Evolutionary Causation and Teleosemantics

In José Manuel Viejo & Mariano Sanjuán (eds.), Life and Mind - New Directions in the Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Sciences. Springer (2023)
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Disputes about the causal structure of natural selection have implications for teleosemantics. Etiological, mainstream teleosemantics is based on a causalist view of natural selection. The core of its solution to Brentano’s Problem lies in the solution to Kant’s Puzzle provided by the Modern Synthesis concerning populational causation. In this paper, I suggest that if we adopt an alternative, statisticalist view on natural selection, the door is open for two reflections. First, it allows for setting different challenges to etiological teleosemantics that arise if a statisticalist reading of natural selection is right. Second, by providing a different solution to Kant’s Puzzle based on individual causes of evolution, statisticalism promotes a different answer to Brentano’s Problem, what I label as Agential Teleosemantics.

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Tiago Rama
Universidad de La República de Uruguay


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