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.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: Dickins, T.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) 329-340.
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Behavioural Biology group
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 9460
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Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2013 16:23
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 08:53
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/9460

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