The Darwinian Algorithm and Scientific Enquiry

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1999, Vol 44(2), 150–152. Review of the book “Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology: Ideas, Issues, and Applications” (see record 1997-36757-000). The Darwinian algorithm for evolution through natural selection is one of the most powerful theories in all of science and provides the theoretical underpinnings for this handbook. Each of the articles in the Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology exemplifies one or more of three aspects of scientific enquiry, which C. S. Pierce, the founder of pragmatism, distinguished as abduction, deduction, and induction. This handbook makes a powerful case for interdisciplinary reasoning in the natural sciences and a powerful case for consilience. As with any theory, the worth of the Darwinian algorithm and evolutionary theory must be judged relative to its predictive utility, the meaningfulness of its explanatory power, and perhaps most important, its generative function. A good theory promotes questioning. The ideas, issues, and applications explored in Crawford and Krebs's Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology provide a cascade of questions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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