Cognition & Evolution
A Reply to Nagel's Charges on the Evolutionary Explanation of Cognition
In this paper, I examine one of Nagel’s arguments against evolutionary theory, that the evolutionary conception of nature is incompatible with our understanding of cognition. I reconstruct Nagel’s two charges that the evolutionary conception of nature is at odds with our ability to acquire objective knowledge of the external world and that evolutionary theory is insufficient to explain logic’s absolute reliability. I reply to the first charge by suggesting that we should understand our ability to logically reason as a by-product instead of a direct product of the evolutionary processes. Then I reply to the second charge by denying that logic’s reliability is an appropriate subject of inquiry the evolutionary theory.
Stance requires right of first publication. All other rights reside with the author. Authors are free to reuse their own articles in other publications they write or edit, and no further permission is required. The journal only requires acknowledgement of the original publication in Stance.
All articles are licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No-Derivatives 4.0 International license.