An Evolutionary Epistemological Approach to the Evolution of Intelligence

  • H. C. Plotkin
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 17)

Abstract

At the end of a lengthy survey of the comparative mental powers of man and other animals, Darwin (1871) concluded that “the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.” Some may wish to argue that differences of degree will lead to differences of kind, but almost no biologist would now question Darwin’s main point, which was that man’s mind, including those aspects that we call intelligence, has evolved. Such universal agreement, testimony to the power of the notion of evolution and the generality of the intuition as to what intelligence is, contrasts sharply with our lack of understanding as to the way in which this has occurred. In part this is a result of difficulties in interpretation of one of the disciplines that lies at the heart of the issue, viz. comparative psychology. In part it is because of the restrictive way in which the whole problem of the evolution of intelligence has been viewed. An evolutionary epistemological approach to intelligence sheds some light on both matters.

Keywords

Migration Expense Tral Univer 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barrington EJW (1979) Invertebrate Structure and Function. Nelson LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Bitterman ME (1975) The comparative analysis of learning. Science 188: 699–709PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradie M (1986) Assessing evolutionary epistemology. Biology and Philosophy 1: 401–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Callebaut W, Pinxten R (eds) (1986) Evolutionary Epistemology: a Multiparadigm Program. Reidl DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell DT (1974) Evolutionary epistemology. In PA Schilpp (ed) The Philosophy of Karl Popper. Open Court Publishing ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  6. Darwin C (1871) The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. Random House New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Dennett DC (1981) Why the law of effect will not go away. In Brainstorms, MIT Press Cambridge Mass. pp 71–89Google Scholar
  8. Eldridge N,amp Salthe SN (1985) Hierarchy and evolution. Oxford Surveys in Evolutionary Biology 1: 184–208Google Scholar
  9. Gillan DJ, Premack D,amp Woodruff G (1981) Reasoning in the Chimpanzee: 1. Analogical reasoning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 7: 1–17Google Scholar
  10. James W (1880) Great men great thoughts and the environment Atlantic Monthly 46: 441–449Google Scholar
  11. Johnston TD,& Pietrewicz AT (eds)(1985) Issues in the Ecological Study of Learning. Erlbaum Hillsdale New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  12. Lawick-Goodall J (1970) Tool-using in primates and other vertebrates. Advances in the Study of Behaviour 3: 195–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lewontin RC (1982) Organism and environment. In H C Plotkin (ed) Learning Development and Culture: Essays in Evolutionary Epistemology. Wiley ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  14. Macphail EM (1985) Vertebrate intelligence: the null hypothesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London series B 308: 37–51Google Scholar
  15. Pasnak R (1979) Acquisition of prerequisites to conservation by Macaques. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 5: 194–210PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Piaget J (1936) The Origin of Intelligence in the Child Reprinted by Penguin HarmondsworthGoogle Scholar
  17. Plotkin HC (1982) Evolutionary Epistemology and Evolutionary Theory. In HC Plotkin (ed) Learning, Development and Culture: Essays in Evolutionary Epistemology. Wiley ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  18. Plotkin HC (1986) Evolutionary Epistemology and the Synthesis of Biological and Social Science. In Callebaut W, Pinxten R (eds) Evolutionary Epistemology: A Multiparadigm Program. Reidl Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  19. Plotkin HC, Odling-Smee FJ (1979) Learning, change and evolution. Advances in the Study of Behaviour 10: 1–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Plotkin HC, Odling-Smee FJ (1981) A multiple level model of evolution and its implications for sociobiology. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4: 225–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Plotkin HC, Odling-Smee FJ (1982) Learning in the context of a hierarchy of knowledge processes. In HC Plotkin (ed) Learning Development and Culture:Essays in Evolutionary Epistemology. Wiley ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  22. Pooley C, Gans C (1976) The Nile Crocodile. Scientific American 234: 114–124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Revusky S (1977) Learning as a general process with an emphasis on data from feeding experiments. In NW Milgram L Krames, & TM Alloway (eds) Food Aversion Learning. Plenum New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Riedl R, Wuketits FM (eds)(1987) Die Evolutionare Enkenntnistheorie. Verlag Paul Parey BerlinGoogle Scholar
  25. Shettleworth SJ (1983) Memory in food-hoarding birds. Scientific American 248: 86–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thomson KS (1986) The relationship between development and evolution. Oxford Surveys in Evolutionary Biology 2:220–233Google Scholar
  27. Waddington CH (1959) Evolutionary systems: animal and human. Nature 183: 1634–1638PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Williams GC (1966) Adaptation and Natural Selection. Princeton University Press Princeton New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  29. Williams GC (1986) A defence of reductionism in evolutionary biology. Oxford Surveys in Evolutionary Biology 2: 1–27Google Scholar
  30. Wilson AC (1985) The molecular basis of evolution. Scientific American 3: 148–157Google Scholar
  31. Wyles JS, Kunkel JG, Wilson AC (1983) Birds, behavior, and anatomical evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 80: 4394–4397CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. C. Plotkin
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonUK

Personalised recommendations