Scientism and Saturation
This chapter examines evolutionary psychology (EP), its theoretical assumptions, methodological commitments, and explanatory strategies as prime examples of scientistic thinking and practice in contemporary psychology. EP seeks to offer a thoroughgoing (i.e., metatheoretical) account of all human behavior—an account that relies entirely on the identification of certain basic material conditions and the postulation of particular psychological mechanisms and processes thought to arise from those material conditions that are held to produce all specific behavioral outcomes. Several key conceptual and practical problems stemming from such philosophical conceits are explored and critiqued. By way of contrast, the pioneering work of the contemporary French philosopher Jean-Luc Marion is also briefly explored. Marion’s concept of “saturated phenomena” is offered as a significant empirical (phenomenological) challenge to any reductive or mechanical (i.e., scientistic) explanation of human experience and behavior.