The Roles of Evolution in the Social Sciences: Is Biology Ballistic?
Article first published online: 25 OCT 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
Volume 44, Issue 3, pages 288–305, September 2014
How to Cite
Franks, B. (2014), The Roles of Evolution in the Social Sciences: Is Biology Ballistic?. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 44: 288–305. doi: 10.1111/jtsb.12043
- Issue published online: 14 SEP 2014
- Article first published online: 25 OCT 2013
- evolutionary theory;
- social psychology;
- ballistic concepts;
- social construction
This paper discusses some widespread but often not fully articulated views concerning the possible roles of biology and evolution in the social sciences. Such views cluster around a set of intuitions that suggest that evolution's role is “ballistic”: it constitutes a starting point for mind that has been, and is, superseded by the role of culture and social construction. An implication is that evolved and the socially constructed aspects of mind are separable and independent, with the latter being the primary driver of mind. I outline four variants of the ballistic view. I then show how current findings and arguments in evolutionary thinking as related to mind contradict those ballistic views. The contrary view—that evolutionary and social factors are interdependent in the generation of social psychological capacities—is proposed as a consequence. This view is able to respect some insights of theories that make ballistic assumptions, whilst avoiding those assumptions.