Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 171–188 | Cite as

The Philosophy of Donald T. Campbell: A Short Review and Critical Appraisal

  • Franz M. Wuketits


Aside from his remarkable studies in psychology and the social sciences, Donald Thomas Campbell (1916–1996) made significant contributions to philosophy, particularly philosophy of science,epistemology, and ethics. His name and his work are inseparably linked with the evolutionary approach to explaining human knowledge (evolutionary epistemology). He was an indefatigable supporter of the naturalistic turn in philosophy and has strongly influenced the discussion of moral issues (evolutionary ethics). The aim of this paper is to briefly characterize Campbell’s work and to discuss its philosophical implications. In particular, I show its relevance to some current debates in the intersection of biology and philosophy. In fact, philosophy of biology would look poorer without Campbell’s influence. The present paper is not a hagiography but an attempt to evaluate and critically discuss the meaning of Campbell’s work for philosophy of biology and to encourage scholars working in this field to read and re-read this work which is both challenging and inspiring.

Campbell evolutionary epistemology evolutionary ethics naturalistic philosophy philosophy of biology selection 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franz M. Wuketits
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für WissenschaftstheorieUniversität WienViennaAustria

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