This history of human origin studies covers a wide range of disciplines. This important new study analyses a number of key episodes from palaeolithic archaeology, palaeoanthropology, primatology and evolutionary theory in terms of various ideas on how one should go about such reconstructions and what, if any, the uses of such historiographical exercises can be for current research in these disciplines. Their carefully argued point is that studying the history of palaeoanthropological thinking about the past can enhance (...) the quality of current research on human origins. The main issues in the present volume are the uses of disciplinary history in terms of present-day research concerns, the relative weight of cultural and other 'external' contexts, and continuity and change in theoretical perspectives. The book's overall approach is an epistemological one. It does not, in other words, primarily address anthropological data as such, but our ways of handling such data in terms of our most fundamental, but usually quite implicit theoretical presuppositions. (shrink)
The discovery that the DNA of chimpanzees and humans is incredibly similar, sharing 98% of the same code, suggests that there is very little different--or special--about the human animal. Likewise, advances in artificial intelligence mean that humans no longer have exclusive access to reason, consciousness and imagination. Indeed, the harder we cling to the concept of humanity, the more slippery it becomes. But if it breaks down altogether, what will this mean for human values, human rights, and (...) the defense of human dignity? In a book of breathtaking range, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto takes us on an enlightening journey through the history of humankind, a narrative tour de force that challenges our most fundamental belief--that we are, and have always been, human. Humankind confronts the problem from a historical perspective, showing how our current understanding of what it means to be human has been shaken by new discoveries from science and philosophy. The author shows how our concept of humankind has changed over time, tracing its faltering expansion to its present limits and arguing that these limits are neither fixed or scientifically verifiable. Controversially, he proposes that we have further to go in developing our concept of humankind and that we need to rethink it as a matter of urgency. One of the most imaginative historians writing today, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto here combines astonishing breadth with passionate and exciting storytelling. For the intellectually curious, for those interested in history, philosophy, science and culture, and for anyone who has ever wondered about what makes us human, Humankind offers an exhilarating new perspective. (shrink)
Human evolution explains how we have found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Issues of modern living; depression, obesity, and environmental destruction, can be understood in relation to our evolutionary past. This book shows how an awareness of this past and its relation to the present can help limit their impact on the future.
What is, what was the human? This book argues that the making of the human as it is now understood implies a renogotiation of the relationship between the self and the world. The development of Renaissance technologies of difference such as mapping, colonialism and anatomy paradoxically also illuminated the similarities between human and non-human. This collection considers the borders between humans and their imagined others: animals, women, native subjects, machines. It examines border creatures (hermaphrodites, wildmen, and (...) cyborgs) and border practices (science, surveying, and pornography). (shrink)
Visionary quests to return to the Garden of Eden have shaped Western culture from Columbus' voyages to today's tropical island retreats. Few narratives are so powerful - and, as Carolyn Merchant shows, so misguided and destructive - as the dream of recapturing a lost paradise. A sweeping account of these quixotic endeavors by one of America's leading environmentalists, Reinventing Eden traces the idea of rebuilding the primeval garden from its origins to its latest incarnations in shopping malls, theme parks and (...) gated communities. With eloquence and insight, Merchant shows how the drive to conquer nature and to explore and settle the globe, springs from this utopian pastoral impulse throughout Western history. Time and again, human manipulation of the environment is our downfall: Eden is achieved by fencing off pristine beauty in national parks and wildlife preserves, while leaving the majority of the earth in ruins. Challenging both narratives, Merchant argues that the green veneer of city-park conservation has become a cover for the corruption of the earth and the neglect of its environment. Reinventing Eden is a bold new way to think about the earth that includes green political parties, sustainable development and a partnership between humans and earth that is nothing short of an ecological revolution. (shrink)
This book presents a study of the nature and conditions of historical knowledge, conducted through a study of the relevant theories of Hume, Hegel and Vico. It is usually thought that in order to establish historical facts, we have to have a theory of human nature to support our arguments. Hume, Hegel and Vico all subscribed to this view, and are therefore discussed in detail. Professor Pompa goes on to argue that there is in fact no way of discovering (...) anything about human nature except through historical investigation. It is necessary therefore to find a different way of thinking about how we discover historical facts. This is done in the last chapter where, in opposition to almost all present views, it is argued that we must have a framework of inherited knowledge before we can believe in anything which results from historical enquiry. (shrink)
Twilight of the Idols has a main role in Nietzsche’s work, since it represents the opening writing of his project of Transvaluation of all values. The task of this essay is sounding out idols, i.e. to disclose their lack of content, their being hollow. The theme of eternal idols is in this work strictly related to the idea of a ‘true’ world and, consequently, a study on this latter notion can contribute to a better comprehension of what does that emptiness (...) mean and which is the way that Nietzsche wants to follow to set his thought free from any metaphysical heritage. The analysis of the notion of truth Nietzsche concerns with in Twilight of the Idols takes us back to the content of his early writings, when he gives the first sketches of his theory of knowledge. The perspective he exposed in the ‘70s is constructed on the basis of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, that Nietzsche merges with the main ideas of Lange, Spir and other neo-Kantians. The outcome of his reflections on this matter is an evolutionary epistemology, a view that leads Nietzsche to define the historical reconstruction as the only resource through which the fact that concepts are mere thoughts gradually evolved can be point out. These observations correspond in many ways to what the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach wrote in his works, and one can say that Nietzsche agrees with his “anti-metaphysical intent”, i.e. his criticizing a thought still depending on “concepts which we forgot how we’ve reached”. With my paper I’ll try to show that Nietzsche wage his war against metaphysics with the theoretical ‘weapons’ he prepared in the ‘70s, indeed that his last attack to western knowledge arises from some contents he exposed in Human, All Too Human. In this text Nietzsche reflected on the mechanisms of language and world’s representation, and connected human knowledge with the overall development of organic beings. Moreover, in his work from 1878 the philosopher presented a comparison between “metaphysische Philosophie” and “historische Philosophie”, an idea that cannot be found in the following writings, but that comes up again in the Twilight of the Idols. Indeed, in this work Nietzsche repeats his complaining philosopher’s “lack of historical sense” he dealt with in the opening pages of Human, All Too Human, and he reflects on the kind of inquiry western thinkers should adopt to set themselves free from the fixed forms of metaphysics. Thus, Nietzsche’s observation about the role of history in philosophy testifies the connection between this main works, and allow us to define the way he wants to follow to carry his critic to eternal idols out and, in doing so, to show the way forward to his last thoughts. (shrink)
