Inclusive Fitness Theory and the Evolution of Mind and Language

Harry Smit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Philosophers have shown that the Aristotelian conception of mind and body (monism) is capable of resolving the problems confronting dualism. In this paper the resolution of the mind-body problem is extended with a scientific solution by integrating the (neo) Aristotelian framework with evolutionary theory. It is discussed how the theories of Fisher and Hamilton (two extensions of Darwin's theory) enable us to construct and solve hypotheses about how the mind evolved out of matter. These hypotheses are illustrated by two examples: the evolutionary transition from cells to multicellular organisms (with internal and external organs), and the evolutionary transition from babbling to doing things with words and later reasoning and giving reasons. The first transitions resulted in the sensitive psyche of the other animals, the second in the rational psyche of humans. It is discussed how exploratory behaviour of lower-level entities facilitated these evolutionary transitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-314
Number of pages28
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

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