Development, Evolution and Telos

Ok, so I was just reading, and had a thought. What bugs me a lot (among other things) about Sociobiology, and Evolutionary Psychology, is that they necessarily make human development and existence teleological.

Now evolution has to be teleological, because it attempts to describe a process that's theoretically already happened. The telos of evolution is the present, not the future (that's where the eugenicists screwed up, among other places. Right?). We can assume that evolution will continue in the future, but because evolution works in a huge timescale, the only thing we really know is that humans, and nature, and the world, will change in the future, but more specificity, given that we're talking about Evolution, seem ahem unprudent.

Social Sciences, are then, trying to describe a contemporary process. We'll take developmental psychology here, because it's my current fascination, and because both evolution and human development seem on first glance to follow a similar kind of course. There's also that ontogeny replicating phlygeny bit that I forgot for a while, and that's sort of bothersome. Anyway, we are, as human's always developing, and while human development ends at death, I'd hardly say that death is the telos of development.

I should also point out that despite the fact that we develop in relation/response to our environment, that development isn't an Evolutionary Process. The word evolve has grown to encompass a number of causal occurrences that are, basically "change over time" and a "growing sense of complexity," which I think deserves some semantic distance from Evolution as it applies to biological processes, or might be applied to psychological processes (usually inappropriately) but that's neither here nor there.

Now evolution clearly is ongoing, and this presents a problem, because I'd hate to take the positivist rout and say "we can't analyze evolution as a process in the moment, so lets ignore it." But I'm not sure where else to go with this. At the very least, it seems to me that there's a certain "unified progress narrative," that ends in the present, implicit in evolutionary theory; whereas there is a plurality of developmental narratives, that are always in process, always being re-written, some of which aren't progress narratives, where the "march toward complexity" doesn't pervade the structure and content of the narrative/study/theory. Is this a contrived division, or a useful conceptual boundary? (Does the latter exist, and is there some more productive premise to establish?)

Just thoughts. Cheers, Sam

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