Kent B. Van Cleave explains what evolutionary theory has to do with philosophical topics such as metaethics, metaphysics, functionalism, axiology, free will vs. determinism, value theory, naturalized ethics, and more. Style ranges from straight-forward, plain-language treatment for laymen to academic treatment for serious students and professional philosophers and scientists.Evolution
and
Philosophy

A Revolution IN Philosophy

Welcome to the Evolution and Philosophy website. If you have ever wondered why philosophy often seems to have tucked evolutionary theory off into some corner as a bit of theory too remote to have any real bearing on philosophy, you have come to the right place.

I'm Kent Van Cleave. That concern started me on an amateur search for answers that turned into a developing career in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind. A brief account of that adventure is in the "Evolution" section of my bio. The real focus of this site, though, is some rather radical ideas and their justification.

This website explores what I think are important insights into how evolutionary theory illuminates the origins, nature, and practice of philosophy -- not to mention general human behavior and psychology. My thinking has been influenced by many fields, including anthropology, neuropsychology, ethology, social psychology, developmental psychology, philosophy of mind, metaethics, and the philosophy of science. I think it ends up having important implications for these disciplines, and others.

When I speak of "A Revolution IN Philosophy," I'm not claiming you'll find it all here. My work is part of a larger trend that increasingly treats philosophy as the product of a biological process -- Life and the humans who are part of it. But not much has been written for the layman from this perspective, especially on the web. This is the place, then, to learn about many things.

  • What is functionalism, as compared to structuralism?
  • What is Metaphysical Functionalism?
  • What is Metaethical Functionalism or Panvitalism?.
  • What are philosophers made of?
  • Can ethics really be naturalized?
  • What's the proven meaning of life?
  • Is there objective value in the world? (And how can we know?)

This is also the place to read, online, philosophical papers on a number of fascinating topics:

  • the philosophy of mind
  • the philosophy of language
  • decision theory and rationality
  • political theory
  • and even eugenics!

There's more. You can participate in an ongoing discussion of issues presented here, by reading and posting messages on the Message Board. You can also quickly register your opinion about the key ideas presented here by participating in our Online Poll. And you can broaden your search for enlightenment by exploring the many, MANY links and the webrings offered here.

So ... I invite you to rev up your brain and start reading! Page 2 (click here) of this introduction will explain a bit more about the origins of this project -- but if you're impatient to get into the "meat" of this site, just move along to the overview, or pick your favorite online paper from the "Articles" page.



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