The structure and significance of evolutionary explanations in philosophy

In H. Carel & D. Gamez (eds.), What Philosophy is. Ccontinuum (2004)
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The so-called evolutionary approach is getting more and more popular in various branches of philosophy. Evolutionary explanations are often used in virtually every classical philosophical discipline. The structure of evolutionary explanations is examined and it is pointed out that only one sub-category of evolutionary explanations, namely, nonreductive, non-stipulated adaptation-explanation can be of any philosophical significance. I finish by examining which of the proposed philosophical arguments use this kind of evolutionary explanation. The answer will be disappointing for those who would like to think of philosophy as a branch of evolutionary biology.



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Bence Nanay
University of Antwerp

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