In this controversial new book O'Hear takes a stand against the fashion for explaining human behavior in terms of evolution. He contends that while the theory of evolution is successful in explaining the development of the natural world in general, it is of limited value when applied to the human world. Because of our reflectiveness and our rationality we take on goals and ideals which cannot be justified in terms of survival-promotion or reproductive advantage. O'Hear examines (...) the nature of human self-consciousness, and argues that evolutionary theory cannot give a satisfactory account of such distinctive facets of human life as the quest for knowledge, moral sense, and the appreciation of beauty; in these we transcend our biological origins. It is our rationality that allows each of us to go beyond not only our biological but also our cultural inheritance: as the author says in the Preface, "we are prisoners neither of our genes nor of the ideas we encounter as we each make our personal and individual way through life.". (shrink)
Humanevolution 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.
Human Nature After Darwin is an original investigation of the implications of Darwinism for our understanding of ourselves and our situation. It casts new light on current Darwinian controversies, and in doing so provides an introduction to philosophical reasoning and a range of philosophical problems. Janet Radcliffe Richards claims that many current battles about Darwinism, in particular about evolutionary psychology and religion, are based on mistaken assumptions about the implications of the rival views. Her analysis of these implications provides (...) a much-needed guide to the fundamentals of Darwinism and the so-called Darwin-wars, as well as providing a set of philosophical techniques relevant to wide areas of moral and political debate. It also raises philosophical problems of knowledge and certainly, free will and responsibility, altruism, the status of ethics, and the relevance of Darwinism to questions of ethics, politics and religion. The lucid presentation makes the book an ideal introduction to both philosophy and Darwinism, as well as a substantive contribution to topics of intense current controversy. It will be of interest to students of philosophy, science and the social sciences, and critical thinking. (shrink)
This is a review article of Charles Beitz's 2009 book on the philosophy of human rights, The Idea of Human Rights. The article provides a charitable overview of the book's main arguments, but also raises some doubts about the depth of the distinction between Beitz's 'practical' approach to humans rights and its 'naturalistic' counterparts.
One way to understand science is as a selection process. David Hull, one of the dominant figures in contemporary philosophy of science, sets out in this volume a general analysis of this selection process that applies equally to biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, operant learning, and social and conceptual change in science. Hull aims to distinguish between those characteristics that are contingent features of selection and those that are essential. Science and Selection brings (...) together many of David Hull's most important essays on selection (some never before published) in one accessible volume. (shrink)
Nietzsche, Biology and Metaphor explores the German philosopher's response to the intellectual debates sparked by the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. By examining the abundance of biological metaphors in Nietzsche's writings, Gregory Moore questions his recent reputation as an eminently subversive and (post) modern thinker, and shows how deeply Nietzsche was immersed in late nineteenth-century debates on evolution, degeneration and race. The first part of the book provides a detailed study and new interpretation of Nietzsche's much disputed (...) relationship to Darwinism. Uniquely, Moore also considers the importance of Nietzsche's evolutionary perspective for the development of his moral and aesthetic philosophy. The second part analyzes key themes of Nietzsche's cultural criticism - his attack on the Judaeo-Christian tradition, his diagnosis of the nihilistic crisis afflicting modernity and his anti-Wagnerian polemics - against the background of fin-de-siècle fears about the imminent biological collapse of Western civilization. (shrink)
In a critical review of late twentieth-century gene-culture co-evolutionary models labelled as ‘global phylogeny’, the authors present evidence for the long legacy of co-evolutionary theories in European-based thinking, highlighting that (1) ideas of social and cultural evolution preceded the idea of biological evolution, (2) linguistics played a dominant role in the formation of a unified theory of human co-evolution, and (3) that co-evolutionary thinking was only possible due to perpetuated and renewed transdisciplinary reticulations between scholars of (...) different disciplines—especially within the integrative framework of the ‘humanid’ and the ‘hominid’ branches of anthropology. (shrink)
Introduction -- Defending a socio-biological account of morality -- Non-objectivist evolutionary ethics -- Recent objectivist approaches to evolutionary ethics -- Sketch of an Aristotelian evolutionary ethics -- Evolutionary biology and the moral status of animals -- Faith, reason, and evolutionary epistemology -- Psychological egoism and evolutionary biology -- Evolution and free will : darwinian non-naturalism defended -- Recent developments in philosophy of evolution.
