Do New Evolutionary Studies of Consciousness Face Similar Methodological Problems As Evolutionary Studies of Mind?

Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 31:31-53 (2022)
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Recently several prominent biologists and philosophers, including Feinberg and Mallatt, and Godfrey-Smith, have proposed evolutionary accounts of consciousness. Despite disagreements regarding the specifics, they all focused on the “primitive” form of consciousness and argued that its origin is much more ancient than previously believed. In this study, we examine these accounts based on their methodological grounds. Specifically, we examine whether one methodological criticism leveled against evolutionary psychology on the completeness of its explanations can be applied to Feinberg and Mallatt’s adaptation explanations. We conclude that their explanations fall short of being complete, but fare better than those advanced by evolutionary psychologists.

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Yuichi Amitani
University of Pittsburgh


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