Adaptiveness and adaptation

  • Symons D
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This essay is structured as follows. First, I describe the adaptationist program, or teleonomy, in biology. Second, I review the methodologies of this program. Third, I discuss the role that the environment of evolutionary adaptedness plays in the adaptationist program. Fourth, I argue that studies of the "adaptiveness" of human behavior have not been conceptually anchored in the adaptationist program. Fifth, I analyze two studies of adaptiveness and show why they neither test nor inspire novel hypotheses about the design of the human brain/mind. Finally, I conclude that the "adaptivist" approach to human behavior does not begin with well formed hypotheses about the design of human brain/mind mechanisms and that it consists of procedures that could not test such hypotheses if they were proposed. © 1990.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Adaptiveness
  • Darwinism
  • Environment of evolutionary adaptedness
  • Evolutionary psychology

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  • Donald Symons

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