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A Different Kind of AnimalHow Culture Transformed Our Species$
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Robert Boyd

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195902

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195902.001.0001

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Adaption without Insight?

Adaption without Insight?

(p.135) Chapter 4 Adaption without Insight?
A Different Kind of Animal

Kim Sterelny

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at how philosopher Kim Sterelny endorses the main contours of Robert Boyd's argument that humans are outliers in their capacity to adapt to many environments. However, Sterelny asks whether Boyd goes too far in reducing the role of “our distinctive human intelligence” in explaining humans' ecological adaptability. Sterelny at least partly defends the “library” or “Big Brain” model that Boyd argues against. Tacit, practical know-how is a form of knowledge. In addition, Sterelny contends that Boyd relies too heavily on a simple and “conformist” or “trusting social learning heuristic.” As a final point, Sterelny wonders whether and how social learning has changed across “domains and across time.”

Keywords:   Robert Boyd, humans, human adaptation, human intelligence, ecological adaptability, practical know-how, knowledge, social learning

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