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 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 transfer of food among group members is a ubiquitous feature of small-scale forager and forager-agricultural populations. The uniqueness of pervasive sharing among humans, especially among unrelated individuals, has led researchers to evaluate numerous hypotheses about the adaptive functions and patterns of sharing in different ecologies. This article attempts to organize available cross-cultural evidence pertaining to several contentious evolutionary models: kin selection, reciprocal altruism, tolerated scrounging, and costly signaling. Debates about the relevance of these models focus primarily on the extent (...) to which individuals exert control over the distribution of foods they acquire, and the extent to which donors receive food or other fitness-enhancing benefits in return for shares given away. Each model can explain some of the variance in sharing patterns within groups, and so generalizations that ignore or deny the importance of any one model may be misleading. Careful multivariate analyses and cross-cultural comparisons of food transfer patterns are therefore necessary tools for assessing aspects of the sexual division of labor, human life history evolution, and the evolution of the family. This article also introduces a framework for better understanding variation in sharing behavior across small-scale traditional societies. I discuss the importance of resource ecology and the degree of coordination in acquisition activities as a key feature that influences sharing behavior. Key Words: behavioral ecology; cooperation; costly signaling; food sharing; foragers; reciprocal altruism. (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)
Introduction : points of departure -- A genealogy of the Christian colonial mindset : ex nihilo from disputed beginnings to orthodox origins -- Ex nihilo and the origin of an empire -- Ex nihilo, erasure and discovery? -- The cogito, ex nihilo, and the legacy of John Locke -- The creation ex nihilo of terra nullius lands : omnipotent nations and the logic of global-colonization -- From epistemologies of domination to grounded thinking -- Opening words about God onto creatio continua (...) -- Creatio continua "all the way down": a post-colonial, planetary understanding of continuing creation -- Conclusion : a brief thought after. (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)
Postmodernism was not launched by the development of Warholesque pop art in the 1960s, nor was it initiated by the explosive destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe modern housing project of St Louis, Missouri in 1972, or by the commissioning of Jean-Francois Lyotard's work on knowledge in advanced societies by the Quebec government in the late 1970s. Postmodernism began with the publication of a paper entitled `The individualistic concept of plant the association' in 1926 by the plant ecologist Henry Gleason. If we (...) dare to characterize postmodernism, emphases on ideas such as heterogeneity, ephemerality, anti-foundationalism, pluralism, fragmentation, indeterminacy, schizophrenia, chaos, antiformalism, discontinuity, absence, playfulness, irony, localism, anarchy and ontological meaninglessness are the ones that tend to abound. The Gleasonian theory of plant associations can be said to reflect such ideas in the ecological arena. Certainly there is room for, and an expanding professional commitment to, a fully-fledged neo-Gleasonian postmodern approach to natural history in which ecological phenomena are examined using non-determinist, pluralist and local perspectives that reject the foundationalism and unifying approach of modernist science and which posits a view of the Earth's biota highlighting fragmentation, anarchism and non-interaction. Community ecology, as opposed to the unifying and totalizing tendencies of ecosystems ecology, might rightly claim to be the intellectual site of such a postmodern natural history. Often, postmodern studies not only attempt to describe a postmodern phenomenon but act to forge new varieties of postmodernism. It is in this vein that this paper seeks to present a non-anthropocentric form of postmodernism; not by dissolving the dualistic barrier that separates humanity from nature (as many environmentalisms would advocate) but by dissolving humanity and nature. (shrink)
Environment is essentially in the category of culture and environmental research should be based on human value and culture. The study of the relationship between humans and their natural environment should also refer to human relations. Since the operational logic of social capital is the root of ecological crisis, the ultimate solution to this problem lies in human’s correct thinking, institutional, political and behavioral patterns in dealing with nature. Re-establishing humanecology therefore provides a cultural (...) basis for the harmony between human and nature and realistic basis for the psycho-physical harmony and spiritualization of humans. (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)
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.
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)
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 paper challenges the presumed triumph of laboratory life in the history of twentieth-century biomedical research through an exploration of the relationships between laboratory, clinic, and field in the regional understanding and treatment of allergy in America. In the early establishment of allergy clinics, many physicians opted to work closely with botanists knowledgeable about the local flora in the region to develop pollen extracts in desensitization treatments, rather than rely upon pharmaceutical companies that had adopted a principle of standardized (...) vaccines beholden to bacteriology that gave no thought to the particularities of place where their products were to be sold. Natural historical sciences like plant ecology and systematics furnished important knowledge, resources, and practices in establishing a medical marketplace for allergy in America. And botanists similarly profited from biomedicine and allergic bodies in extending their network of knowledge about the plant world. (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)
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 human beings 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)
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)
Bringing together some of the most eminent thinkers in the field, this book celebrates the seminal contribution of Ted Benton to such pressing themes as: realism, naturalism and the philosophy of the social sciences, the continuing relevance of Marxism, philosophical anthropology and human needs, and ecology, society and natural limits.
