A mind selected by needs: explaining logical animals by evolution

  • Explaining humans as rational creatures—capable of deductive reasoning—remains challenging for evolutionary naturalism. Schechter (Philosophical Perspectives, 24(1)437–464, 2011, 2013) proposes to link the evolution of this kind of reasoning with the ability to plan. His proposal, however, does neither include any elaborated theory on how logical abilities came into being within the hominin lineage nor is it sufficiently supported by empirical evidence. I present such a theory in broad outline and substantiate it with archeological findings. It is argued that the cognitive makeup of any animal is constituted by being embedded in a certain way of life. Changing ways of life thus foster appearances of new cognitive abilities. Finally, a new way of life of coordinated group behavior emerged within the hominins: anticipatory group planning involved in activities like making sophisticated spears for hunting. This gave rise to human logical cognition. It turned hominins into domain-general reasoner and adherents of intersubjective norms for reasoning. However, as I argue, it did not—and most likely could not—give rise to reason by deductive logic. More likely, deductive reasoning entered our world only a few thousand years ago: exclusively as a cultural artifact.
Author:Fabian SeitzORCiD
Parent Title (English):Acta Analytica
Place of publication:Piscataway, NJ
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/01/20
Date of first Publication:2020/01/20
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/06/07
Tag:Cognitive archeology; Cognitive evolution; Cultural evolution; Deductive logic; Niche construction; Reasoning
Page Number:19
First Page:579
Last Page:597
Open access funding provided by Projekt DEAL.
Institutes:Philosophie und Geschichtswissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 10 Philosophie / 100 Philosophie und Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0