Evolutionary Epistemology and the Concept of Ignorance

Dissertation, University of Waterloo (Canada) (1998)
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Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to consider what evolutionary epistemology can tell us about the concept of ignorance. The procedure for this consideration involves an examination of six central issues in evolutionary epistemology: Establishing a solid account of evolutionary theory. Identifying and examining the distinctions between the two main schools of thought in evolutionary epistemology: the EET Program and the EEM Program . Identifying and examining the distinctions between `blind' and goal-directed variation in biology and science. Consider how culture has transcended biology i.e. how has biology produced a single species which has generated a mode of evolution which does not operate through natural selection but yet contributes to the survival of this species? Consider the relationship between evolutionary epistemology and the problem of realism. Consider how evolutionary epistemology responds to skepticism and how skepticism applies to evolutionary epistemology. ;In Chapter One I address the first central issue, above, and argue for a neo-Darwinian or New Synthetic theory of evolution. In Chapter Two, I examine the works most representative of the central issues in evolutionary epistemology i.e. Karl Popper, Donald T. Campbell, Michael Bradie, Fran Wuketits, etc. In Chapter Three, I examine each of the five remaining central issues of evolutionary epistemology in order to determine what they can tell us about the concept of ignorance. In Chapter Four, I formalize the concept of ignorance in evolutionary epistemology by further defining and examining the implications of the neo-Darwinian model of knowledge. And finally, in Chapter Five, I synthesize the formal components of the concept of ignorance with the main issues in evolutionary epistemology. ;Examining the concept of ignorance in reference to these six issues of evolutionary epistemology satisfies two tasks: It establishes a clear understanding of what evolutionary epistemology can tell us about the concept of ignorance. This understanding clarifies aspects concerning the six central issues of evolutionary epistemology. In this way, the procedure or methodology of this dissertation is symbiotic

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Critical notice.Christopher di Carlo - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (1):117-130.

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