عنوان مقاله [English]
There are two main approaches to evolutionary epistemology: the analogical or Spencerian approach, and the literal or Darwinian approach. The analogical approach claims that the process of the development of culture – particularly the development of science – is purely like that of living creatures and is based on natural selection. Michael Ruse calls this approach the “traditional approach” or the “analogical approach”, and sometimes calls it the “Spencerian approach.” In the latter approach, which this essay is going to consider from the viewpoint of Michael Ruse, the claim is that not only the development and evolution of animal bodies but also the development of the structures of their mind is a product of natural selection. The proponents of these approaches are divided into two groups: first, theorists like Lorenz, Reidl, and Wuketits, who believe that evolutionary epistemology is complementary to the critical philosophy of Kant. Second, theorists like Clark link evolutionary epistemology to Humean skepticism. Ruse, like Clark, believes that evolutionary epistemology is complementary to Humean philosophy and that the human mind isn’t a blank slate, but it is provided with innate capacities or secondary epigenetic rules. So, Ruse like Quine, believes that there isn’t any difference between analytic and synthetic propositions and that they all are synthetic propositions and posteriori. The difference is that Quine appeals to philosophical reasons, and Ruse appeals to biological ones. Moreover, there isn’t any necessity in knowledge according to Quine but rather, a pragmatic necessity; while Ruse believes that there is a type of necessity, that is, according to the present framework of our minds, based on our evolutionary history, we are condemned to think causally and mathematically, but we may lose this framework in the evolutionary process. It seems that Ruse’s viewpoint corresponds more with our common sense than that of Quine because we always put up resistance against those who believe that the principles of mathematics and logic are contingent. The viewpoint of Ruse was criticized, and he responds to his critics. We believe that some of his answers aren’t plausible.
One of the most important criticisms against Ruse’s evolutionary epistemology is that it is self-contradictory, that is, what is important for evolutionary epistemologists is success in survival and reproduction, and the truth doesn’t matter to him, so he should accept that we need to believe that the principles of evolution itself can possibly be false. Ruse, responds to this criticism by distinguishing between the reality of common sense and metaphysical reality.
We show in this essay that this solution doesn’t work because Ruse doesn’t suggest any criterion for distinguishing between beliefs based on common sense and beliefs based on metaphysical reality so we can express doubts about the examples he gives for common-sense beliefs. Furthermore, even if it were to be accepted that common-sense beliefs are infallible the problem still exists because natural selection isn’t a common-sense belief, so according to this, all of our beliefs might be mistaken, including the natural selection mechanism itself, and applying it to human knowledge.