items in this bibliography are not cited in the Guided Tour.
Barkow, Jerome H.., Leda Cosmides,
and John Tooby (eds.) (1992). The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and
the Generation of Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
is the sourcebook for the Evolutionary Psychology
paradigm. Its introduction (Cosmides, Tooby, & Barkow 1992)
and first two chapters (Tooby & Cosmides 1992;
Symons 1992) provide an overview and defense of
the foundational theory and methodology of Evolutionary Psychology.
The remainder of the book consists of chapters illustrating
applications of the theory and methodology to aspects of human
psychology, including social cooperation, mate choice, parental
care, language and cognition, aesthetic preference, psychopathology,
and culture. Particularly good chapters are those by Buss on
sex differences in mate preferences (chapter 5), Wilson and
Daly on male sexual proprietariness and its implications for
paternal care (chapter 7), and Pinker and Bloom on language
as an adaptation (chapter 12).
Buller, David J. (in preparation).
Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human
Under contract with MIT Press/Bradford Books.
critical examination of the Evolutionary Psychology. Several
chapters are devoted to investigating theoretical and empirical
problems with each of the theoretical tenets of Evolutionary
Psychology. Remaining chapters investigate methodological problems
with Evolutionary Psychology’s most prominent explanatory exemplars
concerning the psychology of mate choice, infidelity, jealousy,
parental care, and social cooperation.
Buss, David M. (1995). Evolutionary
Psychology: A New Paradigm for Psychological Science. Psychological Inquiry 6, pp. 1-30.
summary of the Evolutionary Psychology paradigm. Demonstrates
the alleged empirical fruits of the paradigm with a discussion
of sex differences in sexual jealousy. Also argues that Evolutionary
Psychology provides a framework within which to unite the so-far
fragmented areas of social psychology, personality theory, developmental
psychology, and cognitive psychology.
Buss, David M. (1999). Evolutionary Psychology:
The New Science of the Mind. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
designed for undergraduate courses, this is in effect a longer
and more detailed version of Buss (1995),
providing an extensive survey of the empirical work that has
been done in Evolutionary Psychology on various aspects of human
psychology. The first part provides an overview of the theoretical
foundations of Evolutionary Psychology, which is followed by
parts on psychological adaptations to problems of survival,
to problems of mating, to problems of parenting and kinship,
and to problems of living in groups. It concludes with a part
on how Evolutionary Psychology will unify psychology in the
Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby (1987).
From Evolution to Behavior: Evolutionary Psychology as the Missing
Link. In John Dupré (ed.), The Latest on the Best: Essays on Evolution
(pp. 277-306). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
of the early theoretical papers in Evolutionary Psychology,
this attempts to synthesize evolutionary theory with the cognitive
revolution. Drawing from cognitive science the idea that the
mind is an information-processing device, which is best described
in terms of its cognitive "programs" rather than its
physiological functioning, Cosmides and Tooby argue that evolutionary
theory allows a precise specification of the computational problems
that the mind is designed to solve. This is because, they argue,
evolutionary theory allows immediate understanding of the adaptive
problems that a species must have faced in its evolutionary
past, and these adaptive problems are those that the mind must
have evolved to solve. It also provides an early argument
for the necessity of modularity.
Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby (1994).
Origins of Domain Specificity: The Evolution of Functional Organization.
In Lawrence A. Hirschfeld & Susan A. Gelman (eds.), Mapping the Mind: Domain
Specificity in Cognition and Culture (pp. 85-116). New York: Cambridge University Press.
argument in support of what Samuels (1998)
calls "the massive modularity hypothesis." There is
a great deal of redundancy in Cosmides and Tooby's writings,
but this article probably provides the most extensive array
of arguments in support of the idea that selection would have
designed separate cognitive mechanisms to solve separate adaptive
problems, and that selection would have designed into these
mechanisms a substantial amount of innate knowledge about their
Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby (1997).
Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer.
This is intended as
a widely accessible overview of the theoretical foundations
of Evolutionary Psychology directly from the horses' mouths.
Covers all the topics discussed in section 2 of the Guided Tour.
Cosmides, Leda, John Tooby, and
Jerome H. Barkow (1992). Evolutionary Psychology and Conceptual
Integration. In Jerome H. Barkow, et al. (eds.), The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and
the Generation of Culture (pp. 3-15). New York: Oxford University Press.
is the introduction to The
Adapted Mind. As such,
it provides a brief overview of the theoretical and methodological
commitments of the articles contained in the book. It also provides
a brief argument that cognitive psychology needs to be "conceptually
integrated" with evolutionary biology.
