On November 7th and 8th, Jerry Fodor gave a series of lectures entitled “Against Darwinism” at the University of Maryland. The text upon which the lectures were based can be found at:
I attended the lectures and had a few exchanges with Fodor during the discussion. What follows is a transcript of our exchange on November 8th. It gets a bit repetitive, so I’ll summarise: Fodor argued that natural selection explanations are not causal; rather, they are historical. I claim that there are non-causal explanations that are nevertheless non-historical (they appeal to general principles rather than only particular events). My evidence for this is the ability of Darwinist explanations to render certain data non-mysterious, even if they do not do so by providing a causal explanation (in Fodor’s sense).