences. Both deal with signal and meaning. One difference is that Biosemiotics covers a domain (life) that is less complex that the one addressed by Semiotics (human). We believe that this difference can be used to have Biosemiotics bringing added value to Semiotics. This belief is based on the fact that a theory of meaning is easier to build up for living elements than for humans, and that the results obtained for life can make available some tools for a higher level of complexity. Semiotic has been encountering some difficulties to deliver a scientific theory of meaning that can be efficient at the level of human mind. The obstacles come from our ignorance on the nature of human. As it is true that we do not understand the nature of human mind on a scientific basis. On the other hand, the nature and properties of life are better understood. And we can propose a modelization for a generation of meaningful information in the field of elementary life. Once such a modelization is established, it is possible to look at extending it to the domain of human life. Such an approach on a theory of meaning (begininig in Biosemiotics and aiming at Semiotics), is what we present in this paper. Taking an elementary living element as reference, we introduce the bases of a systemic theory of meaning. Using a simple living system submitted to a constraint, we define a meaningful information, a meaning generator system and some elements related to meaningful information transmission. We then try to identify the hypothesis that need to be taken into account so the results obtained for living elements can be extended to human
Menant, Christophe (2005). Information and meaning in life, humans and robots (2005). Proceedings of FIS2005 by MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Information and meaning exist around us and within ourselves, and the same information can correspond to different meanings. This is true for humans and animals, and is becoming true for robots. We propose here an overview of this subject by using a systemic tool related to meaning generation that has already been published (C. Menant, Entropy 2003). The Meaning Generator System (MGS) is a system submitted to a constraint that generates a meaningful information when it receives an incident information that has a relation with the constraint. The content of the meaningful information is explicited, and its function is to trigger an action that will be used to satisfy the constraint of the system. The MGS has been introduced in the case of basic life submitted to a "stay alive" constraint. We propose here to see how the usage of the MGS can be extended to more complex living systems, to humans and to robots by introducing new types of constraints, and integrating the MGS into higher level systems. The application of the MGS to humans is partly based on a scenario relative to the evolution of body self-awareness toward self-consciousness that has already been presented (C. Menant, Biosemiotics 2003, and TSC 2004). The application of the MGS to robots is based on the definition of the MGS applied to robots functionality, taking into account the origins of the constraints. We conclude with a summary of this overview and with themes that can be linked to this systemic approach on meaning generation
Menant, Christophe (ms). Introduction to a Systemic Theory of Meaning (Jan 2010 update).   (Google | More links)
Menant, Christophe, Proposal for an approach to artificial consciousness based on self-consciousness.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Current research on artificial consciousness is focused on phenomenal consciousness and on functional consciousness. We propose to shift the focus to self-consciousness in order to open new areas of investigation. We use an existing scenario where self-consciousness is considered as the result of an evolution of representations. Application of the scenario to the possible build up of a conscious robot also introduces questions relative to emotions in robots. Areas of investigation are proposed as a continuation of this approach