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How shall I compare thee?

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Abstract:

Gannon (this issue) has critiqued several features of evolutionary psychology. Gannon concluded that because the assumptions of evolutionary psychology are not falsifiable - and in her view many of them are wrong - evolutionary psychology should not be considered a truly scientific enterprise. In this article, several reasons are presented for why evolutionary psychology should be considered a science. For one, the falsifiability criterion invoked by Gannon was incorrectly applied to the paradigmatic level of science. Instead, falsifiability should be used to evaluate low-level empirical predictions, not high-level paradigms. Moreover, a mounting body of evidence supports the utility of using evolutionary theories to generate hypotheses and their accompanying falsifiable predictions concerning much of human behavior. Finally, rationale is provided for why evolutionary psychology may be considered a more valuable science than competing alternatives. For example, the paradigm of evolutionary psychology contains a wide range of theories that explain both human and non-human animal behaviors. Most contemporary paradigms in psychology are not as comprehensive in explanatory scope.

Keywords: evolutionary psychology; philosophy of science

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1461666031000063674

Affiliations: Bradley University

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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