Evolutionary Psychology: 'New Science of the Mind' or 'Darwinian Fundamentalism'?

Historical Materialism

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As practitioners of a putative science of the mind, evolutionary psychologists have earned a degree of cachet with their provocative and sometimes controversial pronouncements about human nature and behaviour. In this article, I briefly survey the history of an evolutionary approach to the psychological sciences before considering the core assumptions of the field that has come to be known as 'evolutionary psychology'. By examining one particular example of evolutionary psychological research – on interpersonal attraction – I find this 'new science of the mind' to be lacking. Rather, I propose that developmental systems theory, buffered by a reconsideration of the dialectical sciences, offers a more comprehensive and rigorous approach to psychology. I further propose that historical materialists and those on the Left generally should take a keen interest in these issues as they have a bearing on social and political outcomes.

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