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)
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)
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)
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)
I attempt to complement my earlier critiques of human sociobiology, by offering an account of how evolutionary ideas might legitimately be employed in the study of human social behavior. The main emphasis of the paper is the need to integrate studies of proximate mechanisms and their ontogenesis with functional/evolutionary research. Human psychological complexity makes it impossible to focus simply on specific types of human behavior and ask for their functional significance. For any of the kinds of (...) behavior patterns that have occupied human sociobiologists, the underlying proximate mechanisms are very likely to be linked to a broad spectrum of types of behavior, and we cannot expect that natural selection will have acted directly on any individual element from this spectrum. I illustrate this general point with a specific example, considering the traditional sociobiological account of human incest-avoidance and outlining an alternative approach to the phenomena. The example is intended to show the possibility of a more rigorous and sophisticated successor to human sociobiology, which I call "human behavioral ecology". (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)
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)
Nowadays the real threat has appeared: "thinking man" will disappear from the planet, and his place will be taken by "information consuming man." The rapidly evolving spiritually dependent consumer will turn into a completely controlled human being. A value orientation that we did not create will entirely determine all our choices and dominate our attention. Both the values and the products of mass culture are being spread among consumers as extensively as possible by mechanisms of culture manufacture, in accord (...) with the technological opportunities of the modern culture industry, connected in many ways with the mass media, and are being consumed on the same level as other products offered in the modern market. It becomes clear that the ecology of consciousness, along with the ecology of human life, is the most urgent and the most current problem of contemporary society.The main tasks of a global ecology of consciousness are to understand the conditional character of the external system of values and the radical reorientation that is appropriate to it; to create a culture of life as the realization of the original boundlessly disclosing free spirit, manifested in the encounter of man and world; and to return from captivity to imaginary things to life as dialogue with the world. First of all it is necessary to advance to a deep ecological understanding of the world—an understanding of nature, completed in the "noosphere," as the unique and perfect home of human consciousness. When a human being recognizes "the internal eco-crisis" and discovers the chaos and senselessness behind the imaginary clarity, he inevitably realizes the necessity for radical changes. His activity is initiated by the deepest satisfaction accompanying the expansion of the bounds of perception. We are speaking about the integral human being, personifying in himself both nature and civilization at the point of their intersection, removing the contradictions between the physical and the spiritual, between naturalness and technological progress. (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)
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)
Part 1. Lecture 1. What is big history? ; Lecture 2. Moving across multiple scales ; Lecture 3. Simplicity and complexity ; Lecture 4. Evidence and the nature of science ; Lecture 5. Threshold 1, Origins of Big Bang cosmology ; Lecture 6. How did everything begin? ; Lecture 7. Threshold 2, The first stars and galaxies ; Lecture 8. Threshold 3, Making chemical elements ; Lecture 9. Threshold 4, The earth and the solar system ; Lecture 10. The (...) early earth, a short history ; Lecture 11. Plate tectonics and the earth's geography ; Lecture 12. Threshold 5, Life -- Part 2. Lecture 13. Darwin and natural selection ; Lecture 14. The evidence for natural selection ; Lecture 15. The origins of life ; Lecture 16. Life on earth, single-celled organisms ; Lecture 17. Life on earth, multi-celled organisms ; Lecture 18. Hominines ; Lecture 19. Evidence on hominine evolution ; Lecture 20. Threshold 6, What makes humans different? ; Lecture 21. Homo sapiens, the first humans ; Lecture 22. Paleolithic lifeways ; Lecture 23. Change in the Paleolithic Era ; Lecture 24. Threshold 7, agriculture -- Part 3. Lecture 25. The origins of agriculture ; Lecture 26. The first agrarian societies ; Lecture 27. Power and its origins ; Lecture 28. Early power structures ; Lecture 29. From villages to cities ; Lecture 30. Sumer, the first agrarian civilization ; Lecture 31. Agrarian civilizations in other regions ; Lecture 32. The world that agrarian civilizations made ; Lecture 33. Long trends, expansion and state power ; Lecture 34. Long trends, rates of innovation ; Lecture 35. Long trends, disease and Malthusian cycles ; Lecture 36. Comparing the world zones -- Part 4. Lecture 37. The Americas in the later Agrarian Era ; Lecture 38. Threshold 8, the modern revolution ; Lecture 39. The Medieval Malthusian Cycle, 500-1350 ; Lecture 40. The Early Modern Cycle, 1350-1700 ; Lecture 41. Breakthrough, the Industrial Revolution ; Lecture 42. Spread of the Industrial Revolution to 1900 ; Lecture 43. The 20th century ; Lecture 44. The world that the modern revolution made ; Lecture 45. Humanhistory and the biosphere ; Lecture 46. The next 100 years ; Lecture 47. The next millennium and the remote future ; Lecture 48. Big history, humans in the cosmos. (shrink)
