David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):791-814 (2005)
This article starts from the assumption that there are various innate contributions to our view of the world and explores the epistemological implications that follow from this. Specifically, it explores the idea that if certain components of our worldview have an evolutionary origin, this implies that these aspects accurately depict the world. The simple version of the argument for this conclusion is that if an aspect of mind is innate, it must be useful, and the most parsimonious explanation for its usefulness is that it accurately depicts the world. There are a number of important criticisms of this argument. These include the idea that evolutionary justifications are circular, that evolved mental content and principles are not necessarily accurate, and that, if the argument is taken seriously, it has some highly dubious consequences. These criticisms necessitate various qualifications to the initial argument. Nonetheless, it is argued that, in some cases, important conclusions can be drawn about the world from an analysis of evolved contributions to our view of the world. An evolutionary approach cannot provide an ultimate justification for any belief; however, in certain circumstances, it supports the conclusion that a given belief is a reasonable first approximation. To the extent that innate content and principles pertain to topics in metaphysics, they can be viewed as a naturalistic source of metaphysical knowledge.
|Keywords||Evolutionary epistemology Evolutionary psychology Innate ideas Justification Metaphysics Naturalism Rationalism|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt (2013). Reformed and Evolutionary Epistemology and the Noetic Effects of Sin. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (1):49-66.
Helen de Cruz & Johan de Smedt (2012). Evolved Cognitive Biases and the Epistemic Status of Scientific Beliefs. Philosophical Studies 157 (3):411-429.
Helen de Cruz, Maarten Boudry, Johan de Smedt & Stefaan Blancke (2011). Evolutionary Approaches to Epistemic Justification. Dialectica 65 (4):517-535.
Philip Richard Sullivan (2009). Objects Limit Human Comprehension. Biology and Philosophy 24 (1):65-79.
Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt (2012). Evolved Cognitive Biases and the Epistemic Status of Scientific Beliefs. Philosophical Studies 157 (3):411 - 429.
Similar books and articles
Samuel C. Rickless (2007). Locke's Polemic Against Nativism. In Lex Newman (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding". Cambridge University Press.
Shaun Nichols (2005). Innateness and Moral Psychology. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. 353--369.
Jason Turner (2009). The Incompatibility of Free Will and Naturalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):565-587.
Helen De Cruz (2007). An Enhanced Argument for Innate Elementary Geometric Knowledge and its Philosophical Implications. In Bart Van Kerkhove (ed.), New perspectives on mathematical practices. Essays in philosophy and history of mathematics. World Scientific.
Angeline Lillard (1998). The Source of Universal Concepts: A View From Folk Psychology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):580-580.
Noam A. Chomsky (1967). Recent Contributions to the Theory of Innate Ideas. Synthese 17 (March):2-11.
Stephen P. Stich (ed.) (1975). Innate Ideas. University of California Press.
John Tooby, Leda Cosmides & H. Clark Barrett (2005). Resolving the Debate on Innate Ideas: Learnability Constraints and the Evolved Interpenetration of Motivational and Conceptual Functions. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. 305--337.
Paul M. Pietroski & Stephen Crain (2005). Innate Ideas. In James A. McGilvray (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky. Cambridge. 164--181.
Stephen J. Boulter (2007). The “Evolutionary Argument” and the Metaphilosophy of Commonsense. Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):369-382.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads33 ( #62,385 of 1,681,636 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #183,751 of 1,681,636 )
How can I increase my downloads?