Jan Sleutels

The Flintstones Fallacy Jan Sleutels

Transcript of Jan Sleutels

The Flintstones FallacyJan Sleutels

Bericht aan het publiek

Deze lezing gaat niet over Darwin, niet over Darwinisme en niet over de evolutieleer in het algemeen, maar over een preoccupatie met evolutionaire tijdschalen en biologische kenmerken in de evolutionaire psychologie. Het betoog mondt uit in een lof der kortzichtigheid die schadelijk kan zijn voor uw geestelijke gezondheid. De directie van dit theater is niet aansprakelijk voor eventuele gevolgen.

De Flintstones Fallacy

1. Platoonse geesten

2. Yabba Dabba Doo!

3. Volkspsychologie

4. Epistemische pariteit

5. Lof der kortzichtigheid

1. Platoonse geesten

“Platonic impulse” (Richard Shweder)

1949 1999

Philosophy of mind

J.H. van den Berg(1914)

1956 1961

Uitzonderingen zijn apriori verdacht





Sinds 1990

John Tooby 1992Leda Cosmides

Evolutionaire psychologie

Merlin Donald1993 2001

Evolutionaire psychologie


Terrence Deacon1997

Steven Mithen1996 2006

Cognitieve archeologie



Alison Gopnik

2. Yabba Dabba Doo!

Evolutionaire tijdschaal

Nadruk op continuïteit

“Much modern thinking is still based on abilities that evolved long ago. It is very unlikely that the advent of modern humans was marked by a total reorganization of the brain; it is probable that much modern thinking still consists of processes that evolved in earlier times. Many modern human activities place minimal demands on problem solving ability (the overworked driving-to-work example). More likely, the neural change leading to modernity was modest and added to the abilities already possessed by pre-modern populations [such as Neandertals]. If we can identify and peel away this final acquisition, we should be able to describe the Neandertal mind itself.”

Thomas Wynn & Frederick Coolidge, ‘The Expert Neandertal Mind’, Journal of Human Evolution 46, 2004, pp. 467-487.

Palaeo-anthropologist Thomas Wynn (left) and

psychologist Frederick Coolidge (right)

Psychologische continuïteit

“I hope it is obvious that P-consciousness is not a cultural construction. (...) The idea would be that there was a time at which people genetically like us ate, drank, and had sex, but there was nothing it was like for them to do these things. (...) Ridiculous!”

“What about A-consciousness? Could there have been a time when humans who are biologically the same as us never had the contents of their perceptions and thoughts poised for free use in reasoning or in rational control of action? Is this ability one that culture imparts to us as children? (...) Again, there is no reason to take such an idea seriously. Very much lower animals are A-conscious, presumably without any such concept.”

Ned Block, ‘On a confusion about a function of consciousness’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1995.

Ned Block

Psychologische continuïteit

Eliminatie of projectie?

“It would be difficult to overemphasize just how strange the handaxe is when compared to the products of modern culture. It does not fit easily into our understanding of what tools are, and its makers do not fit easily into our understanding of what humans are.”

Thomas Wynn, ‘Handaxe Enigmas’, World Archaeology 27(1), 1995, p. 21).

Gevaar van overinterpretatie

Kunnen wij overinterpretatie vermijden?



“The emergence of cave art in Europe about 30,000 years ago is widely believed to be evidence that by this time human beings had developed sophisticated capacities for symbolization and communication. However, comparison of the cave art with the drawings made by a young autistic girl, Nadia, reveals surprising similarities in content and style. Nadia, despite her graphic skills, was mentally defective and had virtually no language. I argue in the light of this comparison that the existence of the cave art cannot be the proof which it is usually assumed to be that the humans of the Upper Palaeolithic had essentially ‘modern’ minds.”

Nicholas Humphrey, ‘Cave Art, Autism, and the Evolution of the Human Mind’, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8:2 (1998), pp. 165-191.

Bedrieglijke intuïties

From: Nicholas Humphrey, ‘Cave Art, Autism, and the Evolution of the Human Mind’, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8:2 (1998), pp. 165-191.

Horses, Chauvet cave

Horses by Nadia, age 3 yr. 5 months

Horses, Lascaux cave

Horses by Nadia, age 3 yr. 5 months

From: Nicholas Humphrey, ‘Cave Art, Autism, and the Evolution of the Human Mind’, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8:2 (1998), pp. 165-191.

Bison, Chauvet

Cow by Nadia, age 4 yr.

From: Nicholas Humphrey, ‘Cave Art, Autism, and the Evolution of the Human Mind’, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8:2 (1998), pp. 165-191.

3. Volkspsychologie

1997Peter Bieri


2007 Eric Schwitzgebel

Soms vergissen wij ons over onszelf...

...maar kunnen we ons permitteren om de volkspsychologie te elimineren?

“Our minds, the only minds we know from the outset, are the standard with which we must begin. Without this agreement, we’ll just be fooling ourselves, talking rubbish without knowing it.”

Daniel C. Dennett, Kinds of Minds (1996), p. 4).

Zonder volkspychologie geen psychologie

Is volkspsychologie een theorie?

Volkspsychologie als epistemische praktijk

Daniel Hutto, 2008Ludwig Wittgenstein 2005

4. Epistemische pariteit

Als de epistemische praktijk van onze huidige volkspsychologie het uitgangspunt is voor ons begrip van huidige geesten, dan moeten de praktijken van afwijkende volkspsychologieën (als die er zijn) dienen als uitgangspunt voor de reconstructie van andere soorten geesten.

Beginsel van epistemische pariteit

Julian Jaynes(1920-1997)

Jan Sleutels, ‘Greek Zombies’, Philosophical Psychology 19 (2006), pp. 177-197.


Bicameral Mind




Voice of Zeus, ...

Conscious Mind


Analog I




Ned Block

Weegschaal van evidentie

5. Lof der kortzichtigheid


Evolutie Anders

Susan Oyama, 2000Michael Tomasello, 1999

Hybride geesten en plastische breinen

2003Andy Clark (left)

David Chalmers (right)

Geest en technologie


Binnen de geschiedenis van de geest is kortzichtigheid een deugd. Zoek naar verschillen in het recente verleden, niet naar overeenkomsten met verre voorouders.

Houd er rekening mee dat onze geest specialer is dan meestal wordt gedacht, contingent en historisch fragiel.