Where guesses come from: Evolutionary epistemology and the anomaly of guided variation

Biology and Philosophy 4 (1):33-56 (1989)
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Abstract

This paper considers a central objection to evolutionary epistemology. The objection is that biological and epistemic development are not analogous, since while biological variation is blind, epistemic variation is not. The generation of hypotheses, unlike the generation of genotypes, is not random. We argue that this objection is misguided and show how the central analogy of evolutionary epistemology can be preserved. The core of our reply is that much epistemic variation is indeed directed by heuristics, but these heuristics are analogous to biological preadaptations which account for the evolution of complex organs. We also argue that many of these heuristics or epistemic preadaptations are not innate but were themselves generatedby a process of blind variation and selective retention.

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References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Otto Neurath.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin, and Use.Noam Chomsky - 1986 - Prager. Edited by Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel.

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