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The Standard Social Sciences Model and its Discontents

We believe that the challenges to the SSSM are basically correct and that this should radically change the way that all social scientists conduct research. What is this SSSM? [Tooby and Cosmides1992] state that it includes, among other claims and assumptions, that ``the process [of cultural transmission from generation to generation] is maintained through learning, a well-understood and unitary process, that acts to make the child like the adult of her culture'', which as a group process is ``called `socialization', imposed on the child by the group'' and that ``the individual is the...passive recipient...and product of her culture.'' Ultimately ``what is organized and contentful in the minds...comes from culture and is socially constructed.'' [Brown1991] points out that it involves, among other things, the ``dictum that social facts should be explained by social facts'' (p. 60).

What is also important is what the SSSM plays down, denies, or more often ignores: The model holds that ``in discussing culture, one can safely neglect a consideration of psychology as anything other than the nondescript `black box' of learning, which provides the capacity for culture.'' Learning ``must be the explanation for any aspect of organized human life that varies from individual to individual and from group to group'' p 32 [Tooby and Cosmides1992]. In sum these two points of the SSSM are that the mind of the individual is almost entirely shaped by their culture and that facts about a culture are not products of human nature.

Mon Sep 8 18:21:39 BST 1997