Sometimes I’m asked whether the things that I’ve been writing about in philosophy of biology have anything to do with normative issues, public policy, etc. The answer is “Yes,” but I don’t think that the reasons why are obvious. Much of my most recent work has focused on metaphysical issues concerning the nature of evolutionary processes. The following is a sketch of some connections between metaphysics, evolution, and normative issues which are of particular interest to me.
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The metaphysical context of normative issues, public policy, etc, from the time that Darwin had just published and Christianity was only constructively recollecting what it feared it would lose, was provided by The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (Bergson 