Biology What Should Sociology do About Darwin; Evaluating by Jeremy Freese

By Jeremy Freese

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The chapters include original empirical research projects that I have conducted, but I also devote attention to the evolutionary logic of each theory and a consideration of some of the empirical evidence that has been raised in support of each theory. Also, for two of the chapters, my initial investigations lead me to consider some other evolutionary social scientific work in order to further develop a more general critical theme. The case studies focus on the following work: 1. Leda Cosmides and John Tooby’s theory of cognitive adaptations for detecting cheating on social contracts.

Before I present these case studies, the next chapter will provide an introduction to the theory of evolution by natural selection and some of its technical details and a more extensive overview of contemporary Darwinian social science. Following the case studies, a concluding chapter will begin to develop some of my own ideas about how social science should handle the role of our evolved biology in understanding behavior and social organization. As I wrote earlier, I am not seeking to provide a destructive critique of Darwinian approaches in defense of the social science status quo.

28 Today, proponents of evolutionary psychology contend that their program provides everything that contemporary social and psychological theory is often admonished for lacking: a coherent logical core, broad applicability of its principles to a wide range of problems, and formidable explanatory power. Evolutionary psychology also possesses strong ties to the natural sciences, and here its proponents say it holds the potential to bring 15 sociology the validation as a science that many practitioners have long sought.

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