People, like all other organisms, are not evolved to maximise health, wealth, happiness or any other trait – but to have descendants, which is the continuation of life




НазваниеPeople, like all other organisms, are not evolved to maximise health, wealth, happiness or any other trait – but to have descendants, which is the continuation of life
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Evolutionary Developmental Psychopathology


by


Ian Pitchford

Email: Ian.Pitchford@scientist.com

University of Sheffield

Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies

School of Health and Related Research

16 Claremont Crescent

SHEFFIELD

S10 2TA, UK


September, 2001

Evolutionary Developmental Psychopathology


by


Ian Pitchford


Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction: Genealogical Actors in Ecological Roles

3

Chapter 2. The Separation of Contradictory Things

7

Chapter 3. The Problem of Classification in Psychiatry

35

Chapter 4. Evolution and Human Nature

71

Chapter 5. The Society of Mind

107

Chapter 6. Evolutionary Developmental Psychopathology

154

Bibliography

228


Chapter 1


Introduction


Genealogical Actors in Ecological Roles


Surely the way to encourage people to think about their lives and to improve them is not to replace one set of coercive determinants with another, and surely the way to think about responsible action is not to juggle inner and outer, ultimate and proximate causes, and hope that reasons and responsibility will miraculously squeeze through some narrow space where causes collide in persons.

(Oyama, 1985, p. 16)


People, like all other organisms, are not evolved to maximise health, wealth, happiness or any other trait – but to have descendants, which is the continuation of life.

(Chisholm, 1999, p. 48)


How can psychiatric nosology1 generate an epistemic benefit, and can a scientific taxonomy of mental disorders ever be entirely coextensive with a clinical taxonomy of such disorders? I shall argue that useful taxonomic concepts for a science of psychopathology are those representing projectable categories, and that such categories delineate natural kinds, or non-arbitrary aspects of the world. I shall also argue that because our attitude towards the treatment of disorders or problems of any kind necessarily involves a complex psycho-social cost-benefit analysis, clinical taxonomy will always reflect a nonepistemic agenda that is itself mutable according to the strictures of prevailing norms and resources. These considerations imply that the search for a single psychiatric taxonomy based on the natural and human sciences and capable of accommodating the needs of both clinicians and researchers could be futile, and that a clear acknowledgement of the differing ends of psychiatric treatment and research into psychopathology should be a starting point in the classification of mental disorders.

Recent attempts to promote the extension of evolutionary theorising to human psychology and behaviour have awakened renewed interest in a field variously called Darwinian psychiatry (McGuire & Troisi, 1998), evolutionary psychopathology (Baron-Cohen, 1997), or evolutionary psychiatry (Stevens & Price, 1996). According to some of its most prominent practitioners this discipline ‘introduces a broad and much needed deductive framework; it facilitates the functional analysis of behaviour; it identifies important differences between ultimate causes and proximate mechanisms, [and] it promotes a reassessment of current views about aetiology and pathogenesis’ (McGuire, et al., 1992, p. 89). However, drawing as it does on the concerns of human sociobiology (Wilson, 1975; 1978), much of the work in evolutionary psychopathology has concentrated on the study of adaptive behaviours ‘such as acquiring a mate, sexual intercourse, having offspring, parent-offspring bonding, stranger anxiety’ and other ‘general behaviour profiles and patterns of human behaviour… set by the species’ genome [which], within limits, unfold in predictable ways’ (McGuire, et al., 1992, p. 90).


Although it is certainly correct that ‘human physiology is importantly influenced by selective forces’ (Sterelny, 1992, p. 156), which is all that human sociobiology requires as a basic justification, there is a serious epistemic asymmetry between animal sociobiology and human sociobiology owing to the fact that humans are long-lived and unavailable for scientific manipulation in the form of controlled breeding experiments. Another problem in considering particular human behaviours as adaptive is the human capacity to replicate learned behaviour through cultural means. Although our culture and social institutions may reflect aspects of our evolved psychological mechanisms (Boyer, 1994; Sperber, 1996), our behaviour is certainly


the result of perceptual inputs, our learning history, and very complex interactions between distinct psychological mechanisms… very little human behaviour is the result of a specialised capacity, built by genes that have proliferated in virtue of their ability to build the device that produces the behaviour. In us, if functionalism is right, there is nothing like a one-one correlation between behaviours and mechanisms (Sterelny, 1992, p. 168).

