David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 8 (2):153-172 (1993)
In 1941/42 Konrad Lorenz suggested that Kant's transcendental categories ofa priori knowledge could be given an empirical interpretation in Darwinian material evolutionary terms: a priori propositional knowledge was an organ subject to natural selection for adaptation to its specific environments. D. Campbell extended the conception, and termed evolution a process of knowledge. The philosophical problem of what knowledge is became a descriptive one of how knowledge developed, the normative semantic questions have been sidestepped, as if the descriptive insights would automatically resolve them. This came at a time when the traditional concept of knowledge as universally true, justified beliefs had been challenged by subjectivist, intercommunicative coherence frameworks. Much of the literature on evolutionary epistemology claimed that knowledge in general, and science as its epitome in particular, evolved along lines analogous to organic biological evolution. I refer here only to the view of knowledge as an extension of material biological evolution. These theories of evolutionary epistemology, contrary to the relativist notions of naturalized epistemology, adopted strict realist positions.Although there is no contention with the claim that biological evolution provided the raw material and the constraints for human knowledge, cognition is not knowledge and knowledge is not constrained by it beyond some trivial truisms. The view that sees evolution as a knowledge/cognition process is coercing a loosely defined term into the status of a phenotypic trait on which selection could act. This disregards the intricate many-to-many relationship between correlates of knowledge and biological capacities. But even if we grant the correlates of knowledge the status of selectable traits, the heritability of alternative phenotypes would be low and unpredictable due to the high, open-ended environmental malleability of such complex characters in the course of development. Such concepts are therefore biologically inconsequential.
|Keywords||Lorenz evolutionary epistemology naturalism|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Michael Bradie (1986). Assessing Evolutionary Epistemology. Biology and Philosophy 1 (4):401-459.
Milič Čapek (1968). Ernst Mach's Biological Theory of Knowledge. Synthese 18 (2-3):171 - 191.
Donald Davidson (1990). The Structure and Content of Truth. Journal of Philosophy 87 (6):279-328.
Fred I. Dretske (1971). Perception From an Epistemological Point of View. Journal of Philosophy 68 (19):584-591.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Barry Allen (2003). Knowledge and Civilization. Westview Press.
Pablo Sebastían García (2003). Knowledge in Economics: An Evolutionary Viewpoint. Theoria 18 (3):289-296.
Terry Horgan & Uriah Kriegel (2007). Phenomenal Epistemology: What is Consciousness That We May Know It so Well? Philosophical Issues 17 (1):123-144.
Wayne D. Christensen & Clifford A. Hooker (1999). The Organization of Knowledge: Beyond Campbell's Evolutionary Epistemology. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):249.
Richard M. Burian (2005). The Epistemology of Development, Evolution, and Genetics: Selected Essays. Cambridge University Press.
David Sloan Wilson (1990). Species of Thought: A Comment on Evolutionary Epistemology. Biology and Philosophy 5 (1):37-62.
Paul Thagard (1980). Against Evolutionary Epistemology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:187 - 196.
Thomas Kesselring (1994). A Comparison Between Evolutionary and Genetic Epistemology Or: Jean Piaget's Contribution to a Post-Darwinian Epistemology. [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 25 (2):293 - 325.
Franz M. Wuketits (1986). Evolution as a Cognition Process: Towards an Evolutionary Epistemology. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 1 (2):191-206.
Wim J. van der Steen (2000). Methodological Problems in Evolutionary Biology. XIII. Evolution and Knowledge. Acta Biotheoretica 48 (1):73-84.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads31 ( #82,361 of 1,696,807 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #187,594 of 1,696,807 )
How can I increase my downloads?