The book formulates an evolutionary approach to the theory of knowledge, based on the parallelism between the natural selection of our cognitive capacities and the rational selection of the methodological processes by which we put them to work. The former reflects the biological evolution of homo sapiens, the latter the cultural evolution of homo quaerens through the development of a scientific community of inquirers with its characteristic practices. This dual aspect of cognitive evolution indicates that our human cognitive accomplishments are limited by our particular evolutionary attunement to the world's scheme of things and are bound to reflect the character of our particular evolutionary niche. The resulting doctrinal position is one of a realistic relativism.
Nicholas Rescher is University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh where he serves as Vice-Chairman of its Center for Philosophy of Science.
Chapter 1 Cognitive Evolution and Its Modes Chapter 2 Thesis Darwinism: A False Start in Evolutionary Epistemology Chapter 3 The Cultural Evolution of Communal Practices in Inquiry Chapter 4 The Intelligibility of Nature Chapter 5 Our Science as O-U-R Science Chapter 6 Evolution as an Allocation Mechanism Chapter 7 Does A Darwinian Account of the Origin of Mind Preclude Intentionality and Purpose?