When the human understanding of beasts in the past is studied, what are revealed is not only the foundations of our own perception of animals, but humans contemplating their own status. This book argues that what is revealed in a wide range of writing from the early modern period is a recurring attempt to separate the human from the beast. Looking at the representation of the animal in the law, religious writings, literary representation, science and political ideas, what (...) emerges is a sense of the fragility of humanity, a sense of a species which always requires an external addition--property, civilization, education--to be fully human. (shrink)
Holmes Rolston challenges the sociobiological orthodoxy that would naturalize science, ethics, and religion. The book argues that genetic processes are not blind, selfish, and contingent, and that nature is therefore not value-free. The author examines the emergence of complex biodiversity through evolutionary history. Especially remarkable in this narrative is the genesis of humanbeings with their capacities for science, ethics, and religion. A major conceptual task of the book is to relate cultural genesis to natural genesis. There (...) is also a general account of how values are created and transmitted in both natural and human cultural history. The book is thoroughly up-to-date on current biological thought and is written by one of the most well-respected figures in the philosophy of biology and religion. (shrink)
Archaeology, of all the human sciences, can dodge this problem the least, and the great virtue of Shennan’s Genes, Memes and HumanHistory is that he confronts it directly. For though humans are now both cultural and ecological beings, it was not always so. Once our hominid ancestors had a social organisation and a material culture roughly equivalent to that of today’s chimpanzees. Chimps are not encultured in the sense that we are encultured: their social life (...) and their ecology does not depend on the accurate and extensive transmission of information from parents to offspring. It falls to archaeology to document and explain the transition from merely social hominids to encultured hominids. Archaeologists cannot escape our dual nature, for they must explain its coming into being. Thus for an evolutionary archaeologist like Shennan, the evolutionary facet of human nature and humanhistory must be geneologically primary. For our enculturation is the product of a continuing evolutionary process grafted onto the top of a pre-existing set of ecological and social relations. (shrink)
This is a small book on a large subject: What is special about humanbeings? Hamlet mused, ?What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how like a god!? but went on to speak of ?this quintessence of dust?. Helen Oppenheimer prefers to start with the dust and move to the glory: we really are animals ? and from these animals has come Shakespeare. People are indeed ?miserable sinners? ? and also magnificent creatures. The author (...) does not disguise that she is a Christian theologian whose subject is ethics, but she writes equally for non-Christians. Her invitation to the reader is: Here is a way of looking at things that I find exciting and convincing ? I hope you do too. (shrink)
When Did I Begin? investigates the theoretical, moral, and biological issues surrounding the debate over the beginning of human life. With the continuing controversy over the use of in vitro fertilization techniques and experimentation with human embryos, these issues have been forced into the arena of public debate. Following a detailed analysis of the history of the question, Reverend Ford argues that a human individual could not begin before definitive individuation occurs with the appearance of the (...) primitive streak about two weeks after fertilization. This, he argues, is when it becomes finally known whether one or more human individuals are to form from a single egg. Thus, he questions the idea that the fertilized egg itself could be regarded as the beginning of the development of the human individual. The author also differs sharply, however, from those who would delay the beginning of the human person until the brain is formed, or until birth or the onset of conscious states. (shrink)
Human ethical practices and attitudes with respect to the other animals exhibit a curious instability. On the one hand, most people believe that it is wrong to inflict torment or death on a non-human animal for a trivial reason. Skinning a cat or setting it on fire by way of a juvenile prank is one of the standard examples of obvious wrongdoing in the philosophical literature. Like torturing infants, it is the kind of example that philosophers use when (...) we are looking for something ethically uncontroversial, so that disputes about the example won’t get in the way of the point we are trying to make.2 On the other hand, humanbeings have traditionally counted nearly any reason we might have for hurting or killing animals, short of malicious enjoyment, as non-trivial and sufficient. We kill non-human animals, and sometimes inflict pain on them, because we want to eat them, because we can make useful products out of them, because we can learn from experimenting on them, and.. (shrink)
David Hume discusses that humanbeings have no identical self in his book A Treatise of Human Nature. He says that self is not the subject of perception ; thought experiences itself and no need for such kind of idea like self. He adopted classical exposition of positivist theory with reference to the problem of personal identity. Hume adopted purely sceptical and empirical explanation and does not give any satisfactory solution for the problem of personal identity. Although, (...) he opens new lines of thought and emphasizes that no system of thought is ultimate, nothing is better than the spirit of enquiry, which gave a great effect on modern era of thinking. (shrink)
John McDowell argues for minimal empiricism via using the notion of second nature of humanbeings. I should like to invite him to discuss Helmuth Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology in order to elaborate a more substantial conception of second nature. McDowell seems to think that it is adequate for his more epistemological aim to remind us of second nature as though it were to be taken for granted. But I think, following Plessner, that this right reminder needs a therapeutic (...) elaboration in Kant's sense of propaedeutics. What had been called our second nature found itself being questioned in order to limit the range of ways of treating the self we can authorize. (shrink)
A profound change in our scientific understanding of the role of humanbeings in the unfolding of our streams of conscious experiences was wrought by the 20th-century switch from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics. The streams of consciousness thoughts of humanbeings were converted from causally inert passive witnesses of the unfolding of a mechanically controlled and causally self-sufficient physical universe into logically needed dynamical inputs into the physical aspects of nature. These physical aspects, as they (...) are now understood, contain causal gaps that are neatly filled by inputs from the realm of our conscious thoughts in a way that allows our conscious intentions to tend to produce their intended consequences. (shrink)
The essay combines a specific and a more general theme. In attacking ‘the doctrine of the sanctity of human life’ Singer takes himself thereby to be opposing the conviction that human life has special value. I argue that this conviction goes deep in our lives in many ways that do not depend on what Singer identifies as central to that ‘doctrine’, and that his attack therefore misses its main target. I argue more generally that Singer’s own moral philosophy (...) affords only an impoverished and distorted sense of the value of human life and humanbeings. In purporting to dig below the supposedly illusion–ridden surface of our thinking about value, Singer in fact often leads us away from the robust terrain of our lived experience into rhetorical, and sometimes brutal, fantasy. (shrink)
Unified explanations seek to situate the traits of humanbeings in a causal framework that also explains the trait values found in nonhuman species. Disunified explanations claim that the traits of humanbeings are due to causal processes not at work in the rest of nature. This paper outlines a methodology for testing hypotheses of these two types. Implications are drawn concerning evolutionary psychology, adaptationism, and anti-adaptationism.
