Added: March 21, 2015 – Last updated: March 21, 2015


Author: John Atytalla

Title: Dynamic Ecologies and the Biological Bases of Violence

Subtitle: A Critical Analysis of Jonathan Gottschall’s The Rape of Troy

Journal: Eutomia: Revista Online de Literature e Linguística

Volume: 1

Issue: 14

Year: December 2014 (Received: December 6, 2014, Accepted: December 19, 2014)

Pages: 446-470

ISSN: 1982-6850 – Find a Library: Open Access Journal

Language: English

Keywords: Research: Evolutionary Theory


Link: Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Free Access)


Abstract: »Abstract: Jonathan Gottschall’s The Rape of Troy employs an array of interdisciplinary resources in order to explain the relentless cycle of Homeric war as emerging from the operations of evolutionary competition over reproductive resources. This paper suggests that considerations regarding the operations of psychological adaptations in Homo Sapiens will be greatly benefited from characterizing the socio-historical properties of human life in terms of a dynamic array of ecological niches. By characterizing human history as a dynamic array of ecological niches, emphasizing that we have an active capacity for ecological modification, and showing this to be responsible for the oft exapted character of our behaviour, I suggest means of coherently distinguishing ‘cultural’ determinants of human psychology from ‘evolutionary ones’. Moreover, I hope to have demonstrated that we can sustain these distinctions as applicable to different levels of description rather than distinct sorts of natural phenomena or ontological categories. By reflecting on these issues through the lense of the philosophical issues of reductionism and intentionality we can understand the distinction between evolutionary directives and psychological motives.« (Source: Eutomia)


  Abstract (p. 446)
  Resumo (p. 446)
  Introduction (p. 447)
  The Rape of Troy (p. 448)
  Philosophical Referees (p. 451)
  Intelligibility Criterion (p. 454)
  The Causal Efficacy of Historical Ecologies (p. 455)
  Intentionality and Biological Determinism (p. 458)
  Ecological Mismatch (p. 460)
  Exaptation (p. 462)
  Biological Vs. Psychological Value: The Intentionality of Desire (p. 464)
  Proximate and Ultimate Causes vs. Proximate and Ultimate Values (p. 467)
  Conclusion (p. 469)
  Bibliography (p. 470)

Note: Gottschall, Jonathan. The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence, and the World of Homer. Cambridge 2008.

Wikipedia: Sociobiological theories of rape