Talk:Evolutionary epistemology

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Not bad to begin with but I think some editing needs to be done, take the first paragraph:

Evolutionary epistemology is a theory, in metaphysics, applying the concepts of biological evolution to the growth of human knowledge and, in particular, scientific theories. It argues that human knowledge advances by trial and error, in which various competing conjectures are put to the test (ultimately by the real world, but also by empirical testing). As such, it bears remarkable similarities to the process of evolution by natural selection.

1. Get rid of the phrase "is a theory, in metaphysics" It is not a metaphysical theory. 2. Revise the phrase "are put to the test (ultimately by the real world, but also by empirical testing)" with something like "are subject to criticism"


questions for possible expansion[edit]

  • What resources can people look for that approach ideas in an evolutionary epistemological approach?
  • How does this approach contrast to other historical methods?
  • What is the research process particular to an ev-ep approach?
  • In what format does an ev-ep treatment of a topic led itself to?

--albamuth 09:08, 12 October 2005 (UTC)


This is fairly confusing... the first paragraph is about invoking biological evolution as an explanation for human behavior, whereas the second is about invoking processes analolgous to biological evolution to describe the progress of science. These are two completely different things... are both concepts referred to in different circles as "evolutionary epistemology," or was the author of one of the paragraphs confused...? 68.35.68.100 05:27, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

A confusion of two distinct ideas?[edit]

It is probably proper to isolate two distinct ideas that are both sometimes referred to as 'evolutionary epistemology' - but I don't have time to edit the page myself atm.

  • A subfield of naturalized epistemology: it uses evolutionary ideas to explain how and why we know stuff - broadly speaking.
  • A theory in epistemology / philosophy of science that shows how our ideas evolve over time, sometimes eerily comparable to biological evolution (an analogy, cf. Toulmin and others) or even by an algorithm that is identical to how natural selection works (cf. memetics).

Stdbrouw 20:42, 27 December 2006 (UTC)


What has Brian Skyrms done?[edit]

I have deleted the following sentence from the text: "Brian Skyrms is a notable academic in the field." It is good to mention an author but support should be given for its inclusion, that remains, however, totally unjustified at the end of section "A branch of naturalized epistemology".--Barandiaran (talk) 17:26, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Article about two topics?[edit]

An article about two different topics without common meaning, indicate that it should not exist. It is then probably a randomly constructed noun phrase that isn't a term — unless there are sources for definitions of such terms. The section A theory about cognition in biological evolution should go into Naturalized epistemology and the statements about A theory about the growth of knowledge should go into its own article. The article on Evolutionary epistemology should either be a disambiguation or be deleted, depending on the occurrence of the random noun phrase. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 08:19, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Templated thusly. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 08:31, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
I am removing the split tag since no one has replied. If you wish to be bold and make the split, I will not object. Op47 (talk) 16:35, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
The article is indeed about two topics, but I think the question to be asked is if the name "Evolutionary epistemology" may be applied to both, to only one or to none. I propose to make a little searching on this before any action. To begin with, I do not see any connection between the description made in A theory about cognition in biological evolution and the article Naturalized epistemology.--Auró (talk) 17:25, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
According to the article on Donald T. Campbell, the term evolutionary epistemology was coined by him. From the description in that article, I conclude that the term can be applied to the description under the heading A theory about the growth of knowledge, though I think the content is in need of some improvement.
I find a difficulty with A theory about cognition in biological evolution. For me there is distinction between knowledge and cognition, and ‘‘epistemology’’ is applicable to knowledge, but not to cognition. I nevertheless am not completely sure about this, and would like to hear other opinions.--Auró (talk) 18:16, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

I tink that what is described under A theory about cognition in biological evolution in fact belongs to the field of Evolutionary psychology, and I would proceed to suppress it from the present article.--Auró (talk) 22:21, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

I have made a little research in the web, and found that this topic would need an in-depth elaboration. First, it makes a connection between epistemology and cognition, that I do not know up to which point is justified. Second, traditionally epistemology has only considered "human knowledge". From the moment we introduce the concept of evolution, we are connecting man to the animal kingdom, and therefore enlarging the scope of epistemology. At the moment I do not have the time, and maybe the preparation needed for this task, so I leave it open for other contributors, or for me, in a later time.--Auró (talk) 07:30, 21 March 2012 (UTC)