Abstract John McDowell argues for minimal empiricism via using the notion of second nature of humanbeings. I should like to invite him to discuss Helmuth Plessner's Philosophical Anthropology in order to elaborate a more substantial conception of second nature. McDowell seems to think that it is adequate for his more epistemological aim to remind us of second nature as though it were to be taken for granted. But I think, following Plessner, that this right reminder needs a (...) therapeutic elaboration in Kant's sense of propaedeutics. What had been called our second nature found itself being questioned in order to limit the range of ways of treating the self we can authorize. (shrink)
Since the first sex reassignment operations were performed, individual sex has come to be, to some extent at least, a technological artifact. The existence of sperm sorting technology, and of prenatal determination of fetal sex via ultrasound along with the option of termination, means that we now have the power to choose the sex of our children. An influential contemporary line of thought about medical ethics suggests that we should use technology to serve the welfare of individuals and to remove (...) limitations on the opportunities available to them. I argue that, if these are our goals, we may do well to move towards a “post sex” humanity. Until we have the technology to produce genuine hermaphrodites, the most efficient way to do this is to use sex selection technology to ensure that only girl children are born. There are significant restrictions on the opportunities available to men, around gestation, childbirth, and breast-feeding, which will be extremely difficult to overcome via social or technological mechanisms for the foreseeable future. Women also have longer life expectancies than men. Girl babies therefore have a significantly more “open” future than boy babies. Resisting the conclusion that we should ensure that all children are born the same sex will require insisting that sexual difference is natural to humanbeings and that we should not use technology to reshape humanity beyond certain natural limits. The real concern of my paper, then, is the moral significance of the idea of a normal human body in modern medicine. (shrink)
The split in our thinking between "masculine" and "feminine" is probably as old as language itself. Humanbeings seem to have a natural tendency to divide things into pairs: good/bad, light/dark, subject/object and so on. It is not surprising, then, that the male/female or masculine/feminine dichotomy is used to classify things other than men and women. Many languages actually classify all nouns as "masculine" or "feminine" (although not very consistently: for example, the Spanish masculine noun pollo means "hen", (...) while the feminine polla is slang for "penis"). This is perfectly natural; it is part of the way categorisation works in language. This does not, however, mean that it is right. It is probably unimportant whether a table or a chair is thought of as masculine or feminine. It may not even be very important these days whether we think of the sun as male and the moon as female (like the ancient Greeks) or vice versa (like most of the German tribes). However, when we start associating abstract concepts like Reason or Nature with men and women, we run into serious difficulties. (shrink)
As a pair of important categories in traditional Chinese culture, “ ming 命 (destiny or decrees)” and “ tian ming 天命 (heavenly ordinances)” mainly refer to the constraints placed on humanbeings. Both originated from “ ling 令 (decrees),” which evolved from “ wang ling 王令 (royal decrees)” into “ tian ling 天令 (heavenly decrees),” and then became “ ming ” from a throne because of the decisive role of “heavenly decrees” over a throne. “ Ming ” and (...) “ tian ming ” have different definitions: “ Ming ” represented the limits Heaven placed on the natural lives of humanbeings and was an objective force that men could not direct, but was embodied in humanbeings as their “destiny”; “ Tian ming ” reflected the moral ideals of humanbeings in their self-identification; It originated in man but had to be verified by Heaven, and it was therefore the true ordinance that Heaven placed on humanbeings. “ Ming ” and “ tian ming ” are two perspectives on the traditional relationship between Heaven and humanbeings, and at the same time Confucians and Daoists placed different emphasis on them. (shrink)
This paper critiques the competing “Grandmother Hypothesis” and “Embodied Capital Theory” as evolutionary explanations of the peculiarities of human life history traits. Instead, I argue that the correct explanation for human life history probably involves elements of both hypotheses: long male developmental periods and lives probably evolved due to group selection for male hunting via increased female fertility, and female long lives due to the differential contribution women’s complex foraging skills made to their children and grandchildren’s (...) nutritional status within groups provisioned by male hunting. (shrink)
Why do all animals possess sense perception while plants don’t? And should the difference in quality of life between humanbeings and wolves be explained by supposing that wolves have degenerated souls? This paper argues that for Aristotle differences in quality of life among living beings are based on differences in the quality of their soul-principle together with the body that receives the soul. The paper proposes a new interpretation of On the Soul 2.4.415b18: “For all the (...) natural bodies are instruments of the soul,” against all current interpretations. Aristotle there means that each of the four sublunary elements can be a part of the instrumental body of a soul. The paper continues with discussing the way in which Aristotle connects the several sublunar elements with different levels of life activity, and the troublesome passage in Generation of Animals 3.11.761b22, where Aristotle speaks about a fourth category of living creatures related to the fourth sublunary element, Fire, and the region of the Moon. (shrink)
Depression is a debilitating condition, but it can also be an awakening: one that calls attention to what is termed dimensions of expertise that come with the spatial and temporal structure of humanbeings and that are necessary for offering some counter to the debilitating force of the condition. Expertise has a significant ontological status: it is directly associated with who we are as creatures who can hear and respond to the call of conscience, desire acknowledgment and have (...) an obligation to share this life-giving gift with others, and whose very being is characterized by a perfectionist impulse to better its standing in the world. A story concerned with medical expertise is offered to illustrate in concrete terms these specific matters. (shrink)
