Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 1976:

Philosophy and the subjects known as ‘humanities’ are still taught almost as if Darwin had never lived. No doubt this will change in time.

Fodor, Information and Representation, 1990:

Philosophers who pay for their semantics by drawing checks to Darwin, are in debt way over their heads. Or so it seems to me.

3 thoughts on “Evolution

  1. That is a bit funny, although I’m not sure it really establishes the point. The problem can be seen in how the humanities tend to abrogate notions from physics such as entropy, chance, chaos, and so forth. When they attempt to grapple with the important ideas of physics they tend to really not understand them. (Typically, there are always exceptions of course) Thus they take a few popularizations and adopt how *they* read the popularizations resulting typically in hideously transformed notions applied indiscriminately and quite incorrectly.

    I suspect Fodor is making this point. While I’ll fully confess to not having read Dawkins on issues related to this, I wouldn’t be surprised if he agreed with this notion. I think philosophers over the past 150 years have been excited by Darwin but sometimes misappropriate him. Of course one could argue that even some philosophers I like, such as Peirce, have done this.

  2. Yeah, I though that it was funny how the two quotes give picture that in course of 13 years the appeal to evolution for explanation of philosophical issues went from almost non-existent to excessive.

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