The Evolution of Reason

Man, we have now reason to believe, has been evolved from infra-human ancestors, in whom pure reason scarcely existed, if at all, and whose mind, so far as it can have any function, would appear to have been an organ for adapting their movements to the impressions received from the environment, so as to escape the better from destruction… Our sensations are here to attract us, or to deter us, our memories to warn or encourage us, our feelings to impel, and our thoughts to restrain our behavior, so that on the whole we may prosper and our days be long in the land.

William James, “Talks to Teachers,” 1902

In other words, the human mind did not evolve because the ability to devise complex philosophical systems promoted our survival.

Author: Helian

I am Doug Drake, and I live in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. I am a graduate of West Point, and I hold a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin. My blog reflects my enduring fascination with human nature and human morality.

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