Human dignity seems very important to us. At the same time, the concept ‘human dignity’ is extrordinarily elusive. A good way to approach the questions “What is it?” and “Why is it important?” is to raise another question first: In virtue of what do humanbeings have dignity? Speciesism - the idea that humanbeings have a particular dignity because they are humans - does not seem very convincing. A better answer says that (...) class='Hi'>humanbeings have dignity because and insofar as they are persons. I discuss several versions of this idea as well as several objections against it. The most promising line of analysis says that humanbeings cannot survive psychologically without a very basic form of recognition and respect by others. The idea that humans have a very special dignity is the idea that they owe each other this kind of respect. All this also suggests that human dignity is inherently social. Non-social beings do not have dignity - nor do they lack it. It is because we are social animals of a certain kind that we have dignity - not so much because we are rational animals. (shrink)
Far-reaching promises made by nanotechnology have raised the question of whether we are on the way to understanding humanbeings more and more as belonging to the realm of technology. In this paper, an increasing need to understand the technological re-conceptualization of humanbeings is diagnosed whenever increasingly “technical” interpretations of humans as mechanical entities are disseminated. And this can be observed at present in the framework of nanobiotechnology, a foremost “technical” self-description where a technical language (...) is adopted. The arena in which the decision is made on increasing the use of technological understanding to define mankind will not be found in the surgery room in which one works with implants, nor the NBIC-laboratory, in which “nerve plugs” are supposed to be developed. The thesis of this paper is that such arena is rather related to the manner in which concepts of humanity are associated with it, how we think and talk about ourselves, and which consequences we draw out of it. (shrink)
Unveiling the Past—Preparing the Conditions for HumanBeings to Live in the Midst of One Another Again? A Response From Living in Northern Ireland Content Type Journal Article Category Symposium Pages 333-335 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9334-y Authors Derick Wilson, University of Ulster, School of Education, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, BT52 1SA UK Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 4.
This article addresses a classical question: Can a machine use language meaningfully and if so, how can this be achieved? The first part of the paper is mainly philosophical. Since meaning implies intentionality on the part of the language user, artificial systems which obviously lack intentionality will be `meaningless' (pace e.g. Dennett). There is, however, no good reason to assume that intentionality is an exclusively biological property (pace e.g. Searle) and thus a robot with bodily structures, interaction patterns and development (...) similar to those of humanbeings would constitute a system possibly capable of meaning – a conjecture supported through a Wittgenstein-inspired thought experiment. The second part of the paper focuses on the empirical and constructive questions. Departing from the principle of epigenesis stating that during every state of development new structure arises on the basis of existing structure plus various sorts of interaction, a model of human cognitive and linguistic development is proposed according to which physical, social and linguistic interactions between the individual and the environment have their respective peaks in three consecutive stages of development: episodic, mimetic and symbolic. The transitions between these stages are qualitative, and bear a similarity to the stages in phylogenesis proposed by Donald (1991) and Deacon (1997). Following the principle of epigenetic development, robotogenesis could possibly recapitulate ontogenesis, leading to the emergence of intentionality, consciousness and meaning. (shrink)
I critically discuss both the particular doctrinal and general meta-philosophical or methodological tenets of Mark Johnston's paper "HumanBeings", attending to several weaknesses in his argument. One of the most important amongst them is an apparent reliance on a substitution of identicals within an intensional context as he argues that continuity of functioning brain is essential to the persistence of "HumanBeings" as allegedly singled out by his methodology; another equally important is a simple lacuna in (...) place of an argument that candidate entities for re-identification by means we take for granted in the case of persons cannot be what I call "mentalistically" individuated. (shrink)
J.S. Mill has formulated a classical statement of the "argument from analogyâ€? concerning knowledge of other minds: "I must either believe them [other humanbeings] to be alive, or to be automatonsâ€? (Mill 1872, 244). It is possible that Wittgenstein had this in mind when writing the following: "I believe he is suffering.â€?â€”Do I also believe that he isn"t an automaton? It would go against the grain to use the word in both connexions. (Or is it like this: (...) I believe he is suffering, but am certain the he is not an automaton? Nonsense!) Suppose I say of a friend: "He isn"t an automatonâ€?.â€”What information is conveyed by this, and to whom would it be information? To a human being who meets him in ordinary circumstances? What information could it give him? (At the very most that this man always behaves like a human being, and not occasionally like a machine.) "I believe he is not an automatonâ€?, just like that, so far makes no sense. My attitude towards him is an attitude towards a soul [eine Einstellung zur Seele]. I am not of the opinion that he has a soul. (PI p. 178) Here Wittgenstein contrasts opinion (Meinung) and attitude (Einstellung). How should this contrast be understood? On a view such as Mill"s, to regard someone as a conscious being is to hold certain beliefs about him, beliefs that can perhaps ultimately be grounded in a theory of some sort. To have an "attitude towards a soulâ€? is, on the contrary, to see a person"s gestures and facial expressions as "filled with meaningâ€?. We have an attitude towards a soul when confronted with a person, which means that we react to his presence and behaviour in a certain way. (shrink)