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)
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. Human history 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)
Introduction -- Landscape and longing -- Art and human nature -- What is art? -- But they don't have our concept of art -- Art and natural selection -- The uses of fiction -- Art and human self-domestication -- Intention, forgery, dada : three aesthetic problems -- The contingency of aesthetic values -- Greatness in the arts.
Philosophical anthropology is concerned with assumptions about human nature, differential psychology with the empirical investigation of such belief systems. A questionnaire composed of 64 questions concerning brain and consciousness, free will, evolution, meaning of life, belief in God, and theodicy problem was used to gather data from 563 students of psychology at seven universities and from 233 students enrolled in philosophy or the natural sciences. Essential concepts were monism–dualism–complementarity, atheism–agnosticism–deism–theism, attitude toward transcendence–immanence, and self-ratings of religiosity and (...) interest in meaning of life. The response profiles (Menschenbild) of women and men, and of psychology students in the first and midterm of study were very similar. The method of statistical twins indicated a number of differences between students of psychology, philosophy, and the natural sciences. The majority of respondents were convinced that philosophical preconceptions on mind–body and free will have important practical implications for the way in which psychotherapists, physicians, or and judges exercise their professions. (shrink)
Evolutionary thinking has expanded in the last decades, spreading from its traditional stronghold - the explanation of speciation and adaptation in Biology - to new domains including the human sciences. The essays in this collection attest to the illuminating power of evolutionary thinking when applied to the understanding of the human mind. The contributors to Cognition, Evolution and Rationality use an evolutionary standpoint to approach the nature of the human mind, including both cognitive and behavioral functions. (...) Cognitive science is by its nature an interdisciplinary subject and the essays use a variety of disciplines including the Philosophy of Science, the Philosophy of Mind, Game Theory, Robotics and Computational Neuroanatomy to investigate the workings of the mind. The topics covered by the essays range from general methodological issues to long-standing philosophical problems such as how rational human beings actually are. This book will be of interest across a number of fields, including philosophy, evolutionary theory and cognitive science. (shrink)
In the middle period of the century of American thought with which our symposium is concerned, there was one idea which so far overshadowed all others that we may fairly confine our attention to it. That idea was evolution.
This review of John Russon's Human Experience: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life focuses on Russon's position that experience is open (having a developmental, situated and dynamic, rather than fixed, structure) and figured (having a structure inseparable from forms of bodily function), and that mind is something learned in the process of working out experience as figured and open. These themes are drawn together in relation to recent scientific discussions (e.g., of bodily dynamics, mirror neurons, robotic (...) systems and thermodynamics), to show how Russon's view challenges deep philosophical assumptions in prevailing accounts of mind, body and experience. (shrink)
In this work Tim Ingold provides a persuasive new approach to the theory behind our perception of the world around us. The core of the argument is that where we refer to cultural variation we should be instead be talking about variation in skill. Neither genetically innate or culturally acquired, skills are incorporated into the human organism through practice and training in an environment.They are as much biological as cultural.
I examine John McDowell's attitude towards naturalism in general, and evolutionary theory in particular, by distinguishing between "transcendental descriptions" and "empirical explanations". With this distinction in view we can understand why McDowell holds that there is both continuity and discontinuity between humans qua rational animals and other animals -- there is continuity with regards to empirical explanations and discontinuity with regards to transcendental descriptions. The result of this examination is a clearer assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of McDowell's contribution (...) to philosophical naturalism. (shrink)
How to point : a primer for Martians -- What it takes to be a pointer -- Do animals get the point? -- People who don't point -- Pinning language to the world -- Pointing and power -- Assisted pointing and pointing by proxy -- The transcendent animal : pointing and the beyond.
Psychological evidence suggests that laypeople understand the world around them in terms of intuitive ontologies which describe broad categories of objects in the world, such as ‘person’, ‘artefact’ and ‘animal’. However, because intuitive ontologies are the result of natural selection, they only need to be adaptive; this does not guarantee that the knowledge they provide is a genuine reflection of causal mechanisms in the world. As a result, science has parted ways with intuitive ontologies. Nevertheless, since the brain is evolved (...) to understand objects in the world according to these categories, we can expect that they continue to play a role in scientific understanding. Taking the case of humanevolution, we explore relationships between intuitive ontological and scientific understanding. We show that intuitive ontologies not only shape intuitions on humanevolution, but also guide the direction and topics of interest in its research programmes. Elucidating the relationships between intuitive ontologies and science may help us gain a clearer insight into scientific understanding. (shrink)
The concept of preadaptation, though useful, continues to trouble evolutionary scientists. Usually, it is treated as if it were really adaptation, prompting such diverse theorists as Gould and Vrba, and Dennett to suggest its removal from evolutionary theory altogether. In this paper, I argue that the as-if sense is ill-founded, and that the sense of preadaptation as a process may be defended as unequivocal and generally useful in evolutionary explanations, even in such problem areas as humanevolution.
