The Charms and Consequences of Evolutionary Psychology

John Dupré

in Human Nature and the Limits of Science

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199248063
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597367 | DOI:
 The Charms and Consequences of Evolutionary Psychology

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Considers, first, why the programme of evolutionary psychology appears to have such appeal, despite its epistemological weakness. Answers to this question include a commitment to an ill‐conceived unity of science, a reluctance to accept irreducible contingency, and the rewards that accrue to advocates of even excessively ambitious projects. A final section argues that, contrary to the claims of its adherents, often based on appeals to the naturalistic fallacy, evolutionary psychology has significant political consequences, often of a harmful kind. The impossibility of a rigid fact/value distinction is illustrated with respect to evolutionary psychological theories of rape.

Keywords: evolutionary psychology; fact/value distinction; naturalistic fallacy; rape; unity of science

Chapter.  9692 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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