Founding Anthropological Psychology: I'm criticizing Evolutionary Psychology as a social "darwinism ." Anthropological Psychology is a critique of Evolutionary Psychology based on Anthropology's long history of accumulating knowledge of human evolution, biological, anatomical, psychological and cultural, beginning with Darwin's Descent of Man and SELECTION BY SEX and Antoinette Blackwell's valid feminist critique of Darwin, right through all the fossil, genetic and ethnographic and physiological studies of the 20 and 21st Centuries.
Main point of the sub field would be human individual psyches are especially though not utterly shaped by language and culture.
All Animal individual's thoughts, including humans, are perception-sensations and memories ( imagination is recombined memories). Human individuals have especially memories of symbols and words language, as well as memories of direct sensations. Symbols are memories of especially dead generations, tradition . Other animal individuals have almost no memories of symbols or dead generations' experiences .
Other individual animals are rational. They pursue goals rationally as predators chasing prey or prey escaping predators; that's ultimately rational ! The difference between our thinking and theirs is we have such big symbol systems in our brains; the difference is not rational cognition.
We share the experiences of many , many dead ancestors in our individual brains. We stand on the shoulders of giants like Isaac Newton said he did. Culture is elementary and original science in accumulating experience across generations.
Every individual being of all animal species has an instinct for Self-preservation. A main way it is expressed is hunger for enough food to eat.
For the human species, many different species of plants and animals can fulfill this fundamental physiological , life and death need. All human cultures select only part of the universe of possible food species to eat and taboo other species.
Marshall Sahlins, one of my mentors in anthropology, recently mentioned Tomasello favorably (on a YouTube video ). So, I look at him favorably. However, I must say that I think chimps, monkeys, mammal individuals imitate each other's intentions. All animal individuals are rational, capable goal seekers, most especially as predators going after prey and prey escaping predators.
The difference ( viva la difference) is other species don't have a lot of projects dictated by tradition, history, custom, language and culture . Other species don't have utterly symbolic goals like becoming a football player or an actress. For humans, symbolic projects dominate our individual lives and values.
Why anthropological psychology? Anthropological psychology because psychology is study of the Individual, the Self, that idol of American culture and symbolic inheritance. So, learning about individuals is automatically more relevant to individual student's interests, which is of course, especially in themSELVES.
 Adaptation from Charles’ Blog here.
Charles Brown is a political activist in Detroit, Michigan. He has degrees in anthropology and is a member of the bar. He teaches anthropology at Community College. His favorite slogan is "What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”