This new volume of philosophical papers by Bernard Williams is divided into three sections: the first Action, Freedom, Responsibility, the second Philosophy, Evolution and the Human Sciences; in which appears the essay which gives the collection its title; and the third Ethics, which contains essays closely related to his 1983 book Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Like the two earlier volumes of Williams's papers published by Cambridge University Press, Problems of the Self and Moral Luck, (...) this volume will be welcomed by all readers with a serious interest in philosophy. It is published alongside a volume of essays on Williams's work, World, Mind, and Ethics: Essays on the Ethical Philosophy of Bernard Williams, edited by J. E. J. Altham and Ross Harrison, which provides a reappraisal of his work by other distinguished thinkers in the field. (shrink)
The revised edition of Paul Seabright’s The Company of Strangers is critically reviewed. Seabright aims to help non-economists participating in the cross-disciplinary study of the evolution of human sociality appreciate the potential value that can be added by economists. Though the book includes nicely constructed and vivid essays on a range of economic topics, in its main ambition it largely falls short. The most serious problem is endorsement of the so-called strong reciprocity hypothesis that has been promoted by (...) several prominent economists, but does not pass muster with biologists. (shrink)
There is a tendency in both scientific and humanistic disciplines to think of biological evolution in humans as significantly impeded if not completely overwhelmed by the robust cultural and technological capabilities of the species. The aim of this article is to make sense of and evaluate this claim. In Section 2 , I flesh out the argument that humans are ‘insulated’ from ordinary evolutionary mechanisms in terms of our contemporary biological understandings of phenotypic plasticity, niche construction, and cultural transmission. (...) In Section 3 , I consider two obvious objections to the above argument based on the growing literatures related to gene-culture coevolution and recent positive selection on the human genome, as well as a pair of less common objections relating to the connection between plasticity, population size and evolvability. In Section 4 , I argue that both the ‘human evolutionary stasis argument’ and its various detractor theories are premised on a fundamental conceptual flaw: they take evolutionary stasis for granted, since they fail to conceive of stabilizing selection as a type of evolution and drift as a universal tendency that dominates in the absence of selection. Without the continued operation of natural selection, the very properties that are purported to reduce the evolutionary response to selection in humans would themselves drift into non-functionality. I conclude that properly conceived, biological evolution is a permanent and ineradicable fixture of any species, including Homo sapiens. (shrink)
The idea of the élan vital is crucial for an understanding of Bergson’s metaphysical method, underpinning the way in which philosophy stands with other forms of creative activity as an endeavour of “self-overcoming,” the self or subject no longer being at the centre of thought, but understood rather as a product of the process of thinking. In placing a special emphasis on Bergson’s 1907 work, Creative Evolution, the present essay is both an acknowledgement and challenge to the shift (...) from early interpretations of Bergson in which comparisons were made with thinkers such as Schelling and Schopenhauer, to more recent engagements centred on the theories of perception and memory. The aim of this essay is to formulate a response to the marginalized status of Creative Evolution in the “perception-based” strands of Bergson scholarship, by emphasising how Bergson’s theories of memory and consciousness are a means for understanding his definition of evolutionary “creativity.” Bergson suggests that the analysis of consciousness or “will” can provide us with a way of thinking about this creative movement of life, which is not a concept of a “cause” or “origin” in the sense of a “state of nature” (substance, essence, or “being”), but rather the operation of pure tendency. (shrink)
This essay critiques dual-inheritance theory as presented in Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd's book Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed HumanEvolution (2005). The theory states that culture became prominent in humanevolution because it allowed relatively rapid adaptation to changing environments by means of imitation. Imitating the behavior of other members of one's community produces adaptive behaviors more readily than either genetic evolution or individual learning. Imitation follows a number of patterns: imitating high-status (...) individuals, imitating the most common forms of behavior, imitating behaviors perceived to be the most effective solutions to various problems relevant to survival. This process combined with occasional innovations in behavior lead to a process of cultural evolution involving populations of cultural variants. Different local human populations were associated with different local populations of cultural variants, and both the human and the cultural populations evolved over time. Humanevolution cannot be understood without taking into account these parallel processes of genetic and cultural evolution. Not by Genes Alone traces the implication of dual-inheritance theory for understanding humanevolution and refers to various bodies of evidence relevant to the theory. (shrink)
Evolutionary development is sometimes thought of as exhibiting an inexorable trend towards higher, more complex, and normatively worthwhile forms of life. This paper explores some dystopian scenarios where freewheeling evolutionary developments, while continuing to produce complex and intelligent forms of organization, lead to the gradual elimination of all forms of being that we care about. We then consider how such catastrophic outcomes could be avoided and argue that under certain conditions the only possible remedy would be a globally coordinated policy (...) to control humanevolution by modifying the fitness function of future intelligent life forms. (shrink)