Daly, Martin, and Margo Wilson
(1988). Homicide. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
and Wilson occupy a tangential position in the Evolutionary
Psychology paradigm. While their work on sexual jealousy, violence,
and parental investment ranks among the core exemplars of the
paradigm, they have not explicitly endorsed the theoretical
and methodological positions articulated by Buss, Cosmides and
Tooby, Pinker, and Symons. Indeed, their work is somewhat independent
of those other aspects of the Evolutionary Psychology paradigm.
This book is a study of patterns of fatal violence from the
standpoint of inclusive fitness. The kinds of fatal violence
it examines include killing kin, killing children (and child
physical abuse more generally), killing parents, killing for
"honor," spousal homicide, and revenge killings. This
is perhaps the finest, and most fascinating, empirical work
in evolutionary psychology (which is not to say, however, that
it is problem free). Daly and Wilson draw from an impressive
cross-cultural array of evidence, ranging from historical data
dating back to the 13th century to data drawn from urban municipalities
in North America. Agree with it or not, this is a book that
deserves to be read several times.
Deacon, Terrence W. (1997). The Symbolic Species:
The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
and provocative work in the field of evolutionary psychology,
but outside the Evolutionary Psychology paradigm. Deacon is
focused on explaining the progressive increase in relative brain
size in the hominid line, and he argues that it was a result
of interactive coevolution with language. This book is notable
for its strong challenge to the Chomskyan view that only an
innate language organ can explain the ability to acquire a language.
Elman, Jeffrey L., Elizabeth
A. Bates, Mark H. Johnson, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Domenico Parisi,
and Kim Plunkett (1996). Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
attempt to provide a theory of cognitive development in the
middle ground between the view of the mind as a tabula rasa,
which takes nothing to be innate, and the extreme nativism of
Evolutionary Psychologists and Chomskyans, which takes our full-blown
knowledge of particular domains to be fully innate and merely
awaiting activation by certain developmental events. Elman et
al. argue that neither of these extremes can be correct. They
altogether reject representational
nativism, which takes
certain classes of representation to be innate, while arguing
for a minimal architectural
to which the developing brain is biased toward storing and processing
representations of certain types of environmental stimuli. Such
biases provide some guidance for learning, so learning isn't
wholly domain general. But, in this view, learning is genuine
learning, and not simply the activation of already
Fodor, Jerry A. (1983). The Modularity of Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
locus classicus on modularity. Fodor argues for a restricted
modularity, which contrasts sharply with the promiscuous modularity
of Evolutionary Psychology. For Fodor, only the sensory
input systems and the language input system are modules.
Also, for Fodor modules possess an array of specific properties,
only a few of which are considered by Evolutionary Psychology
to be properties of evolved modules. For Fodor, modular
input systems possess all the following properties: (1) they
are domain specific, (2) they are informationally encapsulated,
(3) their operation is mandatory, i.e., not under conscious
control, (4) their operation is fast compared with that of central
cognitive processing, (5) they are neurally localized, (6) they
exhibit characteristic patterns of malfunction and breakdown,
(7) they are not cognitively penetrable, i.e., accessible to
and affected by conscious thought, (8) their development exhibits
characteristic chronotypic sequencing, and (9) their outputs
are basic phenomenological categories.
Godfrey-Smith, Peter (1999). Adaptationism
and the Power of Selection. Biology
14, pp. 181-194.
three kinds of adaptationism. (1) Empirical
to which virtually all organic form can be predicted from models
that exclude all evolutionary forces other than selection.
(2) Explanatory adaptationism, according to which explaining the
existence of adaptation is the primary explanatory task of evolutionary
biology, and this is a task in which selection plays the focal
role. (3) Methodological
to which the most fruitful approach for biologists is to begin
by attempting to explain organic form as the result of selection.
Godfrey-Smith focuses on explanatory adaptationism and discusses
the possibility that it accepts too readily the explanatory
desiderata stipulated by the tradition of natural theology.
Gould, Stephen Jay (1991). Exaptation:
A Crucial Tool for an Evolutionary Psychology. Journal of Social Issues 47, pp. 43-65.
that evolutionary approaches to the mind are mistakenly fixated
on discovering psychological adaptations. Gould argues that
the phenomenon of exaptation is central to human psychology,
so evolutionary psychology should be the search for exaptations,
instead of adaptations. The central argument of this paper,
which was sketched in section 3 of the Guided Tour, is repeated
in Gould (1997).
