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Chapter 21. Ethology, Sociobiology, and Evolutionary Psychology


Subject Philosophy » Philosophy of Science
Physiological Psychology » Evolutionary Psychology

Key-Topics biological, mind, science

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405125727.2008.00023.x


“It is only a comparative and evolutionary psychology that can provide the needed basis; and this could not be created before the work of Darwin.” William McDougall, Introduction to Social Psychology , 1908 The evolution of mind and behavior was of intense interest to Charles Darwin throughout his life. His views were made public a decade before his death in The Descent of Man (e.g., 1981 [1871] ) and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1965 [1872] ). Evolutionary psychology has been an active field of research and a topic of public controversy from that time to the present. At least four distinct phases can be distinguished in the development of evolutionary psychology since Darwin and his immediate successor George Romanes. These are: instinct theory, classical ethology, sociobiology, and Evolutionary Psychology, the last of which I capitalize to distinguish it from evolutionary psychology in general. The instinct theories of Conwy Lloyd Morgan, James Mark Baldwin, William James, William McDougall, and others were an important part of early-twentieth-century psychology ( Richards, 1987 ) but will not be discussed here because no trace of these theories can be discerned in evolutionary psychology today. It was not until the years leading up to World War II that the ethologists Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen created the tradition of rigorous, Darwinian ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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