Introduction The Brazilian national curriculum guidelines for undergraduate medicine courses inspired and influenced the groundwork for knowledge acquisition, skills development and the perception of ethical values in the context of professional conduct. Objective The evaluation of ethics education in research involving humanbeings in undergraduate medicine curriculum in Brazil, both in courses with active learning processes and in those with traditional lecture learning methodologies. Methods Curricula and teaching projects of 175 Brazilian medical schools were analyzed using a retrospective (...) historical and descriptive exploratory cohort study. Thirty one medical schools were excluded from the study because of incomplete information or a refusal to participate. Active research for information from institutional sites and documents was guided by terms based on 69 DeCS/MeSH descriptors. Curriculum information was correlated with educational models of learning such as active learning methodologies, tutorial discussions with integrated curriculum into core modules, and traditional lecture learning methodologies for large classes organized by disciplines and reviewed by occurrence frequency of ethical themes and average hourly load per semester. Results Ninety-five medical schools used traditional learning methodologies. The ten most frequent ethical themes were: 1 – ethics in research (26); 2 – ethical procedures and advanced technology (46); 3 – ethic-professional conduct (413). Over 80% of schools using active learning methodologies had between 50 and 100 hours of scheduled curriculum time devoted to ethical themes whereas more than 60% of traditional learning methodology schools devoted less than 50 hours in curriculum time to ethical themes. Conclusion The data indicates that medical schools that employ more active learning methodologies provide more attention and time to ethical themes than schools with traditional discipline-based methodologies. Given the importance of ethical issues in contemporary medical education, these findings are significant for curriculum change and modification plans in the future of Brazilian medical education. (shrink)
It has long been claimed that Homo sapiens is the only species that has language, but only recently has it been recognized that humans also have an unusual pattern of growth and development. Social mammals have two stages of pre-adult development: infancy and juvenility. Humans have two additional prolonged and pronounced life history stages: childhood, an interval of four years extending between infancy and the juvenile period that follows, and adolescence, a stage of about eight years that stretches from (...) juvenility to adulthood. We begin by reviewing the primary biological and linguistic changes occurring in each of the four pre-adult ontogenetic stages in human life history. Then we attempt to trace the evolution of childhood and juvenility in our hominin ancestors. We propose that several different forms of selection applied in infancy and childhood; and that, in adolescence, elaborated vocal behaviors played a role in courtship and intrasexual competition, enhancing fitness and ultimately integrating performative and pragmatic skills with linguistic knowledge in a broad faculty of language. A theoretical consequence of our proposal is that fossil evidence of the uniquely human stages may be used, with other findings, to date the emergence of language. If important aspects of language cannot appear until sexual maturity, as we propose, then a second consequence is that the development of language requires the whole of modern human ontogeny. Our life history model thus offers new ways of investigating, and thinking about, the evolution, development, and ultimately the nature of human language. (shrink)
The question of what it means to be human has never before been more difficult and more contested. The human, with a complicated social history that his rarely been examined, remains entrenched in traditional Enlightenment thinking. Human, All Too Human considers how we might radicalize our notion of the human. Can the human be thought outside humanism? Any rethinking of the human places us immediately inside an ever-widening field of contrasting labels: animate (...) and inanimate, natural and artificial, living and dead, organic and mechanistic. These and other boundary confusions at the frontier of the human are the subject of this volume, as each essay takes up one of three disputed border identities: animals, things or children. Human, All Too Human examines how we explain our interest in anthropomorphism and our fascination with species categorizations. Essays explore what we mean by "things" and how the integrity of the human may already be compromised by them. The nine essays in this volume all attempt to rethink the category of the human, challenging some of our most cherished cultural classifications. By inviting us to place the traditions subject of knowledge in the unsettling position of object, these writers interrogate the boundary distinctions that, until now, have exempted the human from the vigilant analysis it so urgently requires. Contributors: Nancy Armstrong, Rey Chow, Drucilla Cornell, Diana Fuss, Marjorie Garber, Barbara Johnson, Cora Kaplan, James Kincaid, Harriet Ritvo, David Willis. (shrink)
Physical attractiveness has always had a large effect on personal success, social standing, and behavior. In It , Arthur Marwick observes beauty as a possessed quality as important to ones fate as intelligence, strength, wealth, education, or family. From royal mistresses and ancient queens to modern film stars and politicians, Marwick looks at the potent influence appearance has had on history and human fate.
Physical attractiveness has always had a large effect on personal success, social standing, and behavior. In It , Arthur Marwick observes beauty as a possessed quality as important to ones fate as intelligence, strength, wealth, education, or family. From royal mistresses and ancient queens to modern film stars and politicians, Marwick looks at the potent influence appearance has had on history and human fate.
