International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology

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MONDAY, JULY 6  /  15:30 - 17:00  /  DS-1540
Organized session / diverse format
Where biology meets anthropology (2): Philosophical discussions

Matt Haber (University of Utah, United States); Jay Odenbaugh (Lewis & Clark College, United States)


Richard Boyd (Cornell University, United States)
Heidi Colleran (Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, France)
Stephen Downes (University of Utah, United States)
Kenneth Blake Vernon (University of Utah, United States)
Jay Odenbaugh (Lewis & Clark College, United States)

Human behavioral ecologists seek evolutionarily grounded explanations of human social behaviors on the expectation that such behaviors will tend to optimize fitness. They’ve been ‘successful’ in the sense that many current and recent social behaviors do seem to have optimized fitness. There are other cases—especially involving changes in family size—where the expectation seems to have been wrong. What should we say about the future of human behavioral ecology in the light of such cases?

Following short presentations by philosopher Richard Boyd and evolutionary anthropologist Heidi Colleran, participants from the first session will commence for an open round table discussion of these and related issues:

-How can different research strategies from human behavioral ecology, evolutionary psychology, and gene-cultural coevolution be integrated to provide more accurate and rich explanations of human life history?
-How can phylogenetic techniques applied to taxa be used to understand the evolution of artifacts?
-Is culture something especially human? If not, what are the implications of this?
-How has recent anthropology escaped the criticisms that have been registered against sociology and evolutionary psychology? How has it been methodologically transformed?