Re: panksepp and evolutionary psychology

From: Daniel Radetsky (
Date: Tue Jun 21 2005 - 22:38:49 MDT

On Tue, 21 Jun 2005 12:10:57 -0700
justin corwin <> wrote:

> > 2. What significance they attach to his criticisms.
> His criticisms don't appear to inpugn the honor of EP, nor to attempt
> to refute it. It's clear that as a neuroscientist, he objects to the
> often abstractly functional analysis of human psychology,(T&C, Pinker,
> Fodor and friends).

I'm not very familiar with any of them, but I'm not sure how Fodor fits in. I
know he's very much opposed to EP and Massive Modularity.

> He points out that the neurological environment includes many things
> that could affect selection, particularly the 'source' of particular
> modules, for example, he criticises the idea that Fear could have
> undergone significant functional adaption during human evolution,
> given it's relatively ancient source.
> His primary objection appears to be an underrepresentation in
> Evolutionary Psychology of the role of general capability that reacts
> with specific capability and environment within the life of the
> organism. This is an important perspective, but it's not a knockdown
> argument against established EP theory, it's in fact, an argument for
> more theory, in a sense.

Again, I'm not familiar with EP, but I was under the impression that Massive
Modularity was a big part of at least Pinker's take on EP. As far as I know,
C&T as well. If so, then I fail to see how Panksepp's point is not a knockdown
argument (or wrong).

> In short, his 'criticism of EP', published, you'll note, in "Evolution
> and Cognition", is more of a criticism of some interpretation, and the
> state of the field, confirming in wide view, and disagreeing upon
> detail.

Well, okay, let's just say EP1 = "EP as practiced by individuals X, Y and Z."
Now it's a criticism of EP1, right?


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