Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 659–674 | Cite as

Psychological categories as homologies: lessons from ethology

  • Marc Ereshefsky


This article takes up the project of studying psychological categories as homologies. Ethologists have numerous theoretical ideas concerning the phylogeny and ontogeny of behavioral homologies. They also have well-developed operational methods for testing behavioral homologies. Many of these theoretical ideas and operational criteria can be applied to psychological homologies. This paper suggests that insights from ethology should be incorporated in adaptationist and functionalist approaches to psychology. Doing so would strengthen those approaches.


Adaptationism Behavioral homology Evolutionary psychology Functionalism Homology Ontogeny Phylogeny 



My thanks to Ingo Brigandt, David Buller, Stephen Downes, Paul Griffiths, David Hull, Alan Love, and Elliott Sober for their very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Financial support was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Calgary Institute for the Humanities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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