Contents 1 Cognition in biological evolution 2 Growth of knowledge 3 Process of discovering new abstract entities 4 See also 5 References 6 Sources 7 External links

Cognition in biological evolution[edit] "Evolutionary epistemology" can refer to a branch of epistemology that applies the concepts of biological evolution to the growth of animal and human cognition. It argues that the mind is in part genetically determined and that its structure and function reflect adaptation, a nonteleological process of interaction between the organism and its environment. A cognitive trait tending to increase inclusive fitness in a given population should therefore grow more common over time, and a trait tending to prevent its carriers from passing on their genes should show up less and less frequently.

Growth of knowledge[edit] "Evolutionary epistemology" can also refer to a theory that applies the concepts of biological evolution to the growth of human knowledge, and argues that units of knowledge themselves, particularly scientific theories, evolve according to selection. In this case, a theory—like the germ theory of disease—becomes more or less credible according to changes in the body of knowledge surrounding it. One of the hallmarks of evolutionary epistemology is the notion that empirical testing alone does not justify the pragmatic value of scientific theories, but rather that social and methodological processes select those theories with the closest "fit" to a given problem. The mere fact that a theory has survived the most rigorous empirical tests available does not, in the calculus of probability, predict its ability to survive future testing. Karl Popper used Newtonian physics as an example of a body of theories so thoroughly confirmed by testing as to be considered unassailable, but which were nevertheless overturned by Einstein's insights into the nature of space-time. For the evolutionary epistemologist, all theories are true only provisionally, regardless of the degree of empirical testing they have survived.[1]

Process of discovering new abstract entities[edit] "Evolutionary epistemology" can also refer to the opposite of (onto)genetic epistemology, namely phylogenetic epistemology as the historical discovery and reification of abstractions that necessarily precedes the learning of such abstractions by individuals. Piaget dismissed this possibility, stating "The fundamental hypothesis of genetic epistemology is that there is a parallelism between the progress made in the logical and rational organization of knowledge and the corresponding formative psychological processes. Well, now, if that is our hypothesis, what will be our field of study? Of course the most fruitful, most obvious field of study would be reconstituting human history: the history of human thinking in prehistoric man. Unfortunately, we are not very well informed about the psychology of Neanderthal man or about the psychology of Homo siniensis of Teilhard de Chardin. Since this field of biogenesis is not available to us, we shall do as biologists do and turn to ontogenesis. Nothing could be more accessible to study than the ontogenesis of these notions. There are children all around us." [2] Piaget was mistaken in so quickly dismissing the study of phylogenetic epistemology, as there is much historical data available about the origins and evolution of the various notational systems that reify different kinds of abstract entity. Popper is considered by many to have given evolutionary epistemology its first comprehensive treatment, though Donald T. Campbell coined the phrase in 1974[3] and Piaget alluded to it in 1974[4] and described the concept as one of five possible theories in The Origins of Intelligence in Children (1936).[5]

See also[edit] Genetic epistemology Memetics Evolutionary psychology Gerhard Vollmer Konrad Lorenz, Behind the Mirror: A Search for a Natural History of Human Knowledge Donald T. Campbell Multiple discovery Universal Darwinism Peter Carruthers

References[edit] ^ Popper, 1972.[page needed] ^ Piaget, 1974.[page needed] ^ Schilpp, 1974. pp. 412–463 ^ Piaget, 1974, p. 13 ^ See p. 14ff

Sources[edit] Harms, William F., Information and Meaning in Evolutionary Processes (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology) , 2004 Kress, O. A new approach to cognitive development: ontogenesis and the process of initiation. Evolution and Cognition (1993) Vol 2(4): 319-332. Piaget, J. Genetic Epistemology. 1974 Popper, Karl R. Objective Knowledge, An Evolutionary Approach. Oxford University Press, 1972. Riedl, R. Biology of Knowledge: The Evolutionary Basis of Reason, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1984. Schilpp, P. A., ed. The Philosophy of Karl R. Popper. LaSalle, IL. Open Court. 1974. See Campbell's essay, "Evolutionary Epistemology" on pp.412–463. Toulmin, Stephen Human Understanding: Volume 1: The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts, 1972.

