Knowledge is sexy, by Nicholas Smith (23 August 2011)

Nick in Columbia River Gorge 1

Philosophy Seminar Series: 23 Aug 2011, 2-4pm, Philosophy Resource Room; Speaker: Nicholas Smith, James F. Miller Professor of Humanities, Lewis & Clark College; Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson

In this paper, I review the arguments for and against a defense of naturalized epistemology in terms of survival, and then offer a rather different account of why human evolution supports the reliability of our cognitive equipment.  I argue that philosophers’ appeals to the processes of natural selection that are adaptive in terms of survival have provided an incomplete picture of what naturalists have available to them to make the sort of defense skeptics claim cannot be made.  To supplement this picture, I provide evidence from what Darwin called “sexual selection” and also what others now call “social selection”  to provide a more complete picture of why it is reasonable to suppose that evolution has supplied human beings and many other animals highly reliable and also veridical cognitive processes.

About the speaker: Nicholas Smith is James F. Miller Professor of Humanities at Lewis & Clark College. He obtained his PhD from Stanford University in 1975. His research specializations are in ancient Greek philosophy, religion, literature and epistemology.
More information on the Philosophy Seminar Series can be found here. A list of past talks in the series can be found here.

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