PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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The Representational Basis of the Evolution of Theorizing

According to the theory-theory of human uniqueness, many unique human traits are all due to the evolution of the capacity to theorize in the human lineage. Unlike many previous evolutionary psychological accounts, which postulated separate evolutionary changes to explain each individual cognitive difference between humans and other animals, the theory-theory gives a unified and more evolutionarily parsimonious account of human uniqueness. Most theory-theorists hold that the key evolutionary innovation was the capacity to represent new kinds of abstract, structured relations. Here, I examine what unique evolutionary advantage, if any, is provided by the ability to reason via abstract, theoretical relations.

Author Information:

Hayley Clatterbuck    
Department of Philosophy
University of Rochester


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