As anxiety about environmental change and its effects grows, we need to understand both the scientific processes and the ethical and aesthetic judgments involved in deciding which changes we should welcome and promote and which we should try to avoid. In Environmental Philosophy Christopher Belshaw examines the current debates on the environment, focusing on questions of value while also taking into account relevant issues in epistemology and metaphysics. Beginning with an overview of current concerns, Belshaw locates our attitudes toward (...) the environment within their cultural and historical milieu. He then examines the various positions in detail, ranging from the moderate view that we ought to consider not only ourselves but also other animals, to the seemingly more extravagant contention that non-sentient life, rocks, deserts B indeed all of the processes of nature B should be considered intrinsically valuable. In later chapters Belshaw explores the importance of an aesthetic response to the environment, opening the way for a human-centred position that is both more generous and more flexible than those often advanced elsewhere. In contrast to many of its competitors, Environmental Philosophy challenges accepted dichotomies - man/nature, instrumental/intrinsic, green/non-green - and advocates conciliation rather than confrontation. Although the arguments are rigorous, the writing is clear and non-technical, making Environmental Philosophy an excellent survey for those engaging with these issues for the first time, as well as offering much to challenge the more advanced student. (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 (...)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 paper considers whether the available evidence from archeology, biological anthropology, primatology, and comparative gene-sequencing, can test evolutionary game theory models of cooperation as historical hypotheses about the actual course of human prehistory. The examination proceeds on the assumption that cooperation is the product of cultural selection and is not a genetically encoded trait. Nevertheless, we conclude that gene sequence data may yet shed significant light on the evolution of cooperation.
The Young Karl Marx is an innovative and important new study of Marx’s early writings. These writings provide the fascinating spectacle of a powerful and imaginative intellect wrestling with complex and significant issues, but they also present formidable interpretative obstacles to modern readers. David Leopold shows how an understanding of their intellectual and cultural context can illuminate the political dimension of these works. An erudite yet accessible discussion of Marx’s influences and targets frames the author’s critical engagement with Marx’s account (...) of the emergence, character, and (future) replacement of the modern state. This combination of historical and analytical approaches results in a sympathetic, but not uncritical, exploration of such fundamental themes as alienation, citizenship, community, antisemitism, and utopianism. The Young Karl Marx is a scholarly and original work which provides a radical and persuasive reinterpretation of Marx’s complex and often misunderstood views of German philosophy, modern politics, and human flourishing. (shrink)
The Spiritual Dimension offers a new model for the philosophy of religion, bringing together emotional and intellectual aspects of our human experience, and embracing practical as well as theoretical concerns. It shows how a religious worldview is best understood not as an isolated set of doctrines, but as intimately related to spiritual praxis and to the search for self-understanding and moral growth. It argues that the religious quest requires a certain emotional openness, but can be pursued without sacrificing (...) our philosophical integrity. Touching on many important debates in contemporary philosophy and theology, but accessible to general readers, The Spiritual Dimension covers a range of central topics in the philosophy of religion, including scientific cosmology and the problem of evil; ethical theory and the objectivity of goodness; psychoanalytic thought, self-discovery and virtue; the multi-layered nature of religious discourse; and the relation between faith and evidence. (shrink)
The German philosopher Robert Spaemann provides an important contribution to a number of contemporary debates in philosophy and theology, opening up possibilities for conversation between these disciplines. He engages in a dialogue with classical and contemporary positions and often formulates important and original insights which lie beyond common alternatives. In this study Holger Zaborowski provides an analysis of the most important features of Spaemann's philosophy and shows the unity of his thought. The question 'Who is a person?' is (...) of increasing significance: Are all human beings persons? Are there animals that can be considered persons? What does it mean to speak of personal identity and of the dignity of the person? Spaemann provides an answer to these questions: Every human being, he argues, is a person and, therefore, 'has' his nature in freedom. In order to understand the person, Spaemann explains, we have to think about the relation between nature and freedom and avoid the reductive accounts of this relation prevalent in important strands of modern thought. Spaemann develops a challenging critique of modernity, incorporating analysis of modern anti-modernisms and showing that these are also subject to a dialectical development, perpetuating the problematic shortcomings of many features of modern reasoning. If we do not want to abolish ourselves as persons, Spaemann reasons, we need to find a way of understanding ourselves that evades the dialectic of modernity. Thus, he reminds his readers of 'self-evident' knowledge: insights that we have once already known, but tend to forget. (shrink)
