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Extra resources for Characterizing Human Psychological Adaptations - Symposium No. 208
But surely the mere addition of a virtually weightless bit of string or glue could not cause the two bricks, which would otherwise have fallen side-byside with the third brick, now to fall twice as fast as Aristotle had supposed! How can the effectiveness of such thought experiments be reconciled with the prevailing empiricist dogma ~- that knowledge about the world can only come from observations and experiments on the world? The explanation must be, in part, that thought experiments tap into innate knowledge about the world internalized through natural selection in the world.
Over the ensuing centuries, this equation of science with intuitive mechanics made the products of other modules, such as teleology, vitalism and mentalism, the products of other modules, seem increasingly inconsistent with a scientific, that is, a mechanical world view. The activation and clash of our various evolved inference engines is just as visible in how we d o science today, even in how disciplines get divided up. So psychologists, behavioural ecologists, economists, anthropologists, sociologists and so on, all study humans.
When modern science emerged during the Renaissance, it did so again through the attempt to submit everything to the mechanics module, making mechanical properties such as shape, location, speed, contact and collisions relevant, making other observable properties, such as colour, irrelevant and other quite real phenomena, such as action at a distance, unacceptable. Over the ensuing centuries, this equation of science with intuitive mechanics made the products of other modules, such as teleology, vitalism and mentalism, the products of other modules, seem increasingly inconsistent with a scientific, that is, a mechanical world view.