Gould, Stephen Jay (1997). Evolution:
The Pleasures of Pluralism. New
York Review of Books
44(11), pp. 47-52.
recent purveyors of what Gould calls "Darwinian Fundamentalism"
come in for ill-tempered attack in this article. One of the
two purveyors is Evolutionary Psychology, and Gould attacks
it for the reasons discussed in section 3 of the Guided Tour.
The other purveyor is Daniel Dennett's book Darwin's
Dangerous Idea, which
contained its own highly ill-tempered attack on Gould. Here
Gould seeks his revenge against Dennett's "slurs and sneers"
by matching him slur for slur and sneer for sneer. Amid
the mud wrestling there are a few ideas.
Gould, Stephen Jay, and Richard
C. Lewontin (1979). The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian
Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme. Proceedings of the Royal
Society of London
B 205, pp. 581-598.
is the classic paper that started all the fuss about adaptationism.
Gould and Lewontin argue that adaptationism suffers from two
flaws: (1) it neglects non-selective explanations of traits
(e.g., drift, developmental byproducts [so-called "spandrels"],
and pleiotropy), and (2) its standards for the acceptance of
an adaptive explanation of a trait are too low, often consisting
simply in mere consistency with natural selection (the famous
"just-so stories"). The article has spawned a huge
literature and debate. Good overviews of the issues and
subsequent discussion can be found in Elliott Sober's Philosophy of Biology, second edition (Boulder, CO: Westview
Press, 2000), and Kim Sterelny and Paul Griffiths' Sex and Death: An Introduction to
Philosophy of Biology
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).
Gould, Stephen Jay, and Elisabeth
S. Vrba (1982). Exaptation: A Missing Term in the Science of Form.
Paleobiology 8, pp. 4-15.
classic paper of Gould's. Whereas the Gould and Lewontin
paper introduced the term spandrel into biological discourse, this one
introduced the term exaptation (discussed and explained in section
3 of the Guided Tour). An exaptation, according to Gould and
Vrba is a trait that is currently useful to an organism, but
did not arise by selection for that use, having arisen instead
by selection for some other use. Gould and Vrba restrict the
term adaptation to those traits that continue to play
the role for which they were originally selected. Readers should
be cautioned that this is a highly idiosyncratic use of the
term adaptation. If a trait arose because of
selection for some purpose P, but later became used for purpose
it is standard to consider that trait an adaptation for P* provided that
there has been selection for P*, regardless of when during the trait's
history that selection occurred. So many traits that Gould and
Vrba insist on categorizing as exaptations would be unproblematically
classified as adaptations by most biologists.
Griffiths, Paul E. (1997). What Emotions Really
Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
is an excellent work in the field of evolutionary psychology,
focused exclusively on the evolution of the emotions. Griffiths
draws on work in ethology, evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology,
and anthropology, as well as philosophy, to provide an interesting
theory of the nature of the emotions. One of Griffiths'
provocative theses is that our concept of emotion incorrectly lumps together three distinct
phenomena; as such, the term does not demarcate a natural kind.
Along the way, Griffiths offers some brief criticisms of the
Evolutionary Psychology paradigm.
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray, and David
J. Buller (forthcoming). Evolutionary Psychology, Meet Developmental
Neurobiology: Combating Promiscuous Modularity. Brain and Mind.
on current cognitive neuroscience, this paper argues that our
knowledge of brain development and plasticity belies Evolutionary
Psychology's claim that the mind must consist of "hundreds
or thousands" of "genetically specified" modules.
It argues that something like modules can result from development,
but that they are not a "prespecified" result. The
main gist of this paper was summarized in section 4 of the Guided
Hull, David L. (1989). On Human
Nature. In The
Metaphysics of Evolution
(pp. 11-24). Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
draws on his vast knowledge of evolutionary biology to argue
compellingly that the concept of human nature has no foundation
in biology (as long as one means by "human nature"
something more substantive than "whatever human beings
do"). Hull's argument consists in demonstrating two primary
things. First, Hull demonstrates that variation is not only
ubiquitous and necessary for evolution to occur, but that it
is essential to any species, so there can be no
stable universal traits that "define" a species. Second,
all appeals to a universal human nature always run up against
exceptions; there is nothing that is literally universal in a species. This is dealt with by
restricting the universality to all "normal" members
of the species. Hull demonstrates that the concept of "normalcy"
that is a part of all such appeals to a human nature has no
foundation in evolutionary theory.
