The Evolution of Reason: Logic as a Branch of Biology

By William S. Cooper | Go to book overview

The Evolution of Reason

Formal logic has traditionally been conceived as bearing no special relationship to biology. Recent developments in evolutionary theory suggest, however, that the two subjects may be intimately related. In this book, William Cooper presents a carefully supported theory of rationality in which logical law is seen as an intrinsic aspect of the process of evolution. This biological perspective on logic, though at present unorthodox, suggests new evolutionary foundations for the study of human and animal reasoning.

Professor Cooper examines the formal connections between logic and evolutionary biology, noting how the logical rules are directly derivable from evolutionary principles. Laws of decision and utility theory, probabilistic induction, deduction, and mathematics are found to be natural consequences of elementary population processes. Relating logical law to evolutionary dynamics in this way gives rise to a unified evolutionary science of rationality.

The Evolution of Reason provides a significant and original contribution in evolutionary epistemology. It will be of interest to professionals and students of the philosophy of science, formal logic, evolutionary theory, and the cognitive sciences.

William S. Cooper is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

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