Darwinian humility : epistemological applications of evolutionary science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.
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I use evolutionary science - its tenets and theory, as well as the evidence for it - to investigate the extent and nature of human knowledge by exploring the relation between human cognition, epistemic luck, and biological and cultural fitness. In "The Epistemic Upshot of Adaptationist Explanation," I argue that knowledge of the evolution by natural selection of human cognition might either defeat, bolster, or preclude the epistemic justification of our current beliefs. In "The Evolutionary Challenge and the Evolutionary Debunking of Morality," I argue that we lack the evidence to know whether human moral knowledge evolved or exists. In "Human Morality: Lie or Heirloom?," I argue that, contrary to the popular conception of their descent, human moral belief systems might ultimately be the result of ancient parental deception. The project unfolds against the backdrop of Darwinian naturalism, that all living beings on Earth are related by descent with modification and that natural selection has been the main (but not exclusive) means of modification. The central lesson is that human knowledge attribution is more epistemically demanding than previously thought because to self-ascribe knowledge with justification we must justify the assumption that certain unconfirmed evolutionary hypotheses are correct. The ultimate hope is to give epistemology a Darwinian update and, in consequence, human knowledge its proper place in nature.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, 2017."September 2017." Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistics and Philosophy.