Karmiloff-Smith, Annette (1992). Beyond Modularity: A
Developmental Perspective on Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
statement of the theory of development defended by Elman et
al. (1996), written by one of the authors of
that work. What this book has to offer that the other doesn't
is the fact that here Karmiloff-Smith illustrates this theory
with detailed discussion of development in the areas of language
processing, folk physics, mathematics, folk psychology, and
drawing and writing.
Kuhn, Thomas S. (1996). The Structure of Scientific
(3rd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
-- perhaps the classic -- of 20th century philosophy
of science. Kuhn argues that the history of science consists
of cyclic alternations between periods of "normal science"
(scientific research conducted within a paradigm, which is ultimately
devoted to solving problems set by the paradigm) and "abnormal
science" (which occurs when a paradigm has collapsed, and
scientific research is not guided by accepted rules for solving
accepted problems). A paradigm for Kuhn consists of (1) a set of "symbolic
generalizations," or laws of nature, (2) metaphysical commitments,
(3) methodological standards, and (4) exemplars, concrete solutions
to problems the paradigm considers important and that serve
as models for future scientific research.
Pinker, Steven (1997a). How the Mind Works. New York: W. W. Norton.
overview of the entire Evolutionary Psychology paradigm, which
attempts to account for every aspect of human thought and behavior.
There is little original in this book; readers who seek a single,
but comprehensive, introduction to Evolutionary Psychology would
be much better off reading Barkow et al. (1992).
But, if you seek to be entertained while learning Evolutionary
Psychology, Pinker's impressive repertoire of jokes is on display
in this book, interwoven throughout his more "theoretical"
Pinker, Steven (1997b). Letter
to the Editors. New
York Review of Books
44(15), pp. 55-56.
brief response to Gould (1997).
Pinker defends the standard Evolutionary Psychology line that
complexity is a mark of adaptation; consequently, since the
psychological phenomena of interest to Evolutionary Psychologists
are complex, Evolutionary Psychology is right to presume that
those phenomena are adaptations. Pinker also correctly
argues that Gould's hypothesis that brain size is an adaptation
is mistaken, and that it must be a byproduct of selection for
Plotkin, Henry (1998). Evolution in Mind: An
Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
nice overview to the field of evolutionary psychology, touching
partly on the Evolutionary Psychology paradigm. Its greatest
strength, perhaps, is its historical orientation, clarifying
the evolution of evolutionary approaches to behavior and the
mind. While clearly and convincingly advocating an evolutionary
psychology, Plotkin falls
short of advocating the full-blown Evolutionary Psychology paradigm.
*Samuels, Richard (1998). Evolutionary Psychology and the
Massive Modularity Hypothesis. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49, pp. 575-602.
the evidence that Evolutionary Psychologists provide for their
claim that the mind consists of "hundreds or thousands"
of special-purpose, "genetically specified" information-processing
mechanisms. Samuels distinguishes two different claims:
(1) that the mind contains numerous, innate, domain-specific
bodies of knowledge, and (2) that the mind contains numerous,
innate, domain-specific information-processing mechanisms. Samuels argues that Evolutionary Psychologists
have tended to conflate these, although the former doesn't require
the latter. Indeed, Samuels endorses (1), but argues that there
is no evidence for (2). Thus, he claims, the mind's innate bodies
of domain-specific knowledge are operated on by domain-general
Sterelny, Kim (1995). The Adapted
10, pp. 365-380.
review article of The
Adapted Mind (Barkow
et al. 1992). Most notably, Sterelny argues against
the idea of "the psychological unity of mankind" and
against the notion that contemporary human minds are adapted
to Pleistocene environments.
Symons, Donald (1987). If We're
All Darwinians, What's the Fuss About? In Charles Crawford, et al.
and Psychology: Ideas, Issues, and Applications (pp. 121-146). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
fuss, Symons claims, is about whether the mind consists of a
highly flexible, domain-general learning mechanism or whether
it consists of numerous domain-specific problem-solving mechanisms.
Symons argues that, although many have thought that selection
made the human mind more general over time, evolutionary considerations
strongly favor a modular view of mind (although Symons didn't
call it a modular view at this point). Consequently, this is
one of the early papers in Evolutionary Psychology defending
the modular view.