Much of this paper is concerned with several issues of considerable importance in assessing the adequacy of Honderich's account of our nature and the persuasiveness of his case for his theory of determinism. First, there are a number of respects in which his treatment of the mental does not do justice to it, chiefly owing to the mental's being abstracted from its larger context in human life, and to neglect of its intimate relation to socially engendered and maintained systems (...) of significant forms. Second, and relatedly, there is his contention that the untenability of the notion of an Originator is fatal to any attempt to offer a philosophically respectable alternative to the sort of deterministic theory he espouses. An attempt is made to show how one might mount a response that would counter this argument by making sense of the idea of a humanly attainable substitute for the kind of Originator he with good reason rejects. The conclusion is not that indeterminism may thereby be saved, but rather that we might do better to abandon the dispute between determinism and indeterminism in favor of other more promising questions. (shrink)
This volume is the first of two to provide a new edition of Human, All Too Human, the earliest of Nietzsche's works in which his philosophical concerns and methodologies can be glimpsed. Published in 1878, it marked both a stylistic and an intellectual shift away from Nietzsche's own youthful affiliation with Romantic excesses of German thought and culture. It presents the precursors of the ideas that would later become Nietzsche's theories on genealogy and of the U;bermensch. This new (...) translation presents Nietzsche's text in the straightforward, direct prose of the original. It is the first English edition to include the significant variants and revisions of the original published text, and the first to provide cross-references to the forthcoming volume of Nietzsche's notebook material from the same period. It includes explanatory notes and a translator's afterword detailing the history of the work. (shrink)
The nihilists are right, admits philosopher Loyal Rue. The universe is blind and aimless, indifferent to us and void of meaning. There are no absolute truths and no objective values. There is no right or wrong way to live, only alternative ways. There is no correct reading of a text or a picture or a dance. God is dead, nihilism reigns. But, Rue adds, nihilism is a truth inconsistent with personal happiness and social coherence. What we need instead is a (...) new myth, a noble lie. Only a noble lie can save us from the psychological and social chaos now threatened by the spread of skepticism about the meaning of life and the universe. In By the Grace of Guile, Loyal Rue offers a wide ranging look at the importance of deception in nature and in human society, concluding with an argument for a noble lie to replace the religious beliefs rejected by modern thought. Most of the book is a provocative apology for deception, illuminating its role in the shaping of history, evolution, personality, and society. Ranging from the Bible and Greek philosophy, to Saint Augustine and Montaigne, to Galileo, Kirkegaard, and Freud, Rue shows that it may be more accurate to describe the history of our culture as a flight from deception than as a quest for truth. He turns then to the natural world to reveal how deception works at every level of life, ranging from plants that mimic dung, carrion, or prey to lure insects that then spread pollen, to a remarkable African insect (Acanthaspis petax) that bedecks itself with dead ants and enters the ant colony undetected to binge at will. Moreover, he points out that psychological research has shown that strategies of deception and self-deception are essential to our personal well-being, that we sometimes shore up our self-esteem by deceptive means, by leaving others in a state of ignorance, by manipulating others into a state of false belief, by suppressing information from consciousness, and by fabricating or distorting our own sense of reality. And he argues that social coherence is achievable only within certain optimal limits of deception--the social fabric would be threatened by an overabundance of lies and false promises, of course, but it would also collapse if everyone were perfectly honest all the time. Finally, he argues that society is caught up in a Kulturkampf with nihilists promoting intellectual and moral relativism and realists defending objective and universal truths. The noble lie, says Rue, would introduce a third voice, one which first agrees with the nihilists that universal myths are pretentious lies, but then insists, against the nihilists, that without such lies humanity cannot survive. The challenge, he concludes, is ultimately an aesthetic one: it remains for the artists, poets, novelists, musicians, filmmakers, and other masters of illusion to seduce us into an embrace with a noble lie. We need a new myth that tells us where we have come from, what our nature is, and how we should live together--a story with the courage and presumption to say how things really are and what really matters. (shrink)
In traditional Chinese cosmology, this pattern could be very well explained in terms of the fluctuation of yin and yang, or as the natural order of Heaven. This cosmological explanation fits natural history well. There are natural phenomena such as floods, draughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc., that are beyond human control. These events have their determining factors. Once those factors are present, a natural disaster, however unfavorably viewed by humans, is doomed to take place. The view that natural (...)history is determined by factors outside the human world can be accepted without much controversy. However, when applied to humanhistory, the role of man in humanhistory becomes problematic under this kind of cosmology. How much of our success or failure is due to our larger cosmological environment -- the ongoing development of the chi'? Can a single individual reverse the flow of yin and yang or the emergence of good times and bad times? On a larger scale, is humanhistory predestined? If there is a necessary rotation of prosperity and chaos, then it can be argued that.. (shrink)
My professional interest originally focused on curriculum planning and development, but for the last 30 years I have been researching, publishing and teaching in the field of human rights education. Suddenly, I became a human rights educator. Suddenly? No, nothing in our personal and professional life is the result of an abrupt occurrence. We are subjects of a particular history, a succession of events and narratives, located in time, space and circumstances. I constructed myself, consciously or unconsciously, (...) as a human rights educator as a consequence of many personal factors. Being the son of the first Rabbi in Chile, I felt, at a very early age, that I was different and suffered from discriminatory behaviour, prejudice and intolerance. In addition, I started to learn about the Holocaust. I lived in a poor neighbourhood and poverty had a profound impact on me. During the 1960s and 1970s many political changes took place in Chile. Severe human rights violations occurred, not only in Chile but also in the different contexts of many other Latin American countries. I became much more aware of, and sensitive to, human rights and their ethical implications. I decided to make use of my educational knowledge towards recovering democracy. I became a strong supporter of human rights education as an ethical and moral imperative throughout Latin America. (shrink)
