Can there ever be a non-specific adaptation? A response to Simon J. Hampton.
Dickins, Thomas E. 2005. Can there ever be a non-specific adaptation? A response to Simon J. Hampton. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. 35 (3), pp. 329-340.
|Authors||Dickins, Thomas E.|
Recently Hampton (2004) has argued that natural selection could have equipped the human mind with a set of adaptations for nothing in particular. In this way Hampton challenges the current orthodoxy of Evolutionary Psychology, which claims the mind is a collection of domain-specific cognitive mechanisms. This paper outlines the core of Hampton’s thesis as well as the key commitments of Evolutionary Psychology. This is followed by a discussion of the principal levers of Hampton’s argument, which are the problems of uncertain futures and of social novelty. Both of these problems pertain to flexibility in the face of new inputs, and Hampton claims that our ability to deal with such situations is indicative of an underdetermined, yet evolved, cognitive architecture. This paper rejects these problems on the grounds that they are misconstrued; a system that can process an input can only do so if it is prepared to do so, therefore true novelty would defeat an organism. This rejection is more formally expressed in terms of information theory, and the various consequences of this conception are drawn out. The paper concludes with some comments about the appropriate grain of analysis for evolutionary theory within the behavioural sciences.
|Keywords||Evolutionary Psychology; natural selection|
|Journal||Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour|
|Journal citation||35 (3), pp. 329-340|
|Accepted author manuscript|
|Web address (URL)||http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5914.2005.00275.x|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||12 Feb 2010|
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