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Scientiae Studia

versão impressa ISSN 1678-3166


FREITAS, Renan Springer de. Darwin and the collapse of the modern project of foundationalist epistemology. Sci. stud. [online]. 2004, vol.2, n.3, pp.313-325. ISSN 1678-3166.

The collapse of the modern foundational epistemological project has led some authors to claim that epistemology is dead. There has been either a retreat to a pragmatic approach to knowledge, according to which there is nothing to be said about knowledge except what can result from an investigation of the ways in which certain beliefs are formed, or a Kantian- and Heideggerian-inspired attempt to "overcome epistemology" by "bringing into light" the untenable anthropological premises that underlie the Cartesian failed quest for apodictic knowledge. It has hardly been noticed, however, that Popper pioneered all this discussion about the feasibility of the modern epistemological project without thereby concluding that any conceivable epistemological project is necessarily doomed to failure. He envisaged a solution in Darwin's evolutionary thought. I argue that by making sense of knowledge in the light of evolution one can avoid both the modern anxiety for apodictic knowledge, and the untenable requirement, which in fact underlies both the pragmatic and the Kantian-Heideggerian rejection of foundational epistemology, that every piece of knowledge be encapsulated in its own time - in other words, that the past becomes irrelevant for the present.

Palavras-chave : Foundational epistemology; Pragmatic retreat; Evolutionary thought.

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