Summary: This is the fifth chapter of the book Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone. The chapter explores scientific interpretations of how our minds evolved, and some of the methodologies used in forming these interpretations. It relates evolutionary debates to a core issue in the philosophy of mind, namely, whether all knowledge comes from experience, or whether we have ‘inborn’ knowledge about certain aspects of our world.
Comment: Good introduction to evolutionary psychology and the debate about nativism for undergraduate students. It looks at examples coming from ecology such as beaver colonies to understand how the human mind might have adapted to solve specific tasks that our ancestors faced. It is the first chapter of the book dedicated to the philosophy of cognitive sciences. Useful in philosophy of science or philosophy of mind courses.