Archive for the ‘Darwin’s Ideas’ Category

Darwin Predicted Evolutionary Psychology

November 10, 2009

According to Wikipedia, the term “evolutionary psychology” was probably coined in 1973.

Darwin predicted it in his Origin of Species. On the next-to-last page, he writes:

“In the distant future, I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.”

I’d been thinking about starting this blog for a long time, but it was reading that that tipped the balance. Darwin didn’t just invent clever ideas; he saw implications deeply. (At some point, I’ll be writing about how he described an early version of the mathematical idea of configuration space or state space.)

Of course, I’m not the first to notice that Darwin predicted evolutionary psychology. But I hadn’t realized it until I read it in the Origin.