“Not Much to Praise in Such Seeking and Finding”: Evolutionary Psychology, the Biological Turn in the Humanities, and the Epistemology of Ignorance
Article first published online: 23 SEP 2011
© by Hypatia, Inc.
Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 28–49, Winter 2012
How to Cite
Hall, K. Q. (2012), “Not Much to Praise in Such Seeking and Finding”: Evolutionary Psychology, the Biological Turn in the Humanities, and the Epistemology of Ignorance. Hypatia, 27: 28–49. doi: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01229.x
- Issue published online: 13 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 23 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 MAR 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 2 MAR 2011
- Manuscript Received: 2 MAR 2010
This paper critiques the rise of scientific approaches to central questions in the humanities, specifically questions about human nature, ethics, identity, and experience. In particular, I look at how an increasing number of philosophers are turning to evolutionary psychology and neuroscience as sources of answers to philosophical problems. This approach constitutes what I term a biological turn in the humanities. I argue that the biological turn, especially its reliance on evolutionary psychology, is best understood as an epistemology of ignorance that contributes to a climate of hostility and intolerance regarding feminist insights about gender, identity, and the body.