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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

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Marc A Fournier

Chapter 2 Evolution and Human Nature th th 18 century French Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the 19 century romantic poets, Shelly and Keats described human nature as innocent and good, therefore pure and noble at birth and through society corrupt us th 17 century British philosopher John Locke have suggested that human nature is basically a blank state at birth and are ready to be shaped into any form that their environments can produce Principles of Evolution  individual organisms are the product of a long chain of evolutionary events whereby replilication systems essentially compete for limited resources  the more successful systems are the ones that produce more viable copies of themselves for the next generation  natural selection: is the process whereby nature gradually selects those characteristics of organisms that promote survival and reproductive success according to Darwin  genes are segments of chromosomes found in DNA responsible for the inheritance of characteristics, and they aim for self replication  Darwin believed that individuals engage in behaviours that ultimately make more of their design and they do this in 2 ways: 1. To generate and promote one’s own biological offspring 2. To promote the reproduction and well-being of those individual who share the same genes (e.g a woman may not have children, but her sister may and this will pass down more of her genes to the next generation through her sister and vice versa-indirectly through kins)  Inclusive fitness: is the overall of an organism’s ability to maximize the replication of the genes that designed it. The environment of evolutionary adaptedness  Human evolved to adapt to life in the Pleistocene and scientists called the Pleistocene world (EEA)  Competition for resources and mates emerged as well as aggression required for survival and reproductive success  Among human groups, dominance was also established and human groups were organized in hierarchical ways  Different human groups developed different cultures, but cultures might have shared different adaptive challenges  Human beings have evolved not because they are larger, stronger and more brutal but because they are smarter to plan, attack and defend against enemies, and by communicating those plans with the rest of the group through language..etc  Cognitive niche: is the use of the human mind’s extraordinary cognitive powers to adapt to the challenges of the EEA  the mind is more like a collection of rather more specialized subsystems or modules each designed to address a particular adaptive task that humans faced in the EEA  the human mind contains evolved cognitive, emotional, ad motivational mechanisms that targeted to solve the problems faced in the EEA  8 classes of reproductive problems: 1. Successful intrasexual competition- the individual must win out over competitors to get access to desirable members of the opposite sex so that sexual reproduction can occur 2. Mate selection-the individual must select those mates who have the greatest reproductive value to maximize the opportunity for passing his or her genes down to the next generation 3. Successful conception-the individual must engage in the necessary social and sexual behaviours
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