New attempts in psychological science at integrating developmental (individual-level) and evolutionary (population-level) accounts of phenotypic stability and variability have achieved increasing prominence of late. Foremost among such attempts is the field of evolutionary developmental psychology (EDP). EDP proposes that selective pressures in evolution inform psychological development through a synthesis of the Darwinian/neo-Darwinian selectionist perspective embraced by evolutionary psychology and the developmental dynamics perspective endorsed by developmental systems theory. We examine the theoretical assumptions behind selectionist and developmental perspectives and argue that both perspectives are ontologically incompatible. We provide an alternative framework for integrating developmental and evolutionary explanations that transcend this ontological division of selectional and developmental perspectives. This framework promotes a pluralistic approach that moves beyond traditional antecedent/consequent, mechanistic views of causality and embraces both functional (part-to-whole) and structural (whole-to-part) modes of explanation as distinct, equally legitimate, and simultaneously applicable perspectives in understanding phenotypic stability and variability over time.

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