From a Biological Point of View. Essays in Evolutionary Philosophy

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Elliott Sober is one of the leading philosophers of science and is a former winner of the Lakatos Prize, the major award in the field. This new collection of essays will appeal to a readership that extends well beyond the frontiers of the philosophy of science. Sober shows how ideas in evolutionary biology bear in significant ways on traditional problems in philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, and metaphysics. Amongst the topics addressed are psychological egoism, solipsism, and the interpretation of belief and utterance, empiricism, Ockham's razor, causality, essentialism, and scientific laws. The collection will prove invaluable to a wide range of philosophers, primarily those working in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind, and epistemology. – Contents : Introduction; – 1. Did evolution make us psychological egoists?; – 2. Why not solipsism?; – 3. The adaptive advantage of learning and a priori prejudice; – 4. The primacy of truth-telling and the evolution of lying; – 5. Prospects for an evolutionary ethics; – 6. Contrastive empiricism; – 7. Let's razor Ockham's razor; – 8. The principle of the common cause; – 9. Explanatory presupposition; – 10. Apportioning casual responsibility; – 11. Evolution, population thinking, and essentialism; – 12. Temporally oriented laws. – Index.