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Joanna Bourke

evolutionary psychology approach; ignoring new forms of aggression; and failing to acknowledge the political underpinnings of his own research. In this article, I will explore these shortcomings in relation to sexual violence. The study of sexual violence is

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Robert Parkin

The article takes the form of a critical comment on Warren Shapiro's recent defence of approaches to kinship from evolutionary psychology against Susan McKinnon's attact on them from a position of cultural constructivism, but it also takes issue with some of McKinnon's own arguments, as well as reflecting critically on the assumptions of evolutionary psychology itself. Although far apart theoretically, Shapiro and McKinnon share a flawed understanding of the significance of kin term equations, while McKinnon and evolutionary psychology both rely in their arguments on notions of agency that are fundamentally ethnocentric and neglect the significance of social obligation. Nonetheless, Shapiro and McKinnon both represent established tendencies within social anthropology, though not exhaustively so. The article ends with a plea for a degree of reconciliation between these tendencies (echoing Janet Carsten), if only to defend them from often ill‐informed interventions in this area from other disciplines.

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Torben Grodal

Based on film examples and evolutionary psychology, this article discusses why viewers are fascinated not only with funny and pleasure-evoking films, but also with sad and disgust-evoking ones. This article argues that although the basic emotional mechanisms are made to avoid negative experiences and approach pleasant ones, a series of adaptations modify such mechanisms. Goal-setting in narratives implies that a certain amount of negative experiences are gratifying challenges, and comic mechanisms make it possible to deal with negative social emotions such as shame. Innate adaptations make negative events fascinating because of the clear survival value, as when children are fascinated by stories about loss of parental attachment. Furthermore, it seems that the interest in tragic stories ending in death is an innate adaptation to reaffirm social attachment by the shared ritual of sadness, often linked to acceptance of group living and a tribal identity.

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Daniel Lord Smail

dominant narrative of Better Angels is founded on contingency. Why do some readers miss this point? To appreciate what Pinker is arguing, it helps to be familiar with the latest trends in the field of evolutionary psychology. At the risk of

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Randolph Roth

determine if violence declines when they rise, or rises when they decline. Third, although historical forces affect our minds and bodies, as Pinker argues, contemporary primatology, neurology, and endocrinology, rather than evolutionary psychology, may hold

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What human kinship is primarily about

Toward a critique of the new kinship studies

Warren Shapiro

The claims of the so‐called ‘constructionist’ position in kinship studies are examined with reference to a recent article by Susan McKinnon. McKinnon's analysis is shown to be deeply flawed, primarily because she pays no attention to the phenomenon of focality, now widely established in cognitive science. Instead, she is trapped in unsupportable collectivist models of human kinship. It is argued that these models are part of a misguided critique of the Western European Enlightenment.

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“Mind the Gap”

Between Movies and Mind, Affective Neuroscience, and the Philosophy of Film

Jane Stadler


Murray Smith’s Film, Art, and the Third Culture makes a significant contribution to cognitive film theory and philosophical aesthetics, expanding the conceptual tools of film analysis to include perspectives from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. Smith probes assumptions about how cinema affects spectators by examining aspects of experience and neurophysiological responses that are unavailable to conscious, systematic reflection. This article interrogates Smith’s account of emotion, empathy, and imagination in cinematic representation and film spectatorship, placing his work in dialogue with other recent interventions in the fields of cinema studies and embodied cognition. Smith’s contribution to understanding the role of emotion in screen studies is vital, and when read in conjunction with recent publications by Carl Plantinga and Mark Johnson on ethical engagement and the moral imagination, this new work constitutes a notable advance in film theory.

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Natural Sciences and Social Sciences

Where Do the Twain Meet?

C. S. A. (Kris) van Koppen

. Evolutionary psychology and neurosciences apply evolution theory and neurophysiology to explain human behavior. In major social science disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, and political sciences, however, specific social science concepts and methods

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Modernist Embodiment

Sisyphean Landscape Allegory in Cinema

David Melbye

effects upon him. In his chapter from the Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology , John H. Crook affirms this key cultural disparity when he says about shamanic cultures, “Another common feature in such worlds is a failure to distinguish clearly

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Paul Taberham and Kaitlin Brunick

shaped by natural selection in order to protect and advance vital human interests” (86). However plausible this assertion may be, it remains a speculation (contentious to some, given the controversy of evolutionary psychology), and referring readers to