Re: The SSSM revisited

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Thu Dec 05 2002 - 11:59:35 MST

Ben Goertzel wrote:

>>That is incorrect. It was *the* standard in Sociology,
>>Anthropology, Psychology for most of the 20th century. Check
>>out Chapter 1 of "The Adapted Mind" by Barkow, Cosmides, Tooby
>>for corroborating evidence and a detailed analysis and critique
>>of SSSM. SSSM also had deep effects on educational and social
>>- samantha
> Having grown up around (mostly leftist) sociologists in the 1970's, I can
> say quite firmly that Barkov, Cosmides & Tooby's treatment -- applied to
> sociology -- is an exaggeration motivated by their own political and
> philosophical views.

I don't think so. I am usually very sensitive to such
manipulations and it gets under my radar at least. The first
chapter of the mentioned book is quite careful in building its case.

> The views bundled into SSSM may have been moderately common, but far from
> consensus. Reality is rarely as cleanly defined as our retrospective models
> of it!

Is the an implicit claim that there was no consensus model,
fuzzy as it may be at the edges, in the social sciences?

> In experimental psychology, things veered from behaviorism in the 50's and
> 60's, to a focus on cognitive modeling and information processing in the
> 70's, 80's and 90's. Clinical psychology moved from Freud/Jung to Maslow,
> Erich Fromm, and so forth. The SSSM concept seems even less relevant...

I saw very little focus on cognitive modelling as early as the
seventies. But more to the point, there is quite a bit of
evidence that SSSM-ish views dominated politicized social
programs much longer than this. To this day the level of
cultural relativism and belief in the power of environmental
effects is quite strong in government projects.

- samantha

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