Can Darwinian Inheritance Be Extended from Biology to Epistemology?


Abstract
An attempt is made to answer this question by first analyzing the structure of Darwinian inheritance as it is exemplified in the current biological theory of evolution. Based on this analysis a generalized framework for Darwinian inheritance containing conditions which must be met by all proper Darwinian evolutionary theories is developed. Subsequently this framework is employed to assess, in part, the adequacy of Toulmin's evolutionary epistemology. Although Toulmin asserts that Darwinian inheritance operates in conceptual development, the framework is used to show that the structure of concepts which he presents is unable to support the requirements for this kind of inheritance. It is concluded that Toulmin's evolutionary theory is not truly Darwinian.
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