Evolutionary Dynamics and Accurate Perception. Critical Realism as an Empirically Testable Hypothesis

Philosophia Scientiae 25:157-178 (2021)
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Abstract

Mathematical models can be profitably used to establish whether our perception of the external world is accurate. Donald Hoffman and his collaborators have developed a promising mathematical framework within which this question can be addressed and which is based on an exhaustive taxonomy of the different possible relations between perceptual representations and the external world. After reformulating their framework by means of an improved formal system, we discuss their application of evolutionary game theory, which appears to show that an essentially anti-realistic perceptual strategy would in the long run biologically outcompete its rivals. We argue that their model does not take the crucial biological significance of environmental changes into due consideration and propose alternative models which do. We conclude that a partially realistic representation would be favoured in our models.

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