If Augustine's view of human sexuality is to be understood properly, it must be represented across the history of creation, fall and redemption. His notion of sexuality prior to the fall, although defective in its understanding of personal bodily presence, does integrate sexuality into the essentially human. His account of fallen sexuality expresses not a body-soul dualism but a disordering of the self which finds a partial and redemptive remedy in the "goods of marriage." His treatment of (...) sexuality in relation to redemption-in-course has a distinctively historical dimension that must be respected if sexuality is not to be left merely to the endless rhythms of nature, but drawn into the human story in its Christian telling. (shrink)
Abstract This study examined the effects of the Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO) human rights program on moral development and psychological functioning. The FHAO curriculum significantly increased 8th grade students? moral reasoning (Rest's 1979 Defining Issues Test) without adversely impacting on their psychological well?being (scores on depression, hopelessness or self?worth inventories). Girls were more empathic and had higher levels of social interest; boys had higher global self?worth scores; there were no differences between boys and girls in their moral (...) reasoning scores and no gender differences in the psychological impact of the course. This study adds to the literature which suggests that human rights education positively affects students? moral development. (shrink)
Introduction: The role of animals in philosophies of man -- Part I: What's wrong with animal rights? -- The right to remain silent -- Part II: Animal pedagogy -- You are what you eat : Rousseau's cat -- Say the human responded : Herder's sheep -- Part III: Difference worthy of its name -- Hair of the dog : Derrida's and Rousseau's good taste -- Sexual difference, animal difference : Derrida's sexy silkworm -- Part IV: It's our fault -- (...) The beaver's struggle with species-being : De Beauvoir and the praying mantis -- Answering the call of nature : Lacan walking the dog -- Part V: Estranged kinship -- The abyss between humans and animals : Heidegger puts the bee in being -- Strange kinship : Merleau-Ponty's sensuous stickleback -- Stopping the anthropological machine : Agamben's tick-tocking tick -- Psychoanalysis and the science of kinship -- Psychoanalysis as animal by-product : Freud's zoophilia -- Animal abjects, maternal abjects : Kristeva's strays -- Conclusion: Sustainable ethics. (shrink)
To Be Human presents Krishnamurti's radical vision of life in a new way. At the heart of this extraordinary collection are passages from the great teacher's talks that amplify and clarify the nature of truth and those obstacles that often prevent us from seeing it. Most of these core teachings have not been available in print until now. Besides presenting the core of Krishnamurti's message, the book alerts the reader to his innovative use of language, the ways in which (...) he would use "old words with new interpretations," then gives practical examples, showing that we can clarify our understanding of life itself--and act on this new understanding. The splendid introduction by David Skitt discusses Krishnamurti's philosophy as a guide to knowledge and experience, the roles knowledge and experience should play in our lives, and the times when it is best to cast them aside and "look and act anew." The book's source notes will aid the inquisitive reader who wishes a deeper understanding of this great teacher's message. (shrink)
Philosophers have traditionally concentrated on the qualities that make humanbeings different from other species. In Beast and Man Mary Midgley, one of our foremost intellectuals, stresses continuities. What makes people tick? Largely, she asserts, the same things as animals. She tells us humans are rather more like other animals than we previously allowed ourselves to believe, and reminds us just how primitive we are in comparison to the sophistication of many animals. A veritable classic for our age, (...) Beast and Man has helped change the way we think about ourselves and the world in which we live. (shrink)
I show the sense in which the concept of history as a human science affects our theory of the natural sciences and, therefore, our theory of the unity of the physical and human sciences. The argument proceeds by way of reviewing the effect of the Darwinian contribution regarding teleologism and of post-Darwinian paleonanthropology on the transformation of the primate members of Homo sapiens into societies of historied selves. The strategy provides a novel way of recovering the unity (...) of the sciences: by construing the physical sciences themselves as human sciences - and, therefore, as themselves historied. (shrink)
This is the first book-length study in any language to examine in detail and critically assess the second part of Kant's ethics--an empirical, impure part, which determines how best to apply pure principles to the human situation. Drawing attention to Kant's under-explored impure ethics, this revealing investigation refutes the common and long-standing misperception that Kants ethics advocates empty formalism. Making detailed use of a variety of Kantian texts never before translated into English, (...) author Robert B. Louden reassesses the strengths and weaknesses of Kantian ethics as a whole, once the second part is re-admitted to its rightful place within Kant's practical philosophy. (shrink)
Is morality too difficult for humanbeings? Kant said that it was, except with God's assistance. Contemporary moral philosophers have usually discussed the question without reference to Christian doctrine, and have either diminished the moral demand, exaggerated human moral capacity, or tried to find a substitute in nature for God's assistance. This book looks at these philosophers--from Kant and Kierkegaard to Swinburne, Russell, and R.M. Hare--and the alternative in Christianity.
The Challenge of Human Rights traces the history of human rights theory from classical antiquity through the enlightenment to the modern human rights movement, and analyses the significance of human rights in today’s increasingly globalized world. Provides an engaging study of the origin and the philosophical and political development of human rights discourse. Offers an original defence of human rights. Explores the significance of human rights in the context of increasing globalisation. Confronts (...) the major objections to human rights, including the charge of western ethical imperialism and cultural relativism. Argues that human rights logically culminate in an ethical cosmopolitanism to reflect the moral unity of the human race. (shrink)
Prologue : on the freedom of non-identity -- Otherwise than human (toward sovereignty) -- What is human recognition? (on zones of indistinction) -- Desubjectivation (Michel Foucault's aesthetics of experience) -- Becoming animal (some simple ways) -- Derrida's cat (who am I?).
