“Not Much to Praise in Such Seeking and Finding”: Evolutionary Psychology, the Biological Turn in the Humanities, and the Epistemology of Ignorance


  • Kim Q. Hall


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.