<ul><li>The Standard Social Science Model (SSSM) </li></ul><ul><li>(The “received wisdom” that EP is challenging) </li></ul><ul><li>The human mind is a blank slate ( tabula rasa ). </li></ul><ul><li>2. Biological constraints on human behavior are minimal. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Human behavior is shaped by (one or a very few) general-purpose learning mechanisms. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Critique of the SSSM </li></ul><ul><li>A blank slate could not respond to experience because it would have no rules for responding. </li></ul><ul><li>2. The nature/nurture (genes/environment, innate/learned) dichotomy is false with respect to ontogeny (development). </li></ul><ul><li>3. General-purpose learning mechanisms cannot explain behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>4. SSSM separates natural and social sciences. </li></ul><ul><li>5. SSSM Lacks an overarching theory of design. </li></ul>
Role of Culture If culture an independent variable or a dependent one? In the SSSM view it’s wholly independent. culture human behavior But where does culture come from? Why don’t other animals have culture? Why is human culture so constrained? Why are there so many universals?
Role of Culture (cont.) In the EP view its both dependent and independent. human nature culture human behavior
Conclusions The human mind is not an amorphous computer. It is content-rich (e.g., language-learning abilities, intuitive physics, folk psychology). It has many domain-specific cognitive and emotional modules designed to meet challenges that faced members of our species over human evolution.
Evolution by Natural Selection Differential perpetuation of alternative replicating entities. A B A A A B B Copying fidelity must be high in comparison to reproductive differential.
What are the replicating entities? Individuals do not replicate faithfully enough. Genes do. Over development genes interact with the environment to build phenotypes. Phenotypes are more or less successful (in part because of the genes that built them). So genes that build more successful phenotypes are differentially passed on to the next generation.
<ul><li>Prerequisites for evolution by natural selection </li></ul><ul><li>heritable variation </li></ul><ul><li>that affects its own rate of replication </li></ul><ul><li>If this is true, then the variants that get replicated at a higher rate will spread through the population. </li></ul><ul><li>No moral imperative, it just will happen whenever the prerequisites are met. </li></ul>
What does evolution by natural selection build? It favors replicators (genes) that build phenotypes that are good at transmitting those replicators to future generations… So, it builds “designs for reproduction”. We call these adaptations. Adaptation: A trait that exists because it contributed to reproduction in ancestral populations.
Adaptations Are: built of existing variation (mutations). often formed slowly often formed cumulatively specialized costly and: may be out of date The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA)