The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy

Edited By

Richard Joyce

ISBN 9780367573072
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
464 Pages

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Book Description

In recent years, the relation between contemporary academic philosophy and evolutionary theory has become ever more active, multifaceted, and productive. The connection is a bustling two-way street. In one direction, philosophers of biology make significant contributions to theoretical discussions about the nature of evolution (such as "What is a species?"; "What is reproductive fitness?"; "Does selection operate primarily on genes?"; and "What is an evolutionary function?"). In the other direction, a broader group of philosophers appeal to Darwinian selection in an attempt to illuminate traditional philosophical puzzles (such as "How could a brain-state have representational content?"; "Are moral judgments justified?"; "Why do we enjoy fiction?"; and "Are humans invariably selfish?"). In grappling with these questions, this interdisciplinary collection includes cutting-edge examples from both directions of traffic. The thirty contributions, written exclusively for this volume, are divided into six sections: The Nature of Selection; Evolution and Information; Human Nature; Evolution and Mind; Evolution and Ethics; and Evolution, Aesthetics, and Art. Many of the contributing philosophers and psychologists are international leaders in their fields.

Table of Contents


List of Contributors



The Nature of Selection

1 The nature of selection: An overview

Tim Lewens

2 Multilevel selection and units of selection up and down the biological hierarchy

Elisabeth A. Lloyd

3 Adaptation, multilevel selection, and organismality: A clash of perspectives

Ellen Clarke

4 Fitness maximization

Jonathan Birch

5 Does biology need teleology?

Karen Neander


Evolution and Information

6 Evolution and information: An overview

Ulrich Stegmann

7 The construction of learned information through selection processes

Nir Fresco, Eva Jablonka, and Simona Ginsburg

8 Genetic, epigenetic, and exogenetic information

Karola Stotz and Paul Griffiths

9 Language: From how-possibly to how-probably?

Kim Sterelny

10 Acquiring knowledge on species-specific biorealities: The applied evolutionary epistemological approach

Nathalie Gontier and Michael Bradie


Human Nature

11 Human Nature: An overview

Stephen Downes

12 The reality of species: Real phenomena not theoretical objects

John Wilkins

13 Modern essentialism for species and its animadversions

Joseph LaPorte

14 What is human nature (if it is anything at all?)

Louise Barrett

15 The right to ignore: An epistemic defense of the nature/culture divide

Maria Kronfeldner


Evolution and Mind

16 Evolution and mind: An overview

Valerie Hardcastle

17 Routes to the convergent evolution of cognition

Edward Legg, Ljerka Ostojić, and Nicola Clayton

18 Is consciousness an adaptation?

Kari Theurer and Thomas Polger

19 Plasticity and modularity

Edouard Machery

20 The prospects for teleosemantics: Can biological functions fix mental content?

Justine Kingsbury


Evolution and Ethics

21 Evolution and ethics: An overview

Catherine Wilson

22 The evolution of moral intuitions and their feeling of rightness

Christine Clavien and Chloë FitzGerald

23 Are we losing it? Darwin’s moral sense and the importance of early experience

Darcia Narvaez

24 The evolution of morality and the prospects for moral realism

Ben Fraser

25 Moral cheesecake, evolved psychology, and the debunking impulse

Daniel Kelly


Evolution, Aesthetics, and Art

26 Evolution, aest

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Richard Joyce is Professor of Philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He is author of The Myth of Morality (2001), The Evolution of Morality (2006), and Essays in Moral Skepticism (2016), as well as many articles on metaethics and moral psychology. He has co-edited A World Without Values (2010) and Cooperation and its Evolution (2013).


"The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy is a superb introduction to the field. Particularly impressive are the breadth of topics and the incredibly encouraging range of authors, young and old, male and female, and from so many countries and cultures. This is a book that will last."

--Michael Ruse, Florida State University