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The emperor’s new paradigm. The rise and fall and rise and fall of evolutionary perspectives in psychology. On evolution. A chicken is just an egg's way of making more eggs. Charles Darwin. Premise 1: Struggle for survival Premise 2: Variability Premise 3: Heritability Premise 4: Fitness

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the emperor s new paradigm

The emperor’s new paradigm

The rise and fall and rise and fall of evolutionary perspectives in psychology

on evolution

On evolution

A chicken is just an egg's way of making more eggs.

charles darwin
Charles Darwin
  • Premise 1: Struggle for survival
  • Premise 2: Variability
  • Premise 3: Heritability
  • Premise 4: Fitness
  • He observed breeders and different naturally evolving species
  • Charles Babbage: God = programmer of laws
charles darwin1
Charles Darwin
  • Premise 1: Struggle for survival
  • Premise 2: Variability
  • Premise 3: Heritability
  • Premise 4: Fitness
  • (Artificial selection = eugenics – later!)
on the origin of species 1859
On the origin of species, 1859
  • Premise 1: Struggle for survival
    • Species have great fertility. They have more offspring than ever grow to adulthood.
    • Populations remain roughly the same size, with small changes. (Food resources )
    • An implicit struggle for survival ensues.
on the origin of species 18591
On the origin of species, 1859
  • Premise 2: Variability
    • In sexually reproducing species, generally no two individuals are identical.
    • Some of these variations directly affect the ability of an individual to survive in a given environment.
on the origin of species 18592
On the origin of species, 1859
  • Premise 3 Inheritability
    • Much of this variation is inheritable.
      • Mind you: Mendel’s work – though existant at the time – was not known by Darwin from the outset!
      • Inheritance mechanism was imagined entirely differently
on the origin of species 18593
On the origin of species, 1859
  • Premise 4 Fitness
    • Individuals less suited to the environment are less likely to survive and less likely to reproduce,
    • while individuals more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and more likely to reproduce.
on the origin of species 18594
On the origin of species, 1859
  • The individuals that survive are most likely to leave their inheritable traits to future generations.
  • A continuous natural embetterment of the world?
underlying assumptions
Underlying assumptions
  • Premise 1: Struggle for survival
    • Malthusian idea – technological improvement
  • Premise 2: Variability
    • Much uniformity
  • Premise 3: Heritability
    • Debates even today – syphilis, doctoritis running in families
  • Premise 4: Fitness – well-adapted to the environment
    • Not at all a clear concept
      • Sickle cell anaemia
      • what it means for a non-natural selection philosophy
the puzzling survivor
The puzzling survivor
  • The Naked Ape – homo sapiens
    • No claws
    • No sharp teeth
    • Not too fast – slower than most predators at any rate
  • Why is this parody of evolutionary perfection still around and moreover everywhere?
solution by evolutionary psychology
Solution by Evolutionary Psychology
  • The adapted mind
  • The complexity seen in nature by Darwin is compared to the complexity in human behaviour and it is explained as such
  • Evolutionary psychology as an approach
evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
  • The Human Animal (Sociobiology)
  • Adaptationism
    • Originally applied to biological organs – the most well-known is the eye
      • Extensions: the brain is a biological organ
      • Supposition: the brain produces behaviour and consciousness
      • Therefore: behaviour and consciousness is formed by evolution just as the biological body is
  • Eye’s complexity – in the centre of debates
richard dawkins
Richard Dawkins