Symons, Donald (1989). A Critique
of Darwinian Anthropology. Ethology and Sociobiology 10, pp. 131-144.
in the field of evolutionary psychology -- particularly those
who call their work "evolutionary anthropology" or
"human behavioral ecology" -- study human
behavior from the standpoint
of inclusive fitness theory. This approach seeks evidence of
adaptiveness at the level of behavior. Symons argues in this
paper that this is a mistake. Adaptive design, Symons argues,
doesn't manifest itself at the level of behavior, but at the
level of the psychological mechanisms that underlie and control
behavior. Selection, he argues, has designed psychological mechanisms,
not behaviors directly. As a result, evolutionary psychology,
Symons argues, should be focused on studying psychological mechanisms,
Symons, Donald (1990). Adaptiveness
and Adaptation. Ethology
11, pp. 427-444.
echoes the theme of Symons (1989),
but also provides extended discussion of the concept of the
environment of evolutionary
adaptedness (or EEA).
If we are to seek adaptation at the level of psychological mechanisms,
rather than behaviors, Symons argues, we must provide an account
of the features of the environment to which those mechanisms
are adapted. Those features constitute the EEA. Psychological
mechanisms have been designed by selection to produce behaviors
that were adaptive in the EEA. However, features of contemporary
environments may not strongly resemble the EEA. And, when they
don't, evolved psychological mechanisms may fail to produce
adaptive behavior. Consequently, evolutionary psychology should
not be studying whether human behavior is adaptive, but should
be studying psychological adaptations.
Symons, Donald (1992). On the
Use and Misuse of Darwinism in the Study of Human Behavior. In Jerome
H. Barkow, et al. (eds.), The
Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture (pp. 137-159). New York:
Oxford University Press.
is one of the two theoretical articles in The
Adapted Mind. It synthesizes
and summarizes the arguments from Symons 1987,
1989, and 1990.
In addition, it provides a brief overview of the standard Evolutionary
Psychological claims about sex differences in mate preferences:
males prefer lots of nubile women, females prefer a high-status
Symons, Donald (1995). Beauty
is in the Adaptations of the Beholder: The Evolutionary Psychology
of Human Female Sexual Attractiveness In Paul R. Abramson &
Steven D. Pinkerton (eds.), Sexual
Nature, Sexual Culture
(pp. 80-118). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
the standard Evolutionary Psychological line about male mate
preference. Symons argues that males have evolved preferences
for females with smooth skin, lighter-than-the-local-average
skin, and a waist-to-hip ratio around .75, since all of these
are indicators of nubility, hence indicators that a woman is
at her peak reproductive capacity.
Tooby, John, and Leda Cosmides
(1990a). On the Universality of Human Nature and the Uniqueness
of the Individual: The Role of Genetics and Adaptation. Journal of Personality 58, pp. 17-67.
is the source of the argument for a universal human nature.
The burden of the article is to attempt to reconcile the fact
of substantial genetic variation in human populations with the
claim that there is a species-universal collection of psychological
adaptations. The argument attempting this reconciliation was
summarized in section 6 of the Guided Tour. Tooby and Cosmides
conclude from it that all genetic variation in human populations
either underlies non-adaptive traits or is restricted to adaptive
traits at the biochemical level only.
Tooby, John, and Leda Cosmides
(1990b). The Past Explains the Present: Emotional Adaptations and
the Structure of Ancestral Environments. Ethology and Sociobiology 11, pp. 375-424.
Evolutionary Psychological article arguing that the proper study
of evolutionary psychology is not the adaptiveness of contemporary
human behavior, but the behavior control mechanisms that were
shaped by ancient selection processes. Tooby and Cosmides argue
that, even when contemporary human behavior is adaptive, it
is due to the operation of underlying behavior control mechanisms.
Those mechanisms are present in contemporary humans not because
of currently operating selection, but because contemporary humans
inherited those mechanisms from an ancestral line in which those
mechanisms were shaped by selection.. The extent to which contemporary
human behavior is adaptive, then, is due to the fact that those
mechanisms are operating in conditions that resemble the ancestral
conditions in which they were shaped by selection. Tooby and
Cosmides thus attempt to provide an account of those ancestral
conditions -- the environment
of evolutionary adaptedness
(the EEA) -- and demonstrate the ways in which contemporary
human environments resemble aspects of the EEA.
