[Marxism] evolutionary psychology and socialism?
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
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.
More information about the Marxism