Crawford argues for the distinction between innate adaptation, the genetically encoded design for the development of proximate mechanisms, and operational adaptation, the phenotypic psychological processes actually producing the behaviour (Crawford, 1993). Inasmuch as the environment in which the phenotype develops differs significantly from the environment of evolutionary adaptedness an operational adaptation may be typified by entirely novel features, and may contribute to behaviours having little bearing on lifetime reproductive success (LRS). Consequently, as Sterelny suggests ‘we need from sociobiology an evolutionary psychology, not an evolutionary theory of human behaviour’ (1992, p. 170). Two of the field’s early advocates, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, argue that to embrace evolutionary psychology


means shedding certain concepts and prejudices inherited from parochial parent traditions: the obsessive search for a cognitive architecture that is general purpose and initially content-free; the excessive reliance on results derived from artificial “intellectual” tasks; the idea that the field’s scope is limited to the study of “higher” mental processes; and a long list of false dichotomies reflecting premodern biological thought – evolved/learned, evolved/developed, innate/learned, genetic environmental, biological/social, biological/cultural, emotion/cognition, animal/human. Most importantly, cognitive scientists will have to abandon the functional agnosticism that is endemic to the field (Cosmides & Tooby, 1994, p. 42).


Evolutionary psychology eschews what it regards as the behavioural determinism of sociobiology, but it does, however, retain a commitment to a modified genetic determinism (of mechanisms rather than behaviour) which may itself obscure a full appreciation of human psychological plasticity and the intricacies of development. To borrow a phrase from David Hull (1987) we need to remember that human beings are genealogical actors in ecological roles, and a large portion of this work constitutes a consideration of ways in which we should perceive the contribution of genes and ecology to our evolved psychology. How then should we conceive of ‘evolutionary psychology’? What concepts and debates characterise this field? How does it relate to other disciplines? What does it have to say about psychiatric classification and mental illness?


To provide a coherent framework within which to analyse conceptual disputes in psychiatry it is an indispensable prerequisite to evaluate competing perspectives on human evolution (and evolutionary biology in general) and perspectives in the history and philosophy of science. Although this can often seem a highly circuitous route to an understanding of mental illness, recent work in these areas does allow us to clarify and refine some of the concepts and theories that provide the foundation for the profoundly antagonistic debates that impede the exploration of human nature. Consequently, chapter two ‘The Separation of Contradictory Things’ considers the origins and consequences of the arbitrary allocation of causal co-determinants to mutually incompatible schemes of explanation and advocates the developmental systems approach to evolution and the causal homeostatic theory of natural kinds as frameworks capable of avoiding damaging dichotomies. Chapter three ‘The Problem of Classification in Psychiatry’ provides an overview of the recent history of biological psychiatry and examines the failure of the principal neurochemical hypotheses of mental disorders it has produced. Psychiatric classification is examined from a number of perspectives and a distinction is drawn between arbitrary concepts and projectable categories as the foundation for explanation and induction. Chapter four ‘Evolution and Human Nature’ examines the development of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. Chapter five ‘The Society of Mind’ commends the modular view of psychological faculties within the developmental systems perspective, and finally chapter six ‘Evolutionary Developmental Psychopathology’ demonstrates how the ideas advocated within this work can provide novel insights into the nature of mental disorders. These insights allow us to re-organize research findings into an alternative scheme (or schemes) of investigation and classification.


Chapter 2


The Separation of Contradictory Things


Since the genome represents only a part of the entire developmental ensemble, it cannot by itself contain or cause the form that results. But then, neither can its surroundings. As is frequently the case in these matters, people in some way know this perfectly well and say so. The reason they often end up belying their own good sense seems to be their tendency to view a lack of variation (within the organism if focus is on individual nature and within the species if focus is on species nature) as evidence of inherent, necessary qualities.

(Oyama, 1985, pp. 19-20)


The word ‘dichotomy’ is derived from the Greek dikhotomia, which means literally ‘cutting in two’. In this chapter I will discuss the arbitrary separation of variables and argue that the allocation of causal co-determinants to opposing explanatory schemata undermines our understanding of the natural world and human nature. The pervasive influence of three pivotal dichotomies on scientific enquiry and on therapeutic intervention: those of mind versus body, cognition versus emotion and nature versus nurture, will be a recurrent theme throughout this work. Although scholars in the natural and human sciences usually disavow belief in distinct material and immaterial substances contemporary debates are phrased largely in terms that would have been familiar to the Greek philosophers, and which still divide human characteristics into divine or transcendent attributes2, in modern terminology the surrogate terms include ‘rational’, ‘cognitive’, ‘discursive’, ‘autonomous’ and ‘unrestricted’, and animal or corporeal attributes, the surrogates being terms such as ‘emotional’, ‘instinctive’, ‘determined’, ‘immutable’, and ‘bounded’. The three dichotomies are all inspired by this essential dualism and each term evokes one or more of the properties associated with each category. Viewed in these terms many contemporary scientific, political, and cultural debates often have an unacknowledged quasi-theological dimension, and it is this dimension that is responsible for some of the greatest impediments to the understanding of human nature.


