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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10838-019-09494-2
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,229
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Cognitive Niche Construction and Extragenetic Information: A Sense of Purposefulness in Evolution.Lorenzo Magnani - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (2):263-276.
Human Nature and Cognitive–Developmental Niche Construction.Karola Stotz - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):483-501.
Three Kinds of Niche Construction.Bendik Hellem Aaby & Grant Ramsey - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:000-000.
Minds: Extended or Scaffolded? [REVIEW]Kim Sterelny - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):465-481.
Niche Construction and Cognitive Evolution.Benjamin Kerr - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (3):250-262.
Physical Complexity and Cognitive Evolution.Peter Jedlicka - 2007 - In Carlos Gershenson, Diederik Aerts & Bruce Edmonds (eds.), Worldviews, Science, and Us: Philosophy and Complexity. World Scientific. pp. 221--231.


Added to PP index

Total views
2 ( #1,416,911 of 2,455,415 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,205 of 2,455,415 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes