Evolution and Self Evidence

Philosophica 57 (1):35-51 (1996)
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Robert Nozick (1993) has offered an evolutionary account of self-evident beliefs that comes into conflict with a "mild realist" (Dennett, 1991a) view of beliefs. This chapter summarizes both views, and explains the conflict. Emergence is examined. Mild realism is found to embrace "emergence" in an acceptable sense, and to eschew it in its problematic sense. Nozick's cases of self-evident beliefs are examined and difficulties in his account are explained. An alternative approach is developed that avoids the difficulties in Nozick's account and is compatible with mild realism. Implications of mild realism for concepts are drawn.

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William Robinson
Iowa State University


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