I will argue that we should attempt to employ a rigorously mechanistic approach to the natural world. This does not imply a commitment to unrestrained and unrealistic reductionism, or to the arbitrary exclusion of phenomena that are clearly characteristic of the human condition, such as emotional experience or the moral sentiments – traits that are often considered to fall outside the domain of scientific enquiry. This standpoint can be achieved through a synthesis of two key perspectives: the developmental systems approach to evolution by natural selection, and the causal homeostatic theory of natural kinds.


Divining the Essence: Cleaving Mind from Body


The doctrine of dualism, which holds that there are two distinct substances, one corporeal and earthly, and the other incorporeal and transcendent, has a long history in Western philosophical and theological thought. The Greek philosopher Plato (428-347 BC), perhaps the most influential of all philosophers, ancient or modern, held that the soul (or divine mind) as the source of reason, thought, and intellect, was the essential property setting humankind apart from animals. In The Phaedo Plato writes of the body that


it fills us full of lusts, and fears, and fancies of all kinds, and endless foolery, and in fact, as men say, takes away all power of thinking from us at all… It has been proved to us by experience that if we would have true knowledge of anything we must be quit of the body – the soul in herself must behold things in themselves: and then we shall attain the wisdom we desire…(quoted in Russell, 1961, p. 151).3


In the same discourse Plato employs the famous metaphor ‘depicting intellect as the charioteer who holds the reins, with emotion and will as the horses that draw the chariot. This triarchic model of the human psyche, comprising, intellect, emotion, and will, is perhaps the most easily recognizable aspect of philosophy’s legacy to psychology’ (Jensen, 1998, p. 4) Plato’s pupil, Aristotle, later reduced the triarchic division of the psyche to two main functions, which he termed the dianoetic4, or what we would now call the cognitive functions, and the orectic, which included the emotions, will, and moral sense.


Because mind and body were held to be separate, the problem of the interaction between the two became one of the most intractable questions in philosophy. The father of modern philosophy, René Descartes (1596-1650), believed that the ‘thinking substance’, or mind, interacted with the ‘extended substance’, or body, by way of the pineal gland. He saw this as the likely organ of interaction because it is the only part of the brain that is not divided into two hemispheres. Descartes argued that thinking was the essence of humankind, and that the foundation for all true knowledge could be summarised in the aphorism ‘Cogito, ergo sum’ or ‘I think, therefore I am’. Although the properties of extended substances could be analysed in terms of the laws of physics, thinking substances could be understood only in terms of the laws of thinking. Descartes offers no coherent explanation of how extended substances and thinking substances could interact, but he contends that all conflicts are conflicts between the soul and the body (Gaukroger, 1995, p. 402).


In the Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences (1637), Descartes explains how by ‘deducing effects from their causes, and by showing from what elements and in what manner nature must produce them’ the recent triumph of the scientific explanation of the circulation of the blood had been achieved, and cautions:


lest those who are ignorant of the force of mathematical demonstrations and who are not accustomed to distinguish true reasons from mere verisimilitudes, should venture without examination, to deny what has been said, I wish it to be considered that the motion which I have now explained follows as necessarily from the very arrangement of the parts, which may be observed in the heart by the eye alone, and from the heat which may be felt with the fingers, and from the nature of the blood as learned from experience, as does the motion of a clock from the power, the situation, and shape of its counterweights and wheels (Discourse on the Method, Part V).5


But lest anyone should think that the laws of mechanics could explain the nature of humankind, Descartes goes on to argue that though the mechanical properties of extended substances such as human bodies could be regarded as no different to those of an ape or ‘any other irrational animal’, there would remain ‘two most certain tests whereby to know that they were not therefore really men’. These tests are the ability to use language and the ability to reason – abilities that could only be dependent on the properties of a reasonable soul that


could by no means be educed from the power of matter, as the other things of which I had spoken, but that it must be expressly created; and that it is not sufficient that it be lodged in the human body exactly like a pilot in a ship, unless perhaps to move its members, but that it is necessary for it to be joined and united more closely to the body, in order to have sensations and appetites similar to ours, and thus constitute a real man. I here entered, in conclusion, upon the subject of the soul at considerable length, because it is of the greatest moment: for after the error of those who deny the existence of God, an error which I think I have already sufficiently refuted, there is none that is more powerful in leading feeble minds astray from the straight path of virtue than the supposition that the soul of the brutes is of the same nature with our own; and consequently that after this life we have nothing to hope for or fear, more than flies and ants; in place of which, when we know how far they differ we much better comprehend the reasons which establish that the soul is of a nature wholly independent of the body, and that consequently it is not liable to die with the latter and, finally, because no other causes are observed capable of destroying it, we are naturally led thence to judge that it is immortal (Discourse on the Method, Part V).


In proposing this substantial union of mind and body, Descartes is effectively arguing the case for the notion of the embodied mind – a mind which has features distinct from disembodied mind or from bodies, but he retains a commitment to the idea of an indivisible and immaterial soul as the essence of human nature. As Stephen Gaukroger points out:

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