  • An ardent proponent of adaptations - earning him the title of Darwin’s Rottweiler (and equally ardent opponent to creationism )
  • The Blind Watchmaker – focuses on how evolution could create marvellous structures – like the eye
    • William Paley – a watch presupposes intelligent design because of its complexity
the weasel problem
The Weasel problem
  • Shakespeare’s Hamlet
    • Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?Polonius: By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.
  • Based on the infinite monkey theorem
    • A monkey bashing away at random on a typewriter – given enough time he would type the entire works of Shakespeare
    • how long would it take him to produce the sentence ‘Methinks it is like a weasel.’?
the weasel problem1
The Weasel problem
  • Methinks it is like a weasel
  • This is 28 characters
  • Using 26 letters – only capitals and a space bar
  • Probability?
  • 2728 = 1040 = infinity, or at least much longer than milliseconds from the existence of the universe (13,73 billion = 13,73 * 109 years = 7,22 * 1018 milliseconds)
sir frederick hoyle
Sir Frederick Hoyle
  • „approximately the same order of magnitude as the probability that a hurricane could sweep through a junkyard and randomly assemble a Boeing 747.”
  • solar system full of blind men solving Rubik's Cube simultaneously.
  • The simplest bacterium needs 1040,000permutations, while the number of the atoms in the universe is „only” 1080,
    • the chance is the same as throwing 50000 sixes in a row with a die
sir frederick hoyle1
Sir Frederick Hoyle
  • Astronomer and sci-fi writer
  • He opposed the Big Bang theory – because it needs a cause Steady State theory
  • He also opposed natural abiogenesis!
    • Intelligent design - Evolution from Space
hoyle s fallacy
Hoyle’s fallacy
  • You don’t need 28 letters. You start with say 3.
    • They calculate the probability of the formation of a "modern" protein, or even a complete bacterium with all "modern" proteins, by random events.
    • This is not the abiogenesis theory at all – it starts with VERY SIMPLE organisms
    • They assume that there is a fixed number of proteins, with fixed sequences for each protein, that are required for life.
  • They calculate the probability of sequential trials, rather than simultaneous trials.
    • Changing one at a time – mutations are rare but do not exclude each other
  • They seriously underestimate the number of functional enzymes/ribozymes present in a group of random sequences – only one good solution fallacy
the weasel problem2
The Weasel problem
  • Cumulative selections instead of a single step selection
  • Two differences in his model:
    • Copying mechanism – it retains previous states
    • There is an inherent goal – any change that occurs towards methinks it is a weasel is kept, others are discarded
adaptive landscapes
Adaptive landscapes
  • Fitness or adaptive landscapes – genetic variation is pushed to the direction of the arrows
  • Waddington – epigenetic landscape – curiously posits a rolling, not a climbing ball
  • Saddle points in mathematics as non-optimal solutions
cosmides tooby
Cosmides & Tooby
  • Flexibility – a basis never questioned
    • Instinct vs reason distinction
      • Please make a mental note as this is to be relevant to the discussion on implicit/explicit!
    • What is instinct blindness according to Williams James?
      • Make the „natural seem strange” program
      • „’of course’ is no longer a good answer” – does evolutionary psychology manage to get round the problem?
    • „cognitive psychologists spend more time studying how we solve problems we are bad at” – the concept of „difficult” is being redefined
the blank slate
The Blank Slate
  • The Standard Social Science Model (SSSM)
    • learning
    • Induction
    • Intelligence
    • Imitation
    • Rationality
    • the capacity for culture
    • Culture
  • A proposed problem with domain generality: if there is no inborn mechanism at all (only perception), what learns how to learn?

