Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

The roles of evolution in the social sciences: is biology ballistic?

Franks, Bradley (2014) The roles of evolution in the social sciences: is biology ballistic? Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 44 (3). 288 - 305. ISSN 0021-8308

[img] Text (Franks_Roles-of-evolution-in-social-sciences_2013) - Accepted Version
Download (456kB)

Identification Number: 10.1111/jtsb.12043


This paper discusses some widespread but often not fully articulated views concerning the possible roles of biology and evolution in the social sciences. Such views cluster around a set of intuitions that suggest that evolution's role is “ballistic”: it constitutes a starting point for mind that has been, and is, superseded by the role of culture and social construction. An implication is that evolved and the socially constructed aspects of mind are separable and independent, with the latter being the primary driver of mind. I outline four variants of the ballistic view. I then show how current findings and arguments in evolutionary thinking as related to mind contradict those ballistic views. The contrary view—that evolutionary and social factors are interdependent in the generation of social psychological capacities—is proposed as a consequence. This view is able to respect some insights of theories that make ballistic assumptions, whilst avoiding those assumptions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2014 14:14
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:48

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics