International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (1):65-77 (2014)
AbstractTrue beliefs are better guides to the world than false ones. This is the common-sense assumption that undergirds theorizing in evolutionary epistemology. According to Alvin Plantinga, however, evolution by natural selection does not care about truth: it cares only about fitness. If our cognitive faculties are the products of blind evolution, we have no reason to trust them, anytime or anywhere. Evolutionary naturalism, consequently, is a self-defeating position. Following up on earlier objections, we uncover three additional flaws in Plantinga's latest formulation of his argument: a failure to appreciate adaptive path dependency, an incoherent conception of content ascription, and a conflation of common-sense and scientific beliefs, which we diagnose as the ‘foundationalist fallacy’. More fundamentally, Plantinga's reductive formalism with respect to the issue of cognitive reliability is inadequate to deal with relevant empirical details.
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