What is this „roughly” supposed to mean exactly?

The problem of innateness – is it presence at birth?

  • Hypotheses and problems:
    • Babies are born with the same capacities (roughly) all over the world
    • YET they come to be very different adults finally, with different customs and habits
    • The difference must therefore lie in their experience of the world
    • This experience is mediated through general-purpose-learning mechanisms
  • Culture must be the explanation – it has an overarching and all-pervasive effect

Are domain-general learning mechanisms good enough to deal with the information load?

+Consider the visual system

Are cultures all that different?

How much universality lies under the cultural differeces of human societies?

arguments against
Arguments against
  • Many things are not present at birth that are rarely doubted to be innate
    • Do we learn to grow beards and menstruate?
  • The nature/nurture dichotomy is not only arbitrary – it is false
    • again connected to innateness
  • In some cases domain-general learning mechanisms are just not enough
    • Most prominent example is language – poverty of stimulus argument
    • Moreover: striking differences - species-specific learning mechanisms (also consider phobias)
asking the wrong questions
Asking the wrong questions
  • genes vs environment

~ engine or gasoline?

~ the ingredients of bread

  • Presence at birth is not required – points at the problematics of „innate”
  • What do we mean by innate? Cognitive science
    • Non-acquisition
      • UG – vacuous, as in a sense everything is acquired at some point – a blastula has no UG
    • Presence at birth – inborn
      • Neither necessary (pubic hair), nor sufficient (prenatal learning is possible)
    • Internally caused as opposed to environmentally induced
      • Jeffrey Ellman: rethinking Innateness „the product of interactions internal to the organism…”
      • Impossible: without maternal blood, no organ could possibly develop at all
      • Triggering is often evoked – yet unsure in meaning
  • What do we mean by innate? Biology
    • Genetically determined?
      • Genetically caused
      • Genetically represented – mapped in DNA
      • Both accounts fail because of
        • interactionist explanations
        • difficulty of observation
    • Invariance accounts – stable across „normal” environments
      • Attractive as it explains stability and universality in a species
      • YET: the concept that water is wet would be innate
  • What do we mean by innate?
    • Innateness as high heritability
      • Heritability=overall phenotypic variation that is due to genetic variation (Vg/Vp)
      • However: only works if there is phenotypic variation – if there is none, it is useless
      • Opposable thumb in humans – drug taaken by mother disrupting its development -> low heritability
    • Not learned
      • Learning is nearly as slippery as innateness is…Yet..
    • Psychologically primitive
      • Can not be explained by general psychological mechanisms – have to retreat to biological explanations
        • Bootstrapping-type learning – learning that is faster that would be expected based on a domain-general view
adaptive minds
Adaptive minds
  • Problem-specificity:
    • The brain is a naturally constructed computational system whose function is to solve adaptive information-processing problems
  • Modularity of mind – the Swiss army knife model
    • face recognition, threat interpretation, language acquisition, or navigation
    • Domain specificity (environment specifity) – domain generality (modus ponens works in all environmental conditions)
  • adaptive problems
    • Permanent to be solved in the life of a species
    • Enhance reproductive success
      • What about survival?
  • The side-effect trick (exaptation)
    • Walking and skateboarding
mma hypothesis
MMA hypothesis
  • Massive modularity
    • Modern-day phrenology?
jerry fodor modularity
Jerry Fodor: Modularity
  • Differentiation of modules and central processing systems
  • Modules are:
      • Domain-specific
      • Rapid
      • Informationally encapsulated
      • Automatic – obligatory firing
      • Shallow output
      • Inaccessible to consciousness
      • Characteristic pattern of breakdown - lesions
    • „The moon looks bigger when it’s on the horizon; but I know perfectly well it’s not. My visual perception module gets fooled, but I don’t. The question is: who is this I?[…]  If, in short, there is a community of computers living in my head, there had also better be somebody who is in charge; and, by God, it had better be me. ” Jerry Fodor on Pinker and Plotkin
    • Jerry Fodor: The trouble with psychologicalDarwinism. London Review of Books
reasoning circuits rational instincts
Reasoning circuits – rational instincts
  • Structured around an adaptive problem
  • Universally present in homo sapiens
  • Develop without conscious effort (speech vs writing)
  • Applied without conscious effort
  • Distinct from more general abilities
stone age minds
Stone age minds
  • EEA - environment of evolutionary adaptedness
    • „For this reason, evolutionary psychology is relentlessly past-oriented…”
      • What is problematic about this argument?
  • Proximal and distal explanations in psychology
  • Universalism
    • the universal, species-typical architecture
    • reliably develops across the (ancestrally) normal range
    • psychic unity of humankind – as opposed to marvellous cultural diversity
      • (Donald Brown – the universal human)
      • Margaret Mead – coming of age in the Samoa – Derek Freeman
the universal people the total list comprises about 150 items
Abstraction (in speech and in thought)


baby talk




Belief in supernatural/religion – magic (wicca)

Beliefs about death, disease, fortune & misfortune

Binary cognitive distinctions – antonyms

Childhood fear of strangers/loud noises


Collective identities

Cooperation & competition


Murder prohibited

Rape prohibited

Myths & narratives

Meals & meal times


Daily routines






Crying (emotions?)

Personal names




Recognition of individuals by face


Rites of passage & rituals

Oedipus complex – defense mechanisms


The Universal PeopleThe total list comprises about 150 items

Donald Brown

the importance of universalism
The importance of universalism
  • In theory, evolution could explain diversity – supposing a varying environment would entail varying organisms
  • Why is universalism so highly emphasized then?
  • Sociobiology and social Darwinism
edward o wilson
Edward O. Wilson
  • 1971. Insect societies
  • 1975: Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
  • 1978: On human nature
      • In a Darwinian sense the organism does not live for itself. Its primary function is not even to reproduce other organisms; it reproduces genes, and it serves as their temporary carrier... Samuel Butler's famous aphorism, that the chicken is only an egg's way of making another egg, has been modernized: The organism is only DNA's way of making more DNA
edward o wilson1
Edward O. Wilson
  • People are animals, their behavior has evolved just like that of the animals, and our culture has a biological component
  • altruism : self-destructive behavior performed for the benefit of others – what other explanation than culture?
edward o wilson2
Edward O. Wilson
  • Culture is the slave of biology – it can only survive as long as it supports biological needs
    • Gathering of resources (territorial fights)
    • cooperation – helping relatives
    • Securing the continuity of the population
  • Resonates to Nazi „Sozialbiologie”, genetic determinism, eugenics
richard lewontin
Richard Lewontin

