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Evolutionary psychology: theoretical and methodological foundations

Goldfinch, Andrew
Fonte: London School of Economics and Political Science Thesis Publicador: London School of Economics and Political Science Thesis
Tipo: Thesis; NonPeerReviewed Formato: application/pdf
Publicado em /10/2012 EN
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Of all the research programmes in the evolutionary behavioural sciences, evolutionary psychology is unique in the scale and intensity of criticism it faces, from both philosophers and social scientists, forming a powerful impression that, no matter its purported benefits, evolutionary psychology is a discredited research programme, an outdated research programme, something one can legitimately dismiss. This thesis contends that those who dismiss evolutionary psychology wholesale fail to entitle themselves to that dismissal. I begin by championing a streamlined evolutionary psychology, one that navigates away from unnecessary controversy, one that better reflects the actual practice of evolutionary psychology on the ground, and one that doesn’t overshadow what’s valuable about the programme. After correcting several common misconceptions about evolutionary psychology, I arrive at the heart of what adaptationist hypothesizing can do for psychology: discovering new design features of extant psychological traits and discovering hitherto unknown psychological traits. I go through the logic of adaptationist reasoning in psychology. Inter alia, I argue that, although evolutionary psychology hypotheses might start off as ‘simple’...