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Adapting Minds Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature

ISBN-10: 0262524600

ISBN-13: 9780262524605

Edition: 2006

Authors: David J. Buller

List price: $26.95
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Description:

Was human nature designed by natural selection in the Pleistocene epoch? The dominant view in evolutionary psychology holds that it was -- that our psychological adaptations were designed tens of thousands of years ago to solve problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. In this provocative and lively book, David Buller examines in detail the major claims of evolutionary psychology -- the paradigm popularized by Steven Pinker in The Blank Slateand by David Buss in The Evolution of Desire-- and rejects them all. This does not mean that we cannot apply evolutionary theory to human psychology, says Buller, but that the conventional wisdom in evolutionary psychology is misguided. Evolutionary psychology employs a kind of reverse engineering to explain the evolved design of the mind, figuring out the adaptive problems our ancestors faced and then inferring the psychological adaptations that evolved to solve them. In the carefully argued central chapters of Adapting Minds, Buller scrutinizes several of evolutionary psychology's most highly publicized "discoveries," including "discriminative parental solicitude" (the idea that stepparents abuse their stepchildren at a higher rate than genetic parents abuse their biological children). Drawing on a wide range of empirical research, including his own large-scale study of child abuse, he shows that none is actually supported by the evidence. Buller argues that our minds are not adapted to the Pleistocene, but, like the immune system, are continually adapting, over both evolutionary time and individual lifetimes. We must move beyond the reigning orthodoxy of evolutionary psychology to reach an accurate understanding of how human psychology is influenced by evolution. When we do, Buller claims, we will abandon not only the quest for human nature but the very idea of human nature itself.
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Book details

List price: $26.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 2/17/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 552
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.628

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Evolution
The Nature of Evolution
The Causes of Evolution
Adaptation
Phenotypic Variation
Mind
The Evolution of Behavior
The Adapted Mind
The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness
Modularity and the Adapted Mind
"Human Nature"
Adaptation
Adaptationism?
Adaptation Hunting
"Our Modern Skulls House a Stone-Age Mind"
Psychological Differences and Our "Common Nature"
Modularity
Evolutionary Psychology, Meet Developmental Neurobiology
The Arguments for Modularity Reconsidered
The Empirical Evidence for Modularity Reconsidered
On Domain-General Mechanisms
Mating
"The Evolution of Desire"
Men Seeking Women
Women Seeking Men
Concluding Skeptical Remarks
Marriage
What Is Marriage?
Keeping Myself Only unto You
The Green-Eyed Monster
Parenthood
Discriminative Parental Solicitude
What Is "The Truth about Cinderella"?
Trying to Understand Parents
"Human Nature"
Human Nature: The Very Idea
Essentialism, Part I: "Normal" People
Essentialism, Part II: Species
"Human Universals"
Please Be Patient; Evolution Isn't Finished with Us Yet
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index