Philosophical Darwinism  

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"The next and decisive step forward was taken by two almost casual remarks Darwin jotted down in his notebooks. ‘Plato says in Phaedo that our “imaginary ideas” arise from the preexistence of the soul, are not derivable from experience. Read monkeys for preexistence.’8 On another occasion he remarked that ‘he who understands baboon would do more toward metaphysics than Locke’.9 One notes that with these two statements, Darwin wiped out the two main opposing strands in the whole of western philosophy—the idealist as well as the empiricist tradition."--Philosophical Darwinism (1993) by Peter Munz, p.142, citing Darwin on Man


"Though it has been alleged that Wittgenstein did little more than rediscover Durkheim, there is a great deal of difference between thinking with Wittgenstein that we are following rules and thinking with Durkheim that we are constrained by rules of which we are not the intentional authors."--Philosophical Darwinism (1993) by Peter Munz referring to Ernest Gellner, Cause and Meaning in the Social Sciences


"We come, thus, to a seemingly strange conclusion. Consciousness as such, being inchoate and inarticulable as it emerges, has been selected for not because it leads to correct judgements and acts as a guide to emotions and produces goal-directed behaviour, let alone intelligent behaviour. It has been selected and retained because it acts as the generator of three-dimensional language or helps to transform two-dimensional language into threedimensional language." p.26


"The statement that every organism is an embodied theory about its environment must be taken literally." ... "Organisms are theories. Since the theories are not expressed in words but in anatomical structure and programmed reflexes, we say that the theory is embodied."--Philosophical Darwinism (1993) by Peter Munz, p.154 and --p.155


"In the middle of the 20th century, when it was realised that Bacon's New Atlantis had turned out to be Max Weber's Iron Cage, inhabited by Riesman's Lonely Crowd, and that the view that scientific theories have a partial observational interpretation by means of correspondence rules should never have become the Received View, philosophers started to move away from the long tradition of modernism ,which had stretched from Bacon and Locke to the early Wittgenstein and to Carnap. Disillusioned with modernism, they turned a blind eye to the implications of biology and veered instead towards the post-modern relativism of Kuhn, the post-modern post-structuralism of Foucault, Derrida and Lyotard or to the post-modern pragmatism of Rorty and are showing unending and increasing interest in the obfuscations of Heidegger."--Philosophical Darwinism (1993) by Peter Munz


"The Darwinian theory has no more to do with philosophy than has any other hypothesis of natural science."--Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) by Ludwig Wittgenstein


"A swallow is a theory about air; a fish is a theory about water. But if a swallow is thrown into water, it will, as an embodied theory, very quickly be falsified by the fish’s Umwelt So the swallow is, as a theory, not compatible with the fish as a theory, because the swallow-theory applies to a different Umwelt from the fish-theory. But the swallow Umwelt is compatible with the fish Umwelt, because both niches are part of the same universe." --Philosophical Darwinism (1993) by Peter Munz, p.154 and --p.160

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Philosophical Darwinism: On the Origin of Knowledge by Means of Natural Selection (1993) is a book by Peter Munz.

Table of contents

Preface vii Acknowledgements ix INTRODUCTION: COGNITIVE CONDITIONS 1 1 MAN’S GLASSY ESSENCE 28 2 THE DUBIOUS CREDENTIALS OF POSITIVISM 81 3 THE LURE OF SOCIOLOGY 103 4 THE NATURE OF THE MIRROR 137 5 THE VIEW FROM SOMEWHERE 185 Notes 230 Index 246

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"Philosophers have not taken the evolution of human beings seriously enough. If they did, argues Peter Munz, many long-standing philosophical problems would be resolved. One of the philosophical consequences of biology is that all the knowledge produced in evolution is a priori established hypothetically by chance mutation and selective retention rather than by observation and intelligent induction. For organisms as embodied theories, selection is natural. For theories as disembodied organisms, it is artificial. Following Karl Popper, the growth of knowledge is seen to be continuous from "the amoeba to Einstein." Philosophical Darwinism brings perspective to contemporary debates. It has far-reaching implications for cognitive science and artificial intelligence, and questions attempts from the field of biology to reduce mental events to neural processes. Most importantly, it provides a rational postmodern alternative to what the author views as the unreasonable postmodern theories of Kuhn, Lyotard, and Rorty.""

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