Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Is empirical imagination a constraint on adaptationist theory construction?

Thomas E. Dickins a1 and David W. Dickins a2
a1 Brain and Cognition Research Group, Division of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4BU, United Kingdom
a2 Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZU, United Kingdom


Andrews et al. present a form of instrumental adaptationism that is designed to test the hypothesis that a given trait is an adaptation. This epistemological commitment aims to make clear statements about behavioural natural kinds. The instrumental logic is sound, but it is the limits of our empirical imagination that can cause problems for theory construction.