By Chris Williams and Daniel G. FincherThe evolutionary ecology approach has become one of the most widely adopted frameworks in ecological science and the application of this approach has resulted in a great deal of empirical work.
The field of evolutionary ecology has produced a number of important theoretical developments.
But there is also a long history of challenging the conventional paradigm of evolutionary biology.
This is the second article in a series on the evolutionary ecology paradigm and in this article I want to examine the implications of the evolutionary biology paradigm for a wider range of issues and topics.1.
The role of evolutionary theory in the ecology of choiceIn the early 1970s, Richard Dawkins and other eminent scientists argued that the theory of evolution had a profound influence on human culture, that its insights into the origins of the human species were fundamental to understanding how humans evolved and that human beings are uniquely unique among animals.
This idea, developed by Dawkins, was widely held by many evolutionary biologists and the idea has been extended by others such as Richard Lewontin, who argued that evolution, at its very best, is an account of the natural world.2.
The evolutionary psychology of choiceAs the theory developed, it attracted a number, including Michael Ruse, who has argued that evolutionary psychology was the natural successor of the theory.
In this essay I will attempt to explain why evolution has been influential in our understanding of choice.
I will then review some of the empirical work that has been done to demonstrate the value of evolutionary psychology in explaining the evolution of choice in humans.3.
The influence of evolution on human cognitionIn humans, the role of evolution in shaping the way we think about the world is fundamental.
The idea that humans evolved to be rational, adaptive, and self-regulating is central to this idea and, importantly, to the idea that we can be moral agents.
The importance of this idea, in particular, has been shown by cognitive psychologists such as Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who have argued that our cognitive capacities are shaped by the interaction of evolution with environment.
The relationship between the evolution and the environment has important implications for the way in which people understand themselves and the world.
This was one of those debates that was contested by many scientists, who took issue with the notion that evolution shaped the human mind.
For example, evolutionary psychologists Richard Lewondin and James Watson argued that we should not take evolution as the sole explanation for our mental capacities and that we are more influenced by the environment than we are by biology.4.
The origins of human cultureThe idea that human culture originated from the emergence of an evolved human brain has gained increasing traction in recent years.
The argument goes that this brain was able to evolve and that the cognitive capacities it developed were key to the human condition.
As a result, we evolved to think and to learn from other human beings.
This argument is based on the premise that the emergence and evolution of a brain is sufficient to explain the origin of our cultural heritage.
This view is, however, contested by neuroscientists who argue that brain evolution does not account for the cognitive capabilities that are present in us and that it is the culture itself that is the key to our cognitive development.5.
The value of the ‘evolutionary psychology’ approachThe value of this framework has been discussed extensively in scientific literature and by philosophers and ethicists.
It has been argued that human evolution is the most powerful force that has shaped the evolutionist paradigm.
This notion has been supported by a number scientific publications.
For instance, the work of the evolutionists J. B. Sorenson and J. M. Robertson has provided evidence for the role that evolutionary theory has played in the evolution, development, and adaptation of humans.6.
The contribution of evolutionary psychologists to the understanding of human natureEvolutionary psychologists have produced important contributions to our understanding in a variety of domains including: morality, education, and the social sciences.
In the following sections I will consider some of these contributions.7.
How the evolutionary psychology approach to human nature has shaped our understanding7.1 The value and power of evolutionary science in the development of human rights7.2 The evolution of human languageThe work of evolutionary theorists such as Soren and Robertson has generated important evidence for human language, specifically the development and evolution (and consequent evolution of) a linguistic system that allows us to communicate effectively and to communicate with others.
The work of social psychologists such a David Lewis and others has provided support for this idea.8.
The impact of evolutionary research on the welfare of people8.1 An evolutionary theory of the welfare state9.1 A key element of the development9.2 How evolution has shaped human rights10.1 Why humans have different moral beliefs10.2 What role does evolution play in human welfare?