Methodological problems in evolutionary biology. XIII. Evolution and knowledge

Acta Biotheoretica 48 (1):73-84 (2000)
Evolutionary epistemologists aim to explain the evolution of cognitive capacities underlying human knowledge and also the processes that generate knowledge, for example in science. There can be no doubt that our cognitive capacities are due in part to our evolutionary heritage. But this is an uninformative thesis. All features of organism have indeed been shaped by evolution. A substantive evolutionary explanation of cognition would have to provide details about the evolutionary processes involved. Evolutionary epistemology has not provided any details. Considering progress of theorizing in science, evolutionary epistemologists have proposed many different analogies between natural selection and selection in science. As yet, the analogies have not been fruitful. The entire program of evolutionary epistemology is programmatic. Evolutionary epistemologists have also moved beyond explanation to justification, the primary issue in traditional epistemology. It turns out that their program presupposes that we can justify knowledge claims in traditional ways. Evolutionary biology is not a proper tool for the justification of beliefs.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Biology   Evolutionary Biology
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1002699502841
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