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Machery, E., 2006, Review of A. Zilhao, ed., Evolution, Rationality and Cognition, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Authors
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Cognitive Science
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Design
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology

Abstract

Evolution, Rationality, and Cognition, A Cognitive Science for the Twenty-First Century, is a fine collection of essays edited by Antonio Zilhão Zilhão, António (ed.), Evolution, Rationality, and Cognition, A Cognitive Science for the Twenty-First Century, Routledge, 2005, 192 pp, $115.00 (hdk), ISBN: 0-415- 36260-1. Reviewed by Edouard Machery, University of Pittsburgh Evolution, Rationality, and Cognition, A Cognitive Science for the Twenty-First Century, is a fine collection of essays edited by António Zilhão. Most essays are written by prominent philosophers of biology and psychology, while a roboticist, Inman Harvey, and a psychologist, Barbara Tversky, complete the table of content. Eight of the nine essays are original, although several of the essays are partly made up of material published elsewhere. Most of these articles belong to a growing field at the intersection of evolutionary biology and cognitive science. However, as is often the case with collections of articles that grow out of conferences, the essays edited by Zilhão are somewhat heterogeneous. The issues examined range from the epistemology of hypothesis testing in evolutionary biology (Sober), to the nature of the cognitive mechanisms underlying emotion recognition (Sripada and Goldman), to the optimal organization of the brain (Cherniak), to the improvement of critical thinking by means of computer-supported argument mapping (van Gelder). The articles in Evolution, Rationality, and Cognition are classified, somewhat artificially into three sections. Section one bears on issues in evolutionary theory. In the first article, entitled “Intelligent design is untestable: what about natural selection?,” Elliott Sober brings together several threads in his recent work in the philosophy of biology. He compares Paley’s well-known argument for an intelligent designer with the use of optimality models in evolutionary biology. He proposes that Paley’s argument is best construed as comparing the prob

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