Not in Our Genes

  • Population geneticist – locus studies
  • The concept of niche and interaction – the environment does not form passive creatures according to its own accord
  • Deterministic perspective is false : biological creatures are actively forming their environment
    • Sould it be different the homo sapiens would not be alive by now
    • Legitimation and ideology – first God and now science is the weapon – universities the factories that produce them
the danger in evolutionary belief
The danger in evolutionary belief
  • Sociobiology
    • The mere idea of struggle and survival is inherent in nature and it is inevitable gives moral justification towards the „unfit”
  • Mary Midgley: Evolution as a Religion
    • „Facts will never appear to us as brute and meaningless; they will always organize themselves into some sort of story, some drama”
    • Buss: the moral/naturalistic fallacy (Dawkins examines it as well)
      • Does studying heart attack cause heart attacks?
  • Eu – good, well (euphoria)
  • Genics – (genes) born (genetics)
  • any human action whose goal is to improve the gene pool
  • Renaissance idea: improvement of the world through science: why not better humankind?
popularity of eugenics
Popularity of eugenics
  • Originally a field of science!
multifaceted eugenics


Mental diseases

Detrimental mental traits - criminality

Physical diseases (tubercolosis)



Dissemination of information and free choice

Vocational counselling

Genetic counselling

Marriage restriction


Compulsory sterilization

Compulsory abortion

Forced pregnancy


Multifaceted Eugenics
sir francis galton 1822 1911
Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911)
  • Charles Darwin’s half-cousin
    • and a child prodigy
  • Statistician
    • Correlation
  • Medical studies
    • 1960 – Oxford Evolution Debate
hereditary genius
Hereditary Genius
  • Count the number of the relatives of various degrees of eminent men
  • Proposed:
    • adoption studies
    • trans-racial adoption studies
    • Twin studies
      • adopted and non-adopted
      • Later: dyzigotic and monozygotic
  • Aware of the nature-nurture debate
  • 1883: invented the word eugenics (Inquiries into human faculty and its development)
  • Dysgenic behaviour of eminent people
  • Introducing monetary incentives
the bell curve 1994
The Bell Curve, 1994
  • Intelligence predicts:
    • Financial income
    • Job performance
    • Crime
  • Intelligence is inherited 40-80%
    • Perils of a custodial State
the bell curve 19941
The Bell Curve, 1994
  • Intelligence is normally distributed - g
    • sum of many small random variations in genetic and environmental factors
  • Racial claims – differences between blacks and whites
  • Controversial – APA Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns
        • At present, no one knows what causes this differential.

Validity problem

National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience of Youth

california 1900 1940s
California, 1900-1940s
  • Eugenics flourishing
    • Influential group of intellects endorsed and financed eugenic projects
      • Haynes – physician in Los Angeles (bronchitis!)
      • Goethe – businessmen of Sacramento
      • Cold Spring Harbor Station – research facility
    • Aggravated by the Great Depression
    • „act of civilizing” & Manifest Destiny
      • Sinophobia and discrimination, scientific racism
california 1900 1940s1
California, 1900-1940s
  • Eugenics flourishing
    • Active involvement of governmental organizations
      • Large-scale administration of IQ tests
      • Authorization of scientific research and sterilization
      • Expulsion of foreigners and undesirables en masse
      • Fomented racial segregation
      • IQ testing – two-tracked school system
california 1900 1940s eugenics
California, 1900-1940s - Eugenics
  • Victims:
    • Racial groups
      • Immigrants
        • Mexicans
        • Asian Americans
        • African Americans
    • Young girls classified as
      • Immoral
      • Delinquent
  • 3 stages : liberal – state – liberal
liberal starting point
Liberal starting point
  • 1910 Terman’s Binet-Simon test
    • Whites
    • Mexicans
    • Negroes
      • Intelligence tied to Nordic blood…
  • Segregation
  • Vocational counselling
sterilizations per annum 1909 1936
Major themes:


