Evolutionary epistemology is a relatively recent phenomenon. To be sure, its antecedents go back to Darwin's The Descent of Man itself. But as an independent and well-defined project, it is a child of the post-war penchant for "interdisciplinary studies" characteristic of the second half of the twentieth century. No doubt, its biggest single impetus came from Karl von Frisch's pioneering investigation of information acquisition and transmission in bees, who utilize the polarization of scattered sunlight for orientation. Its acculturation to a philosophical context in the work of Konrad Lorenz serves to explain why evolutionary epistemology was initially more fashionable in Germany than elsewhere. Recently, however, its impact has spread rapidly around the globe.
In the hands of philosophers, evolutionary concerns tend to take on a somewhat different mein, since they are concerned not only with biological but also with cultural evolution. There should be no great difficulties about this, however. As war is too important to be left to the generals, so evolution is too important to be left to the biologists.
I began work on this project in the spring of 1987. But my interest in the field is much older, first manifesting itself in Methodological Pragmatism (Oxford, 1977). Various evolutionary themes and arguments have found their way into my subsequent books, and I thought that the time was now ripe to pull the various threads together to make up a more connected treatment of the topic. In particular, Chapter 2 is indebted to Chapter 9 of Methodological Pragmatism (Oxford,