21 Pages

Humans as an evolved species

Evolutionary Psychology

This chapter considers Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, a revolutionary, momentous, biological theory with huge implications for Psychology as a whole. Darwin recognized that human beings with their evident anatomical similarities to many animals, would logically have to be included in any consistent evolutionary system. Darwin also believed that sexual selection had influenced human evolution, resulting in some characteristic mental as well as physical differences. Dawkins' argument is clearly reductionist: all human and non-human animal behaviour is explained in terms of genes' 'need' to replicate themselves. This renders human motives and intentions irrelevant and lacking any causal influence. The whole of human culture can be seen as a vast new evolutionary process based on memes, and human creativity can be seen as analogous to biological creativity. From a feminist perspective, what defines men is their power relative to women, their advantages and privileges; inevitably, men's character and psychology will be structured and shaped through this relationship with women.