Mental retardedness

Haynes in Los Angeles

Society organized for well-being

Regulate and streaamline

Gosney and Popenoe

Sterilization for Human Betterment

1935 HOGUE’s bill – to extend sterilization did not pass

Competent decision boards:

Directors, wardens and superintendents

Drop in 1952

Administrative measures

1953 – many categories dropped – idiots, fools, sexual perversion - decline

Sterilizations per annum 1909-1936
protection not penalty
  • emphasis shifts from heredity to capacity and responsability of parenthood and social skills
    • Change in methods towards liberal measures in 1940
      • Popenoe
        • Counselling – career planning, marriage, family planning
        • Information dissemination on eugenical measures
      • Holmes (1920) monetary incentives
the motives shifted
The motives shifted
  • Early years – genes deflate the germ plasm (1880)
    • Initially against: criminality, imbecility, poverty…
    • White supremacy, racial segregation, stereotypes
      • Mexican boys – mentally incompetent – forced manual workers
      • Mexican women – hyperbreeders dependent on welfare
  • Defectives depleting resources – fiscal justifications
herbert spencer
Herbert Spencer
  • Social darwinism
    • Taking „survival of the fittest” a step too far
    • Darwin himself thought it impractical – he would rather have spread the knowledge and let people decide for themselves
    • 2 basic mistakes
      • Naturalistic fallacy
      • He conflates development with change
        • Probably a side effect of the ancient idea of the scala naturae
internal struggles
Internal struggles
  • Evolution by selection is the only known causal process capable of creating such complex organic mechanisms. (David Buss)
  • Jerry Fodor
    • The motiv is inaccessible even to the agent
      • A way of restoring our innocence
    • Psychological Darwinism is a kind of conspiracy theory; that is, it explains behaviour by imputing an interest (viz in the proliferation of the genome) that the agent of the behaviour does not acknowledge. 
    • Popular for the same reason Freud was popular: a slip of tongue is just a libidinous impulse
objections jerry fodor
Objections : Jerry Fodor
  • Is it ONLY adaptationism that is able to explain such complexity?
    • The complexity of behaviour itself is irrelevant
      • evolution does not and can not act on it
      • only on brains
    • What matters is how much you would have to change an ape’s brain in order to produce that much complexity in behaviour
    • „ And about this, exactly nothing is known. ”
      • It is not like the giraffe’s neck – longer is evident
    • In fact the difference between brains is not that big (J.F.)
    • in terms of genes it is even smaller
  • „what matters with regard to the question whether the mind is an adaptation is not how complex our behaviour is, but how much change you would have to make in an ape’s brain to produce the cognitive structure of a human mind. And about this, exactly nothing is known. That’s because nothing is known about how the structure of our minds depends on the structure of our brains.”
objections jerry fodor1
Objections : Jerry Fodor
  • Methodological flaw: „reverse engineering”
    • inferring how a device must work from a prior appreciation of its function
      • Ever tried using telnet?
    • you don’t have to know how hands (or hearts, or eyes, or livers) evolved to make a pretty shrewd guess about what they are for. Maybe you also don’t have to know how the mind evolved to make a pretty shrewd guess at what it’s for; for example, that it’s to think with. (Fodor, J.)
concerns with evolutionary psychology
Concerns with evolutionary psychology
  • Level of selection
    • Individual
    • Gene
    • Group
  • Question of fitness & adaptation
    • Small designs that lead to a higher reproduction of a trait
    • Fitness (reasoning circuits) has a definition
      • Yet how do you recognize it in retrospect?
    • Which one is the result of an adaptation?
      • Xenophobia
      • colour of bones
      • form of earlobes
the circular argumentation problem
The circular argumentation problem
  • Inherent goal – often evokes attacks of circular argumentation – the reverse engineering problem
    • The effects strive towards the goal
    • The goal preexists (who invented the goal?)
      • Answer – evolutionary forces
    • How do you know this was the goal?
      • Because it is reached!
problems with blind adaptationism
Problems with blind adaptationism
  • The Panglossian Paradox
  • Graduality does not always work – saltational models (one day you wake up speaking a language?)
    • George Jackson Mivart - what do you do with 5% of a wing?
    • Gould: exaptations
  • Physical constraints – Gould: spandrels in the cathedral
the panglossian paradox
The Panglossian Paradox
  • Candide, ou l'Optimisme by Voltaire
    • Critique of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds"
  • "Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes"
    • theodicy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
    • God is a benevolent deity –> the world is perfect
    • Dr. Pangloss, professor of "métaphysico-théologo-cosmolonigologie" and self-proclaimed optimist
the panglossian paradox1
The Panglossian Paradox
  • Lisbon's harbor episode, where honest James dies
    • Candide, who beheld all that passed and saw his benefactor one moment rising above water, and the next swallowed up by the merciless waves, was preparing to jump after him, but was prevented by the philosopher Pangloss, who demonstrated to him that the roadstead of Lisbon had been made on purpose for the Anabaptist to be drowned there.
  • Pangloss on his own syphilis
    • it was a thing unavoidable, a necessary ingredient in the best of worlds; for if Columbus had not caught in an island in America this disease, which contaminates the source of generation, and frequently impedes propagation itself, and is evidently opposed to the great end of nature, we should have had neither chocolate nor cochineal.
The best of all possible worlds
    • It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles.
  • Have we replaced God by evolution? - Is the world the best of all possible worlds?
  • On the function of our noses:
    • Is its inherent purpose
      • to hold spectacles?
      • to warm and moisturize air?
    • How are you to tell in retrospect?
exaptation cooption preadaptation
Exaptation, cooption, preadaptation
  • NOT everything is an adaptation
  • Human vestigiality has long been observed
    • Tailbone
    • Vermiform appendix
    • Muscles in the ear
  • Shifts in the function of a trait during evolution
    • Cooption had a slight confusion with non-adaptive traits less used
  • Darwin already outlined the basis in the „Origin of Species”
    • bird feathers – originally thermo-regulatory function – adapted to flight
      • Mivart: the paradox of 5% of a wing!
    • Jury-rigged design – apparent non-functional traits might be telling about the original function
exaptation cooption preadaptation1
Exaptation, cooption, preadaptation
  • Recently – Stephen J. Gould: The thumb of the Panda
    • (uses the word exaptation)
  • The tinkertoy approach
    • Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution--paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce.
  • Other examples:
    • Mammals – lactatory glands
    • Flat feet – squat eating – bipedalism
    • Bones – calcium deposits primarily
physical constraints
Physical constraints
  • Venice: St Mark’s Cathedral

