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Evolutionary Thought in Psychology: A Brief History

ISBN: 978-0-470-77540-0
184 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Evolutionary Thought in Psychology: A Brief History (0470775408) cover image
Evolutionary Thought in Psychology: A Brief History traces the history of evolutionary thought in psychology in an accessible and lively fashion and examines the complex and changing relations between psychology and evolutionary theory.

  • First book to trace the history of evolutionary thinking in psychology from its beginnings to the present day in an accessible and lively fashion.
  • Focuses on the rise of evolutionary theories begun by Lamarck and Darwin and the creation of the science of psychology.
  • Explains evolutionary thought’s banishment by behaviorism and cultural anthropology in the early 20th century, along with its eventual re-emergence through ethology and sociobiology.
  • Examines the complex and changing relations between psychology and evolutionary theory.
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Acknowledgments.

Preface.

1. Curious Histories.

2. Before Darwin.

3. Psychology Born and the Darwinian Revolution.

4. The Near Death of Darwinism in the Social Sciences.

5. An Exceptional Case.

6. Lessons To Be Learned: Ethology and Sociobiology.

7. Contemporary Evolutionary Psychology.

8. Future Prospects.

References.

Index

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Henry Plotkin is Professor of Psychobiology at University College London. He is the author of Darwin Machines (1994), Evolution in Mind (1997) and most recently The Imagined World Made Real (2002)."
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  • First book to trace the history of evolutionary thinking in psychology from its beginnings to the present day in an accessible and lively fashion.

  • Focuses on the rise of evolutionary theories begun by Lamarck and Darwin and the creation of the science of psychology.
  • Explains evolutionary thought’s banishment by behaviorism and cultural anthropology in the early 20th century, along with its eventual re-emergence through ethology and sociobiology.
  • Examines the complex and changing relations between psychology and evolutionary theory.
See More
"Henry Plotkin is unique among academic psychologists in his gift for lucid and provocative exposition; in this book, his latest exploration of evolutionary thinking in psychology, he delivers a superbly crafted historical portrait of his own discipline: he tells us why Darwinian psychologists think as they do, and what we can expect from the felicitous new alliance of psychology with biology and the social sciences." Frank R. Wilson, Stanford University School of Medicine

"In the 19th century, Darwin’s theory of evolution was initially integrated into the new science of psychology by pioneers such as Lloyd Morgan, George John Romanes, and James Mark Baldwin. But in the 20th century it was as if their efforts had been wasted; a self-names ‘science’ that insisted on ignoring conscious experience itself, as well as any of its determinants that might be of direct or indirect genetic origin, took over academic departments of psychology. But Plotkin compellingly describes how 21st century psychology, which will be about consciousness as well as the brain, will probably incorporate findings from ethology, sociobiology, and evolutionary theory (including ideas about ‘selfish’ genes)…a must-read." David J. Murray, Queen’s University

"This book is a true reflection of its title, a history of evolutionary thought within psychology, building on Darwin's original ambition to extend his theory to a science of the human mind. It runs through the eclipse of this thinking by behaviourism and its return in the last 20 years in the various forms of evolutionary psychology. A very readable introduction to the field." Scientific and Medical Network Review, Summer 2005

"Plotkin gives an erudite and engaging account of the intellectual currents that influenced the relationship between psychology and evolutionary thought over the past 100 years.....Interspersed throughout are interesting anecdotes, colorful descriptions of personalities, and accounts of twists of fate that affected careers and influenced the history of psychology....For any psychologist interested in the history of ideas -and how intellectual currents, politics and chance events can affect scientific paradigms-it is a must read. It's lasting value is that it provides a lucid and well-documented hisotry of the intellectually shameful exculsion of evolutionary thought in psychological theory during most of the 20th century. Thankfully, that exclusion is being remedied in the 21st century." Personnel Psychology, Summer 2005

`This is science writing of a high order, and I hope this book has the wide readership it so strongly merits.' Michael Ruse, Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences, Autumn 2005

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