Charles Taylor has been one of the most original and influential figures in contemporary philosophy: his 'philosophical anthropology' spans an unusually wide range of theoretical interests and draws creatively on both Anglo-American and Continental traditions in philosophy. A selection of his published papers is presented here in two volumes, structured to indicate the direction and essential unity of the work. He starts from a polemical concern with behaviourism and other reductionist theories (particularly in psychology and the philosophy (...) of language) which aim to model the study of man on the natural sciences. This leads to a general critique of naturalism, its historical development and its importance for modern culture and consciousness; and that in turn points, forward to a positive account of human agency and the self, the constitutive role of language and value, and the scope of practical reason. The volumes jointly present some two decades of work on these fundamental themes, and convey strongly the tenacity, verve and versatility of the author in grappling with them. They will interest a very wide range of philosophers and students of the human sciences. (shrink)
P. M. S. Hacker 1. The poverty of philosophy as a science Throughout its history philosophy has been thought to be a member of a community of intellectual disciplines united by their common pursuit of knowledge. It has sometimes been thought to be the queen of the sciences, at other times merely their under-labourer. But irrespective of its social status, it was held to be a participant in the quest for knowledge – a cognitive discipline. Cognitive disciplines may (...) be a priori or empirical. The distinction between what is a priori and what is empirical is epistemological. It turns, as Frege noted, on the ultimate justification for holding something to be true.1 If the truths which a cognitive discipline attains are warranted neither by observation nor by experiment (nor by inference therefrom), then they are a priori. Otherwise they are empirical. The natural and moral sciences (the Geisteswissenschaften) strive for and attain empirical knowledge.2 The mathematical sciences are a priori. Cognitive disciplines have a distinctive subject matter, concerning which they aim to add to human knowledge. Physics deals with matter, motion, and energy, chemistry with the constitution of stuffs out of elements, biology with the nature of living beings, history with ‘the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind’ (Gibbon), and so forth. The empirical sciences aim not only to discover truths but also to explain the phenomena they study. The natural sciences produce theories (typically with predictive powers) to explain the facts and laws they discover. The moral sciences too aim to explain the phenomena they study – although not to the same extent by way of theory and general laws; and their predictive powers, if any, are more limited. Mathematics and logic strive to produce theorems by means of proofs, and are.. (shrink)
This paper defends two initial claims. First, it argues that essentially the same cognitive resources are shared by adult creative thinking and problem-solving, on the one hand, and by childhood pretend play, on the other—namely, capacities to generate and to reason with suppositions (or imagined possibilities). Second, it argues that the evolutionary function of childhood pretence is to practice and enhance adult forms of creativity. The paper goes on to show how these proposals can provide a smooth and evolutionarily-plausible explanation (...) of the gap between the first appearance of our species in Southern Africa some 100,000 years ago, and the ‘creative explosion’ of cultural, technological and artistic change which took place within dispersed human populations some 60,000 years later. The intention of the paper is to sketch a proposal which might serve as a guide for future interdisciplinary research. 1 Introduction 2 Creativity and Pretence 3 Language and Creativity 4 Language and Cultural Accretions 5 Language, Play and Model-Building 6 Creativity, Protean Cognition and Sexual Selection 7 The Evolution of Pretence 8 The Emergence of Supposing 9 Pretence and Motivation 10 Two Objections 11 Conclusion. (shrink)
Denis Dutton’s The Art Instinct succeeds admirably in showing that it is possible to think about art from a biological point of view, and this is a significant achievement, given that resistance to the idea that cultural phenomena have biological underpinnings remains widespread in many academic disciplines. However, his account of the origins of our artistic impulses and the far-reaching conclusions he draws from that account are not persuasive. This article points out a number of problems: in particular, problems with (...) Dutton’s appeal to sexual selection, with his discussion of the adaptation/by-product distinction and its significance, and with drawing normative conclusions from evolutionary hypotheses. (shrink)
Genomics has brought biology, medicine, agriculture, psychology, anthropology, and even philosophy to a new threshold. In this new context, the question about "what is human in humans" may end up being answered by geneticists, specialists of technoscience, and owners of biotech companies. The author defends, in this article, the idea that humanity is at risk in our age of genetic engineering, biotechnologies, and market-geared genetic research; he also argues that the values at the very core of our postgenomic (...) era bring to its peak the science-based ideology that has developed since the time of Galileo, Newton, Descartes, and Harvey; finally, it shows that the bioindustry has invented a new genomythology that goes against the scientific evidence produced by the research in human sciences in which life is interpreted as a language. (shrink)
