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TVOL Special Edition: What’s Wrong (and Right) About Evolutionary Psychology?
V0008417 Brain: lateral section. Watercolour after(?) W.H. Lizars, ca
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
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Brain: lateral section. Watercolour after(?) W.H. Lizars, ca. 1826.
1820-1827 after: William Home LizarsPublished:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Image credit: Wellcome Trust: "Brain: lateral section. W.H. Lizars, ca. 1826"

This Special Edition features a diverse collection of articles on evolutionary psychology by proponents, critics, and scientists, with the aim to clarify the subject for everyone, from experts to the general public.  

David Sloan Wilson recently spoke at a symposium on cognitive and evolutionary approaches to human culture, in which the topic of evolutionary psychology (EP) came up during the final panel discussion. One by one, the other symposium participants rolled their eyes and explained their distaste for EP to the audience.

He was not surprised, but many members of the audience must have found the disparaging remarks of the experts on the stage bizarre. Weren’t they evolutionary psychologists? What else would you call a group of people who study human culture from a cognitive and evolutionary perspective?

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Welcome to the murky world of EP. It’s not just murky for the general public. It’s murky all the way up to the top. That’s why This View of Life chose to feature a number of articles on EP to clarify the subject for everyone, experts and lay public alike, which have now been brought together to form this Special Edition.

The perspectives featured in our Special Edition are more diverse than any other collection on the topic to our knowledge. We have included proponents, critics, and scientists who avoid using the label “Evolutionary Psychology”, despite the fact that they study psychology from an evolutionary perspective.

All of the articles are accessible to a broad audience and also link to the scientific literature for those who wish to learn more. Our Special Edition is therefore likely to be eye-opening for both students who are encountering the subject for the first time and experts who wish to broaden their horizons.

Click the book cover to be taken to a downloadable PDF


Table of Contents 

What’s Wrong (and Right) About Evolutionary Psychology?
by David Sloan Wilson

Be Curious, Be Darwinian. Why Evolution Provides The Deepest ExplanationFor Human Behavior
by Rob Kurzban

What Is Wrong With Evolutionary Psychology? Nothing.
by Terry Burnham

Darwin In Your Brain. Four Reasons Why Evolutionary Psychology Is Controversial 
by Bernard Crespi

Evolutionary Psychology Is Neither
by Jonathan Marks

All Psychology is Evolutionary Psychology 
by Michael Price

What Isn’t Evolutionary Psychology?
by Dominic Johnson

Evolutionary Psychology Through A Developmental Lens
by Gabrielle Principe

“Yes, but…” Answers to Ten Common Criticisms of Evolutionary Psychology
by David Schmitt

Beyond Genetic Evolution. A Conversation With Eva Jablonka
by David Sloan Wilson

The Spandrels Of San Marco Revisited: An Interview With Richard C. Lewontin
by David Sloan Wilson

The Adapted Mind Of An Evolutionary Psychologist. A Conversation With Debra Lieberman
by David Sloan Wilson

Selection By Consequences: Recovering Skinner’s Key Insight About Learning As An Evolutionary Process
by Anthony Biglan

Why do Modern People have so Few Children?
by Lesley Newson

BBS, Brains, and the Pain of Altruism: An Interview with Barbara Finlay
by David Sloan Wilson

1 Comment

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One Comment

  1. Peter Anderson says:

    I’m disappointed that there is not more discussion of the evolution of altruism, including Richard Dawkins’ Selfish Gene ideas and the researches of W.D. Hamilton, Robert Price, Robert Trivers and others. The ideas of reciprocal altruism are essentially those of the Golden Rule.