Presents a provocatively anthropocentric analysis of the way forward for green politics and environmental movements, exposing the deficiencies and contradictions of green approaches to post-modern politics and deep ecology. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
A. Belden Fields invites people to think more deeply about human rights in this book in an attempt to overcome many of the traditional arguments in the human rights literature. He argues that human rights should be reconceptualized in a holistic way to combine philosophical, historical, and empirical-practical dimensions. Human rights are viewed not as a set of universal abstractions but rather as a set of past and ongoing social practices rooted in the claims and struggles (...) of peoples against what they consider to be political, economic, or social domination. By aptly showing how a people’s fight for recognition is often closely tied to rights claims, Fields argues that these connections to identity can help bridge the gulf between universalistic and cultural relativistic arguments in the human rights debate. (shrink)
This essay examines and compares two paradigms of technology, nature, and social life, and their associated environmental impacts. I explore moving from technocratic paradigms to the emerging ecological paradigms of planetary person ecosophies. The dominant technocratic philosophy's guiding policy and technological power is mechanistic. It conceptualizes nature as a resource to be controlled for human ends. Its global practices are drastically altering the integrity of the planet's ecosystems. In contrast, the organic, planetary person approaches respect the intrinsic values of (...) all beings. Deep ecology movement principles give priority to community and ecosystem integrity. These deep ecology movement principles guide the design and applications of technology by principles following from ecological understanding. I describe this shift in philosophical paradigms and how it affects our perceptions, values, and actions. (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.
Between the body and the breathing earth : on the phenomenology of depth perception -- To praise again : phenomenology and the project of ecopsychology -- Postphenomenology and the lifeworld : interconnections, relationships, and environmental wholes : a phenomenological ecology of natural and built worlds.
A Jewish introduction to the human sciences -- Responsive thinking: cultural studies and Jewish historiography -- Seasons and lifetimes -- Toward an anthropology of the twentieth century -- Tropes of home -- A moment of danger, a taste of death -- Extinction and difference.
How far do cultures affect the future of the planet? Can the debate on the environment and global warming be influenced by the cultures of East and West understanding each other better? In this consistently provocative dialogue, two of the most influential thinkers of recent times propose that only a 'human revolution' - a shift in the hearts and minds of individuals - can stimulate a revolution in humanity's relationship with the planet. Such a planetary revolution first requires a (...) transformation of moral and political leadership, and an orientation towards the future rather than a preoccupation with the short-termist policies of the present. Responding to humanity's ills from the Buddhist perspective, and with all the accumulated wisdom of the eastern philosophical tradition, Daisaku Ikeda calls for politicians to take as their mainstays a respect for the dignity of life and an eloquence to inspire in people a sense of community and courage. Correspondingly, renowned western economist and scholar of education Ricardo Diez-Hochleitner stresses the importance of proper educational planning and development in addressing the challenges posed by poverty, inequality and climate change. While acknowledging the scale of the task that lies ahead, both men offer an inspiring and hopeful vision for the future. (shrink)
- How can anthropology improve our understanding of the interrelationship between nature and culture? - What can anthropology contribute to practical debates which depend on particular definitions of nature, such as that concerning sustainable development? Humankind has evolved over several million years by living in and utilizing 'nature' and by assimilating it into 'culture'. Indeed, the technological and cultural advancement of the species has been widely acknowledged to rest upon human domination and control of nature. Yet, by the 1960s, (...) the idea of culture in confrontation with nature was being challenged by science, philosophy and the environmental movement. Anthropology is increasingly concerned with such issues as they become more urgent for humankind as a whole. This important book reviews the current state of the concepts of 'nature' we use, both as scientific devices and ideological constructs, and is organised around three themes: - nature as a cultural construction; - the cultural management of the environment; and - relations between plants, animals and humans. (shrink)
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)
Ecology, Community and Lifestyle is a revised and expanded translation of Naess' book Okologi, Samfunn og Livsstil, which sets out the author's thinking on the relevance of philosophy to the problems of environmental degradation and the rethinking of the relationship between mankind and nature. The text has been thoroughly updated by Naess and revised and translated by David Rothenberg.
