Book Description

Review Kim Sterelny has written a superb account of the evolution of humankind, remarkable for its breadth of vision and the range of evidence on which it draws. He reminds us how much natural selection can achieve, given vast enough stretches of time, from the accumulation of tiny physical and cultural changes too small to seem important to their immediate observers, but collectively adding up to nothing less than a revolution for our species and for our planet. (Paul Seabright, Toulouse School of Economics)In The Evolved Apprentice, Kim Sterelny casts a sharp philosopher's eye on rather contentious ideas about how we evolved into a highly distinctive species over the last few million years. He wants to make these ideas square with the evidence, sorting genuine contributions of various scholars -- from often too-strong claims based on an incomplete consideration -- of all the available evidence. His apprentice learning proposal is a judicious distillation of both ideas and empiricism. (Peter Richerson, University of California-Davis) The Evolved Apprentice is first and foremost a hypothesis about the origins of the human mind. Sterelny -- arguably the world's leading philosopher of biology -- has produced a wonderfully informed and readable treatise detailing how the construction of a nurturing environment in which others can learn has generated the positive feedback that made the difference and rendered humanity cognitively special. And I, for one, think that he is right. (Kevin N. Laland, Professor of Biology, University of St. Andrews)The author's imposing scholarship, skill in philosophical analysis, and conscientious scientific methodology make this work a definitive critical discussion of current controversies concerning how humans evolved. (Choice) The Evolved Apprentice is a landmark in theorizing about human cognitive evolution. It should change the conversation. Its breadth of scope, richness of detail, and conceptual originality are unmatched in the recent literature. I recommend it highly. (The European Legacy) Read more About the Author Kim Sterelny is Professor of Philosophy at Australian National University and Victoria University of Wellington. His books include Language and Reality (with Michael Devitt; second edition, MIT Press). Read more