The so-called Turing test, as it is usually interpreted, sets a benchmark standard for determining when we might call a machine intelligent. We can call a machine intelligent if the following is satisfied: if a group of wise observers were conversing with a machine through an exchange of typed messages, those observers could not tell whether they were talking to a human being or to a machine. To pass the test, the machine has to be intelligent but it also (...) should be responsive in a manner which cannot be distinguished from a human being. This standard interpretation presents the Turing test as a criterion for demarcating intelligent from non-intelligent entities. For a long time proponents of artificial intelligence have taken the Turing test as a goalpost for measuring progress. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: List of contributors; Acknowledgments; Introduction: the humanist tradition in Russian philosophy G. M. Hamburg and Randall A. Poole; Part I. The Nineteenth Century: 1. Slavophiles, Westernizers, and the birth of Russian philosophical humanism Sergey Horujy; 2. Alexander Herzen Derek Offord; 3. Materialism and the radical intelligentsia: the 1860s Victoria S. Frede; 4. Russian ethical humanism: from populism to neo-idealism Thomas Nemeth; Part II. Russian Metaphysical Idealism in Defense of Human Dignity: 5. Boris Chicherin and (...) class='Hi'>human dignity in history G. M. Hamburg; 6. Vladimir Solov'iev's philosophical anthropology: autonomy, dignity, perfectibility Randall A. Poole; 7. Russian panpsychism: Kozlov, Lopatin, Losskii James P. Scanlan; Part III. Humanity and Divinity in Russian Religious Philosophy after Solov'iev: 8. A Russian cosmodicy: Sergei Bulgakov's religious philosophy Paul Valliere; 9. Pavel Florenskii's trinitarian humanism Steven Cassedy; 10. Semën Frank's expressivist humanism Philip J. Swoboda; Part IV. Freedom and Human Perfectibility in the Silver Age: 11. Religious humanism in the Russian silver age Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal; 12. Russian liberalism and the philosophy of law Frances Nethercott; 13. Imagination and ideology in the new religious consciousness Robert Bird; 14. Eschatology and hope in silver age thought Judith Deutsch Kornblatt; Part V. Russian Philosophy in Revolution and Exile: 15. Russian Marxism Andrzej Walicki; 16. Adventures in dialectic and intuition: Shpet, Il'in, Losev Philip T. Grier; 17. Nikolai Berdiaev and the philosophical tasks of the emigration Stuart Finkel; 18. Eurasianism: affirming the person in an 'Era of Faith' Martin Beisswenger; Afterword: on persons as open-ended ends-in-themselves (the view from two novelists and two critics) Caryl Emerson; Bibliography. (shrink)
This article is the first in a two-part review of policy design for human embryo research in Canada. In this article we explain how this area of research is circumscribed by law promulgated by the federal Parliament (the Assisted Human Reproduction Act ) and by guidelines issued by the Tri-Agencies (the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and Updated Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research ). In so doing, we provide the first comprehensive (...) account of the rules currently governing human embryo research in Canada. In this article we also provide a chronological description of relevant policy initiatives and outcomes related to these policy instruments over the past 20 years, with particular attention to public involvement in policy design. This sets the stage for the second article (scheduled to appear in vol. 6 issue 3) in which we critically analyse the history of policy design for human embryo research in Canada, applying a typology of modes of public consultation developed by Eric Montpetit. Our goal is to carefully explain the various episodes of policy development and their corresponding outcomes, in order to more effectively address emerging questions about the legitimacy of future policy initiatives for human embryo research in Canada. (shrink)
The frequency of historical materialist explanations in evolutionary social sciences is very low even though historical materialism and evolutionism have great many shared aims towards explaining the long term social change. David Laibman in his Deep History (2007) picks up some of the standard questions of evolutionary social theory and aims at advancing the conception of historical materialism so as to develop a Marxist theory of history from an evolutionary point of view. The contribution of Laibman’s work is (...) to show that historical and materialist explanations are present both in Marxian and evolutionary interpretations of history, and moreover, the traditional borders of historical materialism can be enlarged so as to embrace evolutionary methodology in explaining social change. The unbalanced research methodology of Laibman’s work, however, reduces the evolutionary depth of his contribution. The two main shortcomings of Laibman’s work are discussed under the titles of “The Audience Problem” and “The Evolutionary Problem”. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Freedom and the Human Sciences * The Model of Biological Science and its Implications for the Human Sciences * The Answer to the Question What Is Man? * Pragmatic Anthropology * Philosophical History * Conclusion * Bibliography Freedom and the Human Sciences * The Model of Biological Science and its Implications for the Human Sciences * The Answer to the Question What Is Man? * Pragmatic Anthropology * Philosophical History * (...) Conclusion * Bibliography. (shrink)
Now I continue the investigation, begun in Homo Quaerens: The Seeker and the Sought, into the generic traits of persons from a philosophic point of view. I treat such special topics of my method, set forth in that book, as bear upon the person's intrapersonal aspects: namely, his body and such of its functions as contribute to his preconscious acts. In particular, I deal with those aspects insofar as they may be construed as straining, so to speak, toward that self-transcendence (...) which culminates in the veridical person - in effect, strands of subpersonal events which contribute to and converge upon his consummate personhood. In consequence, I explore the ontology of the person under the perspective of his naturalistically interpreted makeup; and I conceive my enterprise as propaedeutic to more generalized ontologic topics which I shall take up in subsequent books. (shrink)
Brian Rotman argues that (one) “mind” and (one) “god” are only conceivable, literally, because of (alphabetic) literacy, which allowed us to designate each of these ghosts as an incorporeal, speaker-independent “I” (or, in the case of infinity, a notional agent that goes on counting forever). I argue that to have a mind is to have the capacity to feel. No one can be sure which organisms feel, hence have minds, but it seems likely that one-celled organisms and plants do not, (...) whereas animals do. So minds originated before humans and before language --hence, a fortiori, before writing, whether alphabetic or ideographic. (shrink)