Michael Ruse’s new anthology Philosophy After Darwin provides great history and background in the major impacts Darwinism has had on philosophy, especially in ethics and epistemology. This review focuses on epistemology understood through the lens of evolution by natural selection. I focus on one of Ruse’s own articles in the collection, which responds to two classic articles by Konrad Lorenz and David Hull on the two major forms of evolutionary epistemology. I side with Ruse against Lorenz’s account (...) of the necessity we think our principles of reasoning have, though I disagree with Ruse’s particular example. I also argue that Ruse’s alternative explanation is lacking. Against Hull, I side with Ruse in his doubts that a sociobiological approach to science will prove fruitful, though I point out that it has certain advantages other approaches do not have. Although I side with Ruse on the issue, I conclude that the two views do not really come into direct conflict and so one needs not reject either. Finally, I discuss Ruse’s positive view and raise questions for his conception of evolutionary epistemology. I conclude that his arguments are insufficient to overcome opposing views and his view has at least as many unintuitive conclusions as the alternatives. (shrink)
Michael Tomasello’s new book Why We Cooperate explores the ontogeny and evolution of human altruism and human cooperation, paying particular attention to how such behaviors allow humans to create social institutions.
Throughout the medieval and modern periods, in various sacred and secular guises, the unification of all forms of knowledge under the rubric of ‘science’ has been taken as the prerogative of humanity as a species. However, as our sense of species privilege has been called increasingly into question, so too has the very salience of ‘humanity’ and ‘science’ as general categories, let alone ones that might bear some essential relationship to each other. After showing how the ascendant Stanford School in (...) the philosophy of science has contributed to this joint demystification of ‘humanity’ and ‘science’, I proceed on a more positive note to a conceptual framework for making sense of science as the art of being human. My understanding of ‘science’ is indebted to the red thread that runs from Christian theology through the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment to the Humboldtian revival of the university as the site for the synthesis of knowledge as the culmination of self-development. Especially salient to this idea is science‘s epistemic capacity to manage modality (i.e. to determine the conditions under which possibilities can be actualised) and its political capacity to organize humanity into projects of universal concern. However, the challenge facing such an ideal in the twentyfirst century is that the predicate ‘human’ may be projected in three quite distinct ways, governed by what I call ‘ecological’, ‘biomedical’ and ‘cybernetic’ interests. Which one of these future humanities would claim today’s humans as proper ancestors and could these futures co-habit the same world thus become two important questions that general philosophy of science will need to address in the coming years. (shrink)
Any society can have its own worthy place in the history of human civilization, if human problem in it becomes a core, a base of politics and world outlook, economy and culture, morality and science and all main goals of social practice are re-comprehended on this base. In public theory human problem has an important place. For a long time function of philosophy was in elucidation of nature and essence of a man and his attitude to (...) the world. In theory of a man methodological problem about specific features of a man as an object and subject of cognition is starting. Peculiarity of a man as an object of cognition is in complex interweaving of various sides: biological, psychological, and social. Peculiarity of a man as a subject of cognition is expressed in regular increase of his potential intellectual resources. (shrink)
Here we propose a new theory for the origins and evolution of human warfare as a complex social phenomenon involving several behavioral traits, including aggression, risk taking, male bonding, ingroup altruism, outgroup xenophobia, dominance and subordination, and territoriality, all of which are encoded in the human genome. Among the family of great apes only chimpanzees and humans engage in war; consequently, warfare emerged in their immediate common ancestor that lived in patrilocal groups who fought one another for (...) females. The reasons for warfare changed when the common ancestor females began to immigrate into the groups of their choice, and again, during the agricultural revolution. (shrink)
To operationalize the methodological assessment of evolutionary psychology, three requirements are proposed that, if satisfied, would show that a hypothesis is not a just-so story: (1) theoretical entrenchment (i.e., that the hypothesis under consideration is a consequence of a more fundamental theory that is empirically well-confirmed across a very wide range of phenomena), (2) predictive success (i.e., that the hypothesis generates concrete predictions that make it testable and eventually to a certain extent corroborated), and (3) failure of rival explanations (i.e., (...) that crucial and successful predictions attributed to the hypothesis in question cannot be derived from alternative hypotheses). The author argues that the hypothesis about evolutionary sex differences in human jealousy satisfies all three requirements. Key Words: evolutionary psychology adaptationism philosophy of science testability. (shrink)
Wang, Kai 王楷, Naturalistic Human Nature and Cultivation of the Self: The Spirit of Xunzi’s Virtue Philosophy 天然與修為—荀子道德哲學的精神. Beijing 北京: Peking University Press, 2011, 206 pages Content Type Journal Article Pages 115-118 DOI 10.1007/s11712-011-9252-z Authors Elizabeth Woo Li, Department of Philosophy, Peking University, Beijing, China Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 11 Journal Issue Volume 11, Number 1.
