Publication details for Prof Matthew RatcliffeRatcliffe M. (2005). An Epistemological Problem for Evolutionary Psychology. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19(1): 47-63.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 0269-8595, 1469-9281
- DOI: 10.1080/02698590500051126
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
This paper draws out an epistemological tension implicit in Cosmides and Tooby’s conception of evolutionary psychology. Cosmides and Tooby think of the mind as a collection of functionally individuated, domain-specific modules. Although they do not explicitly deny the existence of domain-general processes, it will be shown that their methodology commits them to the assumption that only domain-specific cognitive processes are capable of producing useful outputs. The resultant view limits the scope of biologically possible cognitive accomplishments and these limitations, it will be argued, are such as to deny us epistemic capacities that evolutionary psychology presupposes in its pursuit of an objective, comprehensive account of human nature.