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Evolutionary Psychology and the Social Sciences

Todd J. Zywicki

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

October 2000

Humane Studies Review

This essay provides a general, nontechnical survey of the field of evolutionary psychology and discusses some of the implications of evolutionary psychology for law and the social sciences. The focus of the essay is on the "four paths to cooperation" in nature that have been identified by evolutionary psychologists. Through this discussion, the essay illuminates the importance of evolutionary psychology for a proper understanding of social norms, the state, constitutions, and the evolution of cooperation in the absence of culture, informal norms, legal rules, and political institutions. By understanding the evolution of cooperation absent these other forces it becomes possible to understand the sources and the importance of norms, rules, and institutions, at the margin. Discussion of these social institutions is incomplete without a grounding in evolutionary psychology. The essay concludes with a survey of developing issues in law and the social sciences that could be fruitfully studied through the lens of evolutionary psychology.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

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Date posted: October 12, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Zywicki, Todd J., Evolutionary Psychology and the Social Sciences (October 2000). Humane Studies Review. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=244552 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.244552

Contact Information

Todd J. Zywicki (Contact Author)
George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8091 (Phone)
703-993-8088 (Fax)

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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