Science and Human Nature

There is a puzzling tension in contemporary scientific attitudes towards human nature. On the one hand, evolutionary biologists correctly maintain that the traditional essentialist conception of human nature is untenable; and moreover that this is obviously so in the light of quite general and exceedingly well-known evolutionary considerations. On the other hand, talk of human nature abounds in certain regions of the sciences, especially in linguistics, psychology and cognitive science. In this paper I articulate a conception of human nature that a) captures how cognitive and behavioral scientists tend to deploy the notion whilst, b) evading standard evol-utionary objections, and c) allowing human nature – and theories thereof – to fulfill many of their traditional theoretical roles.
Keywords Human nature  biological essentialism  natural kinds  Hume
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DOI 10.1017/S1358246112000021
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Cecilia Heyes (2016). Tim Lewens Cultural Evolution. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):1189-1193.

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