Re: ev. psychology

Harriet Whitehead (whitehea@WSUNIX.WSU.EDU)
Mon, 8 May 1995 08:08:49 -0700

Rob Quinlan has given a useful set of references on the Ev Psych question.
I'd like to throw in one more because it covers certain anthropologists
who are quite deep in the trend, even though they don't call themselves
"Evolutionary Psychologists." This is *Mapping the Mind*, ed. by Lawrence
Hirschfeld and Susan Gelman. Among other good things you'll find in this
book is an essay by Dan Sperber called "The Modularity of Thought and the
Epidemiology of Representations." Sperber is arguing the domain-specific
point of view with evolution in mind, but has a rather different take on
it from Tooby and Cosmides. Its one of the few items in the trend that
faces head-on the need to integrate the logical power of the
domain-specific argument with our nonetheless persistent sense that the
human mind also operates at highly general levels of reprogrammable (read
"cultural") mappings. Very speculative, but intriguing. The fact that
Sperber is/was a respected name in Symbolic Anthropology before he got
on board the trend makes him an attention-getter among the more
traditional cultural anthropologists.
I'm not sure what the charge of tautology means either...

Harriet Whitehead
Anthropology WSU