Guo, Xiaodong 郭曉東, Comprehending Benevolence and Controlling Human Proclivity : A Study of Cheng Mingdao’s Philosophy from the Perspective of Moral Cultivation 識仁與定性 : 功夫論視域下的程明道哲學研究 Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11712-009-9143-8 Authors Tze-ki Hon, State University of New York, SUNY-Geneseo History Department 1 College Circle Geneseo NY 14454 USA Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 9 Journal Issue Volume 9, Number 1.
Making meaning out of life requires effort, sustained thought and action. It can be difficult to reassert our responsibility for solving real life problems from within social science research or current trends, such as extremely deconstructivist text, and postmodernism in its cheerfully nihilistic guise. Hermeneutical philosophy, of the Ricoeurian reconstructive mode, rehabilitates text as a powerful device for influencing others and offers us courage to proceed with the human project by developing a way of writing, thinking and behaving (...) that is provisional, affirmative and conciliatory, yet constantly questioning. Ricoeur invites the person, both reflective subject and empiricist object of research, to combine these elements and use written text and action as text for an active mode of living. Within philosophy he attempts to achieve a rapprochement between hermeneutical and rational thought. Understanding oneself, through better understanding of the other, derives benefit from crossing disciplinary boundaries between, in this study, philosophy and the social sciences (education and psychology), in order to attempt to move from the particular, individual issues to the general, holistic view and return to ones own situation to act for oneself and others. Ricoeur offers us the opportunity to repossess language, to be ethical and practical, and to challenge the hegemony of Explaining, going beyond method and methodology into epistemology and beyond fact into Understanding: an ontology of hope that makes sense of plurality, without the damage of relativism. This text attempts a narrative ethics, illustrating how Ricoeurs work transformed my thinking from that of a method-bound psychologist to that of, perhaps, a philosopher in the making. Key Words: critical realism hermeneutics holism Hollis individualism Norris rational analytic Ricoeur self text. (shrink)
This article counters the popular misunderstanding that China lacks a conception of human rights in its philosophical heritage. The authors demonstrate that even divergent traditions such as Classical Confucianism and Mohism provide strong and pervasive antecedents for human rights ideology, and both have much to contribute to the contemporary Chinese articulation of human rights theory and practice. The first part of the article shows that traditional Confucian values have the capacity to produce a social environment in which (...) rights outcomes are realized, yet without recourse to the full legal mechanisms of Western claim-rights. The second part of the article reveals that Mohism offers several insights and motivations for contemporary human rights ideology. Thus, the authors substantiate that historic Chinese philosophy supports a meaningful framework for human rights, refuting the claim that human rights is alien to the Chinese way. (shrink)
The DSM-III, DSM-IV, DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 have judiciously minimized discussion of etiologies to distance clinical psychiatry from Freudian psychoanalysis. With this goal mostly achieved, discussion of etiological factors should be reintroduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). A research agenda for the DSM-V advocated the "development of a pathophysiologically based classification system". The author critically reviews the neuroevolutionary literature on stress-induced and fear circuitry disorders and related amygdala-driven, species-atypical fear behaviors of clinical severity in (...) adult humans. Over 30 empirically testable/falsifiable predictions are presented. It is noted that in DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10, the classification of stress and fear circuitry disorders is neither mode-of-acquisition-based nor brain-evolution-based. For example, snake phobia (innate) and dog phobia (overconsolidational) are clustered together. Similarly, research on blood-injection-injury-type-specific phobia clusters two fears different in their innateness: 1) an arguably ontogenetic memory-trace-overconsolidation-based fear (hospital phobia) and 2) a hardwired (innate) fear of the sight of one's blood or a sharp object penetrating one's skin. Genetic architecture-charting of fear-circuitry-related traits has been challenging. Various, non-phenotype-based architectures can serve as targets for research. In this