How to Pursue the Adaptationist Program in Psychology

  • Brian D. HaigEmail author
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 45)


This chapter is concerned with the methodological foundations of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychologists have offered adaptation explanations for a wide range of human psychological characteristics. Critics, however, have argued that such endeavours are problematic because the appropriate evidence required to demonstrate adaptation is unlikely to be forthcoming. More specifically, doubts have been raised over both the methodology employed by evolutionary psychologists for studying adaptations and about the possibility of ever developing acceptably rigorous evolutionary explanations of human psychological phenomena. In this chapter, it is argued that by employing a wide range of methods for inferring adaptation and by adopting an inference to the best explanation strategy for evaluating adaptation explanations, these two doubts can be adequately addressed.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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