Stephen J. Gould and Richard Lewontin

"The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme" (1979)

Are the spandrels there, so that nice paintings could be painted on them, specially designed for that purpose?

More likely to be inherent in the Bauplan – constraint on adaptive evolution

Causes of historical origin must always be separated from current utilities; their conflation has seriously hampered the evolutionary analysis of form in the history of life.

physical constraints1
Does the tyrannosaur’s hands are especially useful in titillating females – is this a good explanation for its adaptive value?

Blind adaptationism does not differentiate between original function and current potentialities


Physical constraints – like spandrels – do not need an evolutionary explanation

Physical constraints
in the age of reason
In the age of Reason
  • What is the argument that Tooby and Cosmides make about reasoning?
    • Think of the WASON task!
      • General problem solving
      • Specialized problem-solving modules
  • Mathematics – a basic concept or a high art?
    • An argument can be made for both
      • How to make life difficult
ded u ction and induction
Deduction and Induction
  • If it rains I’ll take an umbrella with me
    • It is raining.
      • I take an umbrella with me.
    • I take an umbrella with me
      • It is either raining or not
    • It is not raining
      • I either take an umbrella with me or not
    • I do not take an umbrella with me
      • It is not raining
  • John studied accountancy at university.
  • John works at an accountant’s office.
  • Therefore John is an accountant.

Modus ponens

Modus tollens

the wason task deduction task
The Wason task – deduction task
  • There are 4 cards on the table
  • Each card has a letter on one side and a number on the other
  • RULE: If the card has a wovel on it, the other side must have an even number on it
  • Which one(s) do you have to turn to know if they conform to the rule or not?





the wason task
The Wason task
  • There are 4 cards on the table
  • All cards have a drink on one side and the age on the other
  • RULE: If one drinks alcohol, they need to be over age
  • Which one(s) do you have to turn to know if they conform to the rule or not?





Why the difference?
    • Social rules
    • Evolutionary psychology – cheater detectors?
  • What is the counter-argument to that?
some provocative questions
Some provocative questions
  • Does natural selection still work in our highly artificial society?
  • What will the homo sapiens be like in another 200.000 years?
  • Why are there mental illnesses, if adaptationism is so powerful in evolutionary psychology?