[SydPhil] HPS Research - Dr Peter Takacs- Assessing Fitness Functions in Selected Effects Accounts of Psychological Dysfunction
debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Mon Oct 28 09:26:17 AEDT 2019
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SCHOOL OF HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE
SYDNEY CENTRE FOR THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCIENCE
SEMESTER TWO 2019 RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES
Dr Peter Takacs
Theory and Method in Biosciences Group
Charles Perkins Centre
University of Sydney
Assessing Fitness Functions in Selected Effects Accounts of Psychological Dysfunction
Diagnosed medical disorders and pathologies—physiological, morphological, behavioral, or psychological—presume contextual impropriety or systematic dysfunction. Any such disorder accordingly implies an account of proper functioning. For etiological-historical accounts informed by evolutionary considerations (or “selected effects accounts”), dysfunction occurs when a trait fails to perform the function whose effect on fitness was selected for in [N]ormal conditions and, thereby, explains the origin or subsequent retention of the trait. Selected effects accounts have recently been proposed for mental disorders, such as depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Two distinct approaches and seemingly inconsistent conclusions have subsequently emerged. One approach maintains that common mental disorders are objectively dysfunctional in an evolutionary sense and therefore focuses on elucidating the genetic mechanisms which maintain susceptibility. Others have argued that at least some common mental disorders might be developmental mismatches due to phenotypic plasticity and, although genuine disorders, are not dysfunctional from an evolutionary perspective. The cogency of either approach hinges on which components of fitness are maximized. I examine how the two approaches differ and whether the biological interpretations of the distinctive formal fitness functions can be reconciled.
WHEN: MONDAY 28th OCTOBER
WHERE: F23 LEVEL 5 FUNCTION ROOM
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