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Contemporary Pragmatism Volume 5, Number 1. June 2008 by Mitchell Aboulafia

By Mitchell Aboulafia

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Biological categories are operative in the minds of children early on (Carey and Gelman 1991; Piaget 1954, 1971, 1975). Evolutionary history reveals greater expression of, access to (Rozin 1976, 1998), and use of cognitive resources (Boyer 1990; Mithen 1996; Carey and Gelman 1991). g. Peirce 1892; Hansen 1958; Heelan and Schulkin 1998; Gigerenzer and Selten 2001). That humans construct worlds of perception and experience does not mean that there is no “real” world. Within a biological context, problem solving is adaptive.

Our inferences are constrained by an orientation to events, the kinds of objects that are detected. Linking mammals and finding what seem like counter examples (such as the platypus, an egg laying mammal) first requires a broad way to link diverse kinds of events, which may (perceptual) or may not (conceptual) have clear common properties. g. Murphy 2002; Medlin and Atran 1999, 2004; Giere 2006). Moreover, the inductive devices are broadly conceived in a mind/brain ready to compute statistical probability, draw diverse inferences, and construct models (Johnson-Laird 2001) essential for information processing and coherent action.

The reflexive and free powers of the forms of culturally induced agency that Darwinian evolution facilitates but never captures. Taylor never supposes a human society without language of course, but he also never considers (as far as I know) the evolutionary possibility of a human species (Homo sapiens or Neanderthal) that has not yet achieved a true language. So he thinks of what is biologically essential to human nature – and therefore, potentially, what is normatively appropriate to the moral and political life of mankind.

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