[Marxism] evolutionary psychology and socialism?

Matt matt2641 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 8 09:52:07 MDT 2010

On 8/8/2010 12:30 AM, Mark Lause wrote:
> What is it that you find particularly compelling about evolutionary
> psychology?
> ML
Great Question.  Here's my answer:

"The first premise of all human history is, of course, the existence of 
living human individuals. Thus the first fact to be established is the 
physical organisation of these individuals and their consequent relation 
to the rest of nature. Of course, we cannot here go either into the 
actual physical nature of man, or into the natural conditions in which 
man finds himself -- geological, hydrographical, climatic and so on. The 
writing of history must always set out from these natural bases and 
their modification in the course of history through the action of men." 
- K.M. & FE, /The German Ideology/, /MECW/ v.5, 31.

For myself, I think it is critical to distinguish between the premises 
and methods of e.p. and the conclusions reached by some of its 
practitioners.  As to the the first, the premises of ep are materialist 
to the core: humans are mammals with a specific set of biologically 
determined characteristics.  Some of these, as to which there can be 
little disagreement, are physical, e.g., the need for certain types of 
nutriment, water, etc.  Unless we are prepared to argue that none of the 
biologically determined characteristics are psychological in nature, on 
its face a ridiculous assertion, materialism requires us to seek the 
biological determinants of psychology and complex behavior.

That biologists thinking and working within capitalist social formations 
tend to conceive those determinants in terms shaped by capitalist 
ideology is only to be expected; critique of their premises and 
conclusions is the answer, but not wholesale rejection of the project.  
For example, I'm providing a link to a website called "Cooperation 
Commons," which seems to tend in this direction: NOTE: Due to time 
constraints, I have NOT read any of these essays in their entirety, so 
they may turn out to be different that what I'm thinking.


Matt Bewig

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