Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Episode #44 - Fleischman on Evolutionary Psychology and Sex Robots


In this episode I chat to Diana Fleischman. Diana is a senior lecturer in evolutionary psychology at the University of Portsmouth. Her research focuses on hormonal influences on behavior, human sexuality, disgust and, recently, the interface of evolutionary psychology and behaviorism. She is a utilitarian, a promoter of effective altruism, and a bivalvegan. We have a long and detailed chat about the evolved psychology of sex and how it may affect the social acceptance and use of sex robots. Along the way we talk about Mills and Boons novels, the connection between sexual stimulation and the brain, and other, no doubt controversial, topics.

You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher (the RSS feed is here).

Show Notes

  • 0:00 - Introduction
  • 1:42 - Evolutionary Psychology and the Investment Theory of Sex
  • 5:54 - What's the evidence for the investment theory in humans?
  • 8:40 - Does the evidence for the theory hold up?
  • 11:45 - Studies on the willingness to engage in casual sex: do men and women really differ?
  • 18:33 - The ecological validity of these studies
  • 20:20 - Evolutionary psychology and the replication crisis
  • 23:29 - Are there better alternative explanations for sex differences?
  • 26:25 - Ethical criticisms of evolutionary psychology
  • 28:14 - Sex robots and evolutionary psychology
  • 29:33 - Argument 1: The rising costs of courtship will drive men into the arms of sexbots
  • 34:12 - Not all men...
  • 39:08 - Couldn't something similar be true for women?
  • 46:00 - Aren't the costs of courtship much higher for women?
  • 48:27 - Argument 2: Sex robots could be used as treatment for dangerous men
  • 51:50 - Would this stigmatise other sexbot users?
  • 53:31 - Would this embolden rather than satiate?
  • 55:53 - Could the logic of this argument be flipped, e.g. the Futurama argument?
  • 58:05 - Isn't this an ethically sub-optimal solution to the problem?
  • 1:00:42 - Argument 3: This will also impact on women's sexual behaviour
  • 1:07:01 - Do ethical objectors to sex robots underestimate the constraints of our evolved psychology?

Relevant Links

  • 'Uncanny Vulvas' in Jacobite Magazine - this is the basis for much of our discussion in the podcast


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