The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture - Introduction
Cosmides (Leda) & Tooby (John) & Barkow (Jerome)
Source: Barkow, Cosmides & Tooby - The Adapted Mind, 1992, Introduction
Paper - Abstract

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Publisher’s Blurb

  1. The Adapted Mind is an edited volume of original, commissioned papers centered on the complex, evolved psychological mechanisms that generate human behavior and culture. It has two goals:
    • The first is to introduce the newly crystallizing field of evolutionary1 psychology to a wider scientific audience....
    • The second goal of this volume is to clarify how this new field, by focusing on the evolved information-processing mechanisms that comprise the human mind, supplies the necessary connection between evolutionary2 biology and the complex, irreducible social and cultural phenomena studied by anthropologists, sociologists, economists, and historians....
  2. With The Adapted Mind, we hope to provide a preliminary sketch of what a conceptually integrated approach to the behavioral and social sciences might look like. Contributors were asked to link evolutionary3 biology to psychology and psychology to culture – a process that naturally entails consistency across fields....
    • The central premise of The Adapted Mind is that there is a universal human nature, but that this universality exists primarily at the level of evolved psychological mechanisms, not of expressed cultural behaviors....
    • A second premise is that these evolved psychological mechanisms are adaptations, constructed by natural selection over evolutionary4 time.
    • A third assumption made by most of the contributors is that the evolved structure of the human mind is adapted to the way of life of Pleistocene hunter-gatherers, and not necessarily to our modern circumstances.
  3. At present, crossing [disciplinary] boundaries is often met with xenophobia, packaged in the form of such familiar accusations as "intellectual imperialism" or "reductionism". But by calling for conceptual integration in the behavioral and social sciences we are neither calling for reductionism nor for the conquest and assimilation of one field or another. Theories of selection pressures are not theories of psychology; they are theories about some of the causal forces that produced our psychology. And theories of psychology are not theories of culture; they are theories about some of the causal mechanisms that shape cultural forms... In fact, not only do the principles of one field not reduce to those of another, but by tracing the relationships between fields, additional principles often appear.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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