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Darwin Machines and the Nature of Knowledge

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Bringing together evolutionary biology, psychology, and philosophy, Henry Plotkin presents a new science of knowledge that traces an unbreakable link between instinct and our ability to know. Since our ability to know our world depends primarily on what we call intelligence, intelligence must be understood as an extension of instinct. The capacity for knowledge is deeply rooted in our biology and, in a special sense, is shared by all living things.

Synopsis:

Learn and survive. Behind this simple equation lies a revolution in the study of knowledge, which has left the halls of philosophy for the labs of science. This book offers a cogent account of what such a move does to our understanding of the nature of learning, rationality, and intelligence. Bringing together evolutionary biology, psychology, and philosophy, Henry Plotkin presents a new science of knowledge, one that traces an unbreakable link between instinct and our ability to know. Contrary to the modern liberal idea that knowledge is something derived from experience, this science shows us that what we know is what our nature allows us to know, what our instincts tell us we must know. Since our ability to know our world depends primarily on what we call intelligence, intelligence must be understood as an extension of instinct. Drawing on contemporary evolutionary theory, especially notions of hierarchical structure and universal Darwinism, Plotkin tells us that the capacity for knowledge, which is what makes us human, is deeply rooted in our biology and, in a special sense, is shared by all living things. This leads to a discussion of animal and human intelligence as well as an appraisal of what an instinct-based capacity for knowledge might mean to our understanding of language, reasoning, emotion, and culture. The result is nothing less than a three-dimensional theory of our nature, in which all knowledge is adaptation and all adaptation is a specific form of knowledge.

About the Author

Henry Plotkin is Professor of Psychobiology and Head of the Department of Psychology at the University College in London.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674192812
Author:
Plotkin, Henry
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Author:
Plotkin, Henry C.
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
General
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Evolution
Subject:
Epistemology
Subject:
Cognitive Psychology
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Biology-Evolution
Subject:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences/Evolution
Subject:
Philosophy-Epistemology
Copyright:
Publication Date:
April 1997
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
292
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 13 oz

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Philosophy » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
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Darwin Machines and the Nature of Knowledge Used Trade Paper
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Product details 292 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674192812 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Learn and survive. Behind this simple equation lies a revolution in the study of knowledge, which has left the halls of philosophy for the labs of science. This book offers a cogent account of what such a move does to our understanding of the nature of learning, rationality, and intelligence. Bringing together evolutionary biology, psychology, and philosophy, Henry Plotkin presents a new science of knowledge, one that traces an unbreakable link between instinct and our ability to know. Contrary to the modern liberal idea that knowledge is something derived from experience, this science shows us that what we know is what our nature allows us to know, what our instincts tell us we must know. Since our ability to know our world depends primarily on what we call intelligence, intelligence must be understood as an extension of instinct. Drawing on contemporary evolutionary theory, especially notions of hierarchical structure and universal Darwinism, Plotkin tells us that the capacity for knowledge, which is what makes us human, is deeply rooted in our biology and, in a special sense, is shared by all living things. This leads to a discussion of animal and human intelligence as well as an appraisal of what an instinct-based capacity for knowledge might mean to our understanding of language, reasoning, emotion, and culture. The result is nothing less than a three-dimensional theory of our nature, in which all knowledge is adaptation and all adaptation is a specific form of knowledge.
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