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Peculiarities in Mind; Or, on the Absence of Darwin

De Villiers-Botha, Tanya (2011) Peculiarities in Mind; Or, on the Absence of Darwin. [Published Article or Volume]

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A key failing in contemporary philosophy of mind is the lack of attention
paid to evolutionary theory in its research projects. Notably, where evolution
is incorporated into the study of mind, the work being done is often described
as philosophy of cognitive science rather than philosophy of mind. Even
then, whereas possible implications of the evolution of human cognition are
taken more seriously within the cognitive sciences and the philosophy of
cognitive science, its relevance for cognitive science has only been appreciated
relatively recently, and the approach still comes in for some major criticism
from prominent theorists within the field. This paper explores some of
the reasons for this state of affairs and finds that it might have less to do with
due consideration and well-founded scepticism about the relevance of evolutionary
theory to these disciplines and more to do with historical accident and
faulty assumptions on the part of key theorists in these disciplines. It is also
noted that where cognitive scientists are taking evolution into account in
their work on the mind, they straying more and more into domains that used
to fall exclusively under the purview of philosophy of mind as it is traditionally
conceived – qualia, consciousness, perception, intentionality and so
forth. The point is made that in ignoring the work being done on the evolution
of mind, philosophy of mind runs the risk of becoming obsolete.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
De Villiers-Botha,
Keywords: Evolution, mind, cognitive science, philosophy of mind, Darwin
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Tanya de Villiers-Botha
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2011 14:28
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2011 14:28
Item ID: 8801
Journal or Publication Title: South African Journal of Philosophy
Publisher: The Philosophical Society of Southern Africa
Official URL:

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