Natural Selection Doesn’t Work That Way: Jerry Fodor vs. Evolutionary Psychology on Gradualism and Saltationism



Abstract:  In Chapter Five of The Mind Doesn’t Work That Way, Jerry Fodor argues that since it is likely that human minds evolved quickly as saltations rather than gradually as the product of an accumulation of small mutations, evolutionary psychologists are wrong to think that human minds are adaptations. I argue that Fodor's requirement that adaptationism entails gradualism is wrongheaded. So, while evolutionary psychologists may be wrong to endorse gradualism—and I argue that they are wrong—it does not follow that they are wrong to endorse an adaptationist explanation for how the human mind evolved.