The shape of a good question: McDowell, evolution, and transcendental philosophy

Philosophical Forum 42 (1):61-78 (2011)
Abstract
I examine John McDowell's attitude towards naturalism in general, and evolutionary theory in particular, by distinguishing between "transcendental descriptions" and "empirical explanations". With this distinction in view we can understand why McDowell holds that there is both continuity and discontinuity between humans qua rational animals and other animals -- there is continuity with regards to empirical explanations and discontinuity with regards to transcendental descriptions. The result of this examination is a clearer assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of McDowell's contribution to philosophical naturalism.
Keywords McDowell  transcendental philosophy  naturalism  rational animal  Dewey  evolution
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9191.2011.00378.x
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