article, the author will propose one such alternative genetic architecture. This article was inspired by the following: A) Nesse's "Smoke-Detector Principle", B) the increasing suspicion that the "smooth" rather than "lumpy" distribution of complex psychiatric phenotypes (including fear-circuitry disorders) may in some cases be accounted for by oligogenic (and not necessarily polygenic) transmission, and C) insights from the initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome by the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium published in late 2005. Neuroevolutionary insights relevant to fear circuitry symptoms that primarily emerge overconsolidationally (especially Combat related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) are presented. Also introduced is a human-evolution-based principle for clustering innate fear traits. The "Neuroevolutionary Time-depth Principle" of innate fears proposed in this article may be useful in the development of a neuroevolution-based taxonomic re-clustering of stress-triggered and fear-circuitry disorders in DSM-V. Four broad clusters of evolved fear circuits are proposed based on their time-depths: 1) Mesozoic (mammalian-wide) circuits hardwired by wild-type alleles driven to fixation by Mesozoic selective sweeps; 2) Cenozoic (simian-wide) circuits relevant to many specific phobias; 3) mid Paleolithic and upper Paleolithic (Homo sapiens-specific) circuits (arguably resulting mostly from mate-choice-driven stabilizing selection); 4) Neolithic circuits (arguably mostly related to stabilizing selection driven by gene-culture co-evolution). More importantly, the author presents evolutionary perspectives on warzone-related PTSD, Combat-Stress Reaction, Combat-related Stress, Operational-Stress, and other deployment-stress-induced symptoms. The Neuroevolutionary Time-depth Principle presented in this article may help explain the dissimilar stress-resilience levels following different types of acute threat to survival of oneself or one's progency (aka DSM-III and DSM-V PTSD Criterion-A events). PTSD rates following exposure to lethal inter-group violence (combat, warzone exposure or intentionally caused disasters such as terrorism) are usually 5-10 times higher than rates following large-scale natural disasters such as forest fires, floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. The author predicts that both intentionally-caused large-scale bioevent-disasters, as well as natural bioevents such as SARS and avian flu pandemics will be an exception and are likely to be followed by PTSD rates approaching those that follow warzone exposure. During bioevents, Amygdala-driven and locus-coeruleus-driven epidemic pseudosomatic symptoms may be an order of magnitude more common than infection-caused cytokine-driven symptoms. Implications for the red cross and FEMA are discussed. It is also argued that hospital phobia as well as dog phobia, bird phobia and bat phobia require re-taxonomization in DSM-V in a new "overconsolidational disorders" category anchored around PTSD. The overconsolidational spectrum category may be conceptualized as straddling the fear circuitry spectrum disorders and the affective spectrum disorders categories, and may be a category for which Pitman's secondary prevention propranolol regimen may be specifically indicated as a "morning after pill" intervention. Predictions are presented regarding obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (e.g., female-pattern hoarding vs. male-pattern hoarding) and "culture-bound" acute anxiety symptoms (taijin-kyofusho, koro, shuk yang, shook yong, suo yang, rok-joo, jinjinia-bemar, karoshi, gwarosa, Voodoo death). Also discussed are insights relevant to pseudoneurological symptoms and to the forthcoming Dissociative-Conversive disorders category in DSM-V, including what the author terms fright-triggered acute pseudo-localized symptoms (i.e., pseudoparalysis, pseudocerebellar imbalance, psychogenic blindness, pseudoseizures, and epidemic sociogenic illness). Speculations based on studies of the human abnormal-spindle-like, microcephaly-associated (ASPM) gene, the microcephaly primary autosomal recessive (MCPH) gene, and the forkhead box p2 (FOXP2) gene are made and incorporated into what is termed "The pre-FOXP2 Hypothesis of Blood-Injection-Injury Phobia." Finally, the author argues for a non-reductionistic fusion of "distal (evolutionary) neurobiology" with clinical "proximal neurobiology," utilizing neurological heuristics. It is noted that the value of re-clustering fear traits based on behavioral ethology, human-phylogenomics-derived endophenotypes and on ontogenomics (gene-environment interactions) can be confirmed or disconfirmed using epidemiological or twin studies and psychiatric genomics. (shrink)