External links[edit] Bradie, Michael; Harms, William (2008-01-04). "Evolutionary Epistemology". In Zalta, Edward N. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Evolutionary epistemology at PhilPapers Evolutionary epistemology at the Indiana Philosophy Ontology Project Gontier, N. "Evolutionary epistemology". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Links on Evolutionary Theory and Memetics from Principia Cybernetica Web Selection Theory Bibliography by Gary A. Cziko and Donald T. Campbell v t e Epistemology Epistemologists Thomas Aquinas Augustine of Hippo William Alston Robert Audi A. J. Ayer George Berkeley Laurence BonJour René Descartes John Dewey Fred Dretske Edmund Gettier Roger Gibson Alvin Goldman Nelson Goodman Paul Grice David Hume Immanuel Kant Søren Kierkegaard Saul Kripke David Lewis John Locke G. E. Moore Robert Nozick Alvin Plantinga Plato Hilary Putnam Thomas Reid Gilbert Ryle P. F. Strawson Willard Van Orman Quine Bertrand Russell Baruch Spinoza Timothy Williamson Ludwig Wittgenstein Nicholas Wolterstorff Vienna Circle Theories Coherentism Constructivist epistemology Contextualism Determinism Empiricism Evolutionary epistemology Fallibilism Feminist epistemology Fideism Foundationalism Genetic epistemology Holism Infinitism Innatism Internalism and externalism Naïve realism Naturalized epistemology Phenomenalism Positivism Reductionism Reliabilism Representative realism Rationalism Skepticism Theory of forms Transcendental idealism Uniformitarianism Concepts A priori knowledge Analysis Analytic–synthetic distinction Belief Causality Common sense Descriptive knowledge Exploratory thought Gettier problem Justification Knowledge Induction Objectivity Problem of induction Problem of other minds Perception Proposition Regress argument Simplicity Speculative reason Truth more... Related articles Outline of epistemology Alethiology Faith and rationality Formal epistemology Meta-epistemology Philosophy of perception Philosophy of science Social epistemology Portal Category Task Force Stubs Discussion v t e Philosophy of biology Themes Empiricism Naturalism Pragmatism Reductionism Holism Evolution Adaptationism Alternatives to Darwinism Catastrophism Lamarckism Orthogenesis Mutationism Structuralism Spandrel Theistic Vitalism Darwinism Evolutionary epistemology Teleology Tree of life Philosophers of biology John Beatty Lindley Darden Daniel Dennett John Dupré Carla Fehr Marjorie Grene Peter Godfrey-Smith James R. Griesemer Paul E. Griffiths David Hull Hans Jonas Philip Stuart Kitcher Tim Lewens Helen Longino Jane Maienschein Roberta Millstein Sandra Mitchell Susan Oyama Alex Rosenberg Michael Ruse Sahotra Sarkar Elliott Sober Kim Sterelny Alfred I. Tauber Gerard Verschuuren William C. Wimsatt Biologists Francisco J. Ayala Patrick Bateson Charles Darwin Richard Dawkins Jared Diamond Michael Ghiselin François Jacob Stephen Jay Gould Richard Lewontin Konrad Lorenz Humberto Maturana Ernst Mayr Jacques Monod Denis Noble Joan Roughgarden Rolf Sattler John Maynard Smith Edward O. Wilson Jonas Salk Related Philosophy of mind History of biology Authority control GND: 4135408-4 Retrieved from "" Categories: Epistemological theoriesEvolutionInternalism and externalismHidden categories: Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from December 2016Articles needing additional references from December 2016All articles needing additional referencesWikipedia articles with GND identifiers

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