Chapter

Feminism and Evolutionary Psychology

Anne Campbell

in Missing the Revolution

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195130027
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893874 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130027.003.0002
Feminism and Evolutionary Psychology

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For many feminists in the social sciences, evolutionary psychologists are still seen as the enemy. The disagreement is not about the desirability of social change, but about where the causes of gender differences can be found. Unlike social constructionists, evolutionary psychologists accept that beliefs reside in the mind and not just in discourse and language. Traditional empirical method may not be perfect but it has the advantage of being a self-correcting system. Liberal feminists identify causes that are proximate and external but ultimately incompatible with a mass of empirical research. To acknowledge the impact of culture is not the same as saying that gender has no biological basis and that the nature of men and women is wholly constructed by society. Many social science feminists reject the notion that evolution could have had an impact on the minds of the two sexes. Reductionism allows us to work toward the truth by first decomposing the explanation into its constituent elements, which span the range from the biological to cultural. But let us remove all constraints from women and see whether evolutionary psychologists are right in expecting a dearth of massive change in the choices women make.

Keywords: biological determinism; human nature; reductionism; genes; adaptation; gender; social constructionism; patriarchy; feminism; evolutionary psychology

Chapter.  16181 words. 

Subjects: Psychology

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