Tooby, John, and Leda Cosmides
(1992). The Psychological Foundations of Culture. In Jerome H. Barkow,
et al. (eds.), The
Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture (pp. 19-136). New York:
Oxford University Press.
is the most comprehensive statement and defense of the fundamental
theoretical commitments of Evolutionary Psychology, written
by its leading theorists. If you're going to read just one article
or book elaborating and defending Evolutionary Psychology, this
is what you should read. The article opens with a defense of
the application of neo-Darwinism to human psychology, then argues
extensively against what Tooby and Cosmides call the "Standard
Social Science Model" of human psychology, according to
which the mind is a blank slate on which culture imprints itself.
Tooby and Cosmides do an excellent and definitive job of detailing
the shortcomings in this view and showing why our biology must
affect our mentality. In the remainder of the article,
they articulate and defend the tenets sketched in section 2
of the Guided Tour. Unfortunately for Tooby and Cosmides, none
of their positive tenets (those sketched in section 2) are entailed
by a rejection of the Standard Social Science Model.
Tooby, John, and Leda Cosmides
(1995). Mapping the Evolved Functional Organization of the Mind
and Brain. In Michael S. Gazzaniga (ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences (pp. 1185-1197). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
and Cosmides here argue that cognitive neuroscience is actually
a branch of evolutionary biology, so cognitive neuroscientists
should allow their research to be informed by contemporary evolutionary
theory. The principal implication of evolutionary theory, argue
Tooby and Cosmides, is that it allows a precise specification
of the functions of cognitive mechanisms, which can be inferred
from knowledge about the adaptive problems that ancestral human
populations faced. Knowledge of the functions of cognitive mechanisms
in turn allows the construction of experiments that have greater
ecological validity than traditional cognitive scientific experiments
(such as those that require the memorization and recall of lists
of nonsense syllables). Of course, Tooby and Cosmides use the
occasion to trot out the usual Evolutionary Psychological tenets.
Williams, George C. (1966). Adaptation and Natural
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
of 20th century evolutionary biology. Williams' primary goal
was to demonstrate the inadequacies of prevailing group selectionism.
In the process, he articulated a number of principles to be
employed in the study of adaptation. Ironically, Williams has
been cited by Evolutionary Psychologists as a founder of their
form of adaptationism, in spite of the fact that Williams argued
that "adaptation is a special and onerous concept that
should be used only where it is really necessary" (p. 4).
Williams was clearly conservative with respect to adaptation
-- a point that has been lost on Evolutionary Psychologists.
Partly this may be due to the fact that Williams made a comment
in passing that has been quoted repeatedly in Evolutionary Psychological
writings: "Is it not reasonable to anticipate that our
understanding of the human mind would be aided greatly by knowing
the purpose for which it was designed?" (p. 16).
Wills, Christopher (1998). Children of Prometheus:
The Accelerating Pace of Human Evolution. Reading, MA: Perseus.
argues that not only are humans continuing to evolve, but that
human evolution is actually accelerating. He details a number
of phenomena that are accelerating human evolution, most of
them related to ways in which humans have altered their own
environments (for example, through creating job stress and ever
more virulent strains of infectious disease). Wills concludes
with speculations about the future course of human evolution.
Wilson, David Sloan (1994). Adaptive
Genetic Variation and Human Evolutionary Psychology. Ethology and Sociobiology 15, pp. 219-235.
important article in the field of evolutionary psychology, which
argues definitively that much variation in human populations
is no doubt adaptive, rather than simply the byproduct of the
same underlying psychological adaptations responding to differing
developmental circumstances. Consequently, the article is an
important critique of a central tenet of Evolutionary Psychology.
How have Evolutionary Psychologists dealt with Wilson's critique?
They have chosen to pretend that it doesn't exist. Tooby and
Cosmides have never cited -- let alone responded to -- the article.
Pinker (1997a) doesn't cite Wilson at all. And Buss
(1999) mentions Wilson only once, and that
pertains only to Wilson's defense of group selection. The strategy
appears to be: If you can't beat 'em, then act like they
don't exist. This kind of insularity is all the more evidence
that Evolutionary Psychology has the characteristics of a Kuhnian
*Wright, Robert (1994). The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and
New York: Vintage.
This is probably the
best popularization of Evolutionary Psychology. It receives
the endorsement of the Evolutionary Psychology establishment
by being included on the list of recommended readings posted
on the web site of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at
which is under the stewardship of Tooby and Cosmides.