Volume 3, Issue 3, 2012
Evolution, Psychology, and Culture
My goal is to clarify the type of relations one could hope can be established between psychology and the social sciences in general, on one side, and evolutionary biology, on the other. Thus, the paper analyzes one of the most remarkable contemporary attempts to forge such ties, namely that of John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, who explore the interface between the two domains and try to articulate a research methodology aimed at their better integration. Unfortunately, as I shall try to show, the position Tooby and Cosmides advance is undermined by adaptationist assumptions they don't manage to successfully defend. In doing so, my paper picks up the threads of the current adaptationism debate and seeks to draw some of the consequences it has for psychological research. Subsequently, I will attempt to generalize the chief results of my analysis, by emphasizing a few aspects of evolutionary theory I think are key for understanding its relation with human culture. On this grounds, I will argue for a position that makes social sciences autonomous in respect to evolutionary thinking, yet preserves solid ties with evolutionary thought, securing integration with the rest of science.