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My book Abductive Cognition. The Epistemological and Eco-Cognitive Dimensions of Hypothetical Reasoning basically refers to all kinds of human hypothetical cognition, also of creative kind. During the research related to the preparation of that book I soon had the opportunity to examine the studies regarding the human process of continuous delegation and distribution of cognitive functions to the environment to lessen cognitive limitations, also and especially in the case of what has been called ‘manipulative abduction’. These design activities are closely related to the process of cognitive niche construction, which I will specifically address in this article. Niche construction should be regarded as a second major participant, after natural selection, in evolution. Indeed, by altering their environment and partly controlling some of the energy and matter fluxes in their ecosystems, organisms are capable of changing some of the natural selective pressures in their local environments. The question I plan to answer is the following: we need to hypothesize a fundamental role of non-genetic information in the evolution, but what kind of evolution could we obtain in this case? I will illustrate that in building various mediating structures, humans transform the environment and create cognitive niches. Thus, humans and other non-human animals become ecological engineers and chance seekers, involved in the processing, the alteration, and even the creation of external structures to reduce or suppress their cognitive limitations. Hence, this article will address a detailed analysis of the role of extragenetic information in evolution and what this process of selection selects for purposeful organisms, so niche-constructing ones.
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DOI 10.1007/s10838-019-09494-2
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Evolutionary Epistemology: Two Research Avenues, Three Schools, and A Single and Shared Agenda.Nathalie Gontier & Michael Bradie - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (2):197-209.

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