E-psycho battles

July 21, 2000

Evolutionary psychology is all that Steven and Hilary Rose accuse it of - and more. Most damning is its Cartesian, naively "realist" epistemology.

Hence not only its reductionism; its "property" dualisms falsely dividing facts/values, part/whole,and so on; its unverifiable speculations (and just-so stories); the ideological loop and self-deception of its Flintstones projection of capitalist values and patterns - but its incompatibility with key, new discoveries in visual art on perception and creativity; and its closed hall of mirrors, impervious to falsifying evidence and reason.

But given that ideology, culture, nature and biology are all factors that determine our survival, flourishing or extinction, the bad science of EP is not destiny, certainly not if we have the non-Cartesian, interdisciplinary and ecological vision to show that it isn't.

David Rodway

Lecturer in art and philosophy

Kensington and Chelsea College London

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