It is really difficult for a naturalist to maintain that minds could evolve without natural selection having a say in it; but this (mandatory, in my view) evolutionary account of cognition raises several problems for the philosophy of mind, several of which have been adressed very thoroughly by thinkers like Ruth Millikan or Fred Dretske; very roughly speaking (if you already know about this stuff, you got nothing to learn here, go on interdisciplines right now!), these accounts stumbled upon two varieties of problems.

The first variety concerns adaptation and functions in nature: the biological concept of function (what it is for a heart to have the function of sustaining the pulsation of blood), while perfectly relevant to organs, appears to lack the specificity of the more mundane idea of what it is to ascribe such or such function to a tool, or to the more philosophical notion according to which a brain's function is to produce an accurate picture of the world around him. A small philosophical industry has developped around these concepts; no doubt the conference will be an occasion to gauge the progress that has been made.

The second variety of puzzles results from the kind of causality used in evolutionary theory: adaptations and fitness are statistical entities, and the kind of cause they use are tendencies too, not here-and-now specific events such as the ones our mind routinely use. Since our philosophy of mind was for a large part tailored to the kind of causality we routinely experience in our brain's life, it seems difficult to fit it with the more abstract causes that built our brains as geological time went by.

We think we know what it is for the representation

(1) "there is a fly in front of me"

to be accurate here and now. No problem with that. But all evolutionary seems to be able to tell us is:

(2) "my concept of fly is accurate 99% of the times, since it evolved in an environment where most of flies were roughly similar to this one"

which falls short of comforting our belief in (1). That's what the opening "talk" is about, only better explained.