A radical approach to the environment which argues that by harnessing the power of science for human benefit, we can have a healthier planet As a prizewinning theoretical physicist and an outspoken advocate for scientific literacy, James Trefil has long been the public's guide to a better understanding of the world. In this provocative book, Trefil looks squarely at our environmental future and finds-contrary to popular wisdom-reason to celebrate. For too long, Trefil argues, humans have treated nature as something (...) separate from themselves-pristine wilderness to be saved or material resources to be exploited. What we need instead is a scientific approach to the environment that embraces the human transformation of nature for our benefit. In Human Nature , Trefil exposes the benefits of genetically modified species, uncovers vital facts about droughts and global warming, and points to examples of environmental management where catering to humans reaps greater rewards than sheltering other species. By taking advantage of explosive advances in the sciences, we can fruitfully manage the planet, if we rise to the challenge. Like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb, Human Nature promises to fundamentally alter the way we perceive our relationship to the Earth-but with optimism rather than alarm. (shrink)
Wuthering Heights has proved exceptionally elusive to interpretation. By foregrounding the idea of human nature, Darwinian literary theory provides a framework within which we can assimilate previous insights about Wuthering Heights , delineate the norms Brontë shares with her projected audience, analyze her divided impulses, and explain the generic forms in which those impulses manifest themselves. Brontë herself presupposes a folk understanding of human nature in her audience. Evolutionary psychology converges with that folk understanding but provides explanations that (...) are broader and deeper. In addition to its explanatory power, a Darwinian approach has a naturalistic aesthetic dimension that is particularly important for interpreting Wuthering Heights. (shrink)
One of Kant’s central tenets concerning the human sciences is the claim that one need not, and should not, use a physiological vocabulary if one studies human cognitions, feelings, desires, and actions from the point of view of his “pragmatic” anthropology. The claim is well-known, but the arguments Kant advances for it have not been closely discussed. I argue against misguided interpretations of the claim, and I present his actual reasons in favor of it. Contemporary critics of a (...) “physiological anthropology” reject physiological explanations of mental states as more or less epistemologically dubious. Kant does not favor such ignorance claims – and this is for the good, since none of these claims was sufficiently justified at that time. Instead, he develops an original irrelevance thesis concerning the empirical knowledge of the physiological basis of the mind. His arguments for this claim derive from his original and up to now little understood criticism of a certain conception of pragmatic history, related to his anthropological insights concerning our ability to create new rules of action, the social dynamics of human action, and the relative inconstancy of human nature. The irrelevance thesis also changes his views of the goal and methodology of anthropology. Kant thereby argues for a distinctive approach in quest for a general “science of man”. (shrink)
An illustrative comparison of human rights in 1948 and the contemporary period, attempting to gauge the impact of globalization on changes in the content of human rights (e.g., collective rights, women's rights, right to a healthy environment), major abusers and guarantors of human rights (e.g., state actors, transnational corporations, social movements), and alternative justifications of human rights (e.g., pragmatic agreement, moral intuitionism, overlapping consensus, cross-cultural dialogue).
In 1990 the Human Genome Project (HGP) was launched as an important historical marker, a pivotal contribution to the time-old quest for human self-knowledge. However, when in 2001 two major publications heralded its completion, it seemed difficult to make out how the desire for self-knowledge had really been furthered by this endeavor (IHGSC 2001; Venter et al. 2001). In various ways mankind seems to stand out from other organisms as a unique type of living entity, developing a critical (...) perspective on its own behavior and consciously engaged in building a complex society of its own making—and therefore increasingly able to determine the conditions of its own evolution. However, this uniqueness is not easily and .. (shrink)
This paper addresses three questions central to the ethical analysis of risks and potential benefits in human subjects research: 1. How was the ethical analysis of risk understood by the members of the U.S. National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (National Commission)? 2. What conceptual framework should guide the ethical analysis of risk? 3. What changes to U.S. regulations would the implementation of such a framework require?
Since Krebs and Davies’s (1978) landmark publication, it is acknowledged that behavioural ecology owes much to the ethological tradition in the study of animal behaviour. Although this assumption seems to be right—many of the first behavioural ecologists were trained in departments where ethology developed and matured—it still to be properly assessed. In this paper, I undertake to identify the approaches used by ethologists that contributed to behavioural ecology’s constitution as a field of inquiry. It is my contention that (...) the current practices in behavioural biology owe ethology something much subtler than the simple transposition of Tinbergen’s Four Problems for heuristic purposes. Demonstrating what ethology inherited from the long naturalist tradition shows the tensions that strained the field and that later led to the loss of both its unity and its specificity. It also allows for a precise delineating of what behavioural ecology picked up from the ethological practice, and it helps to cast some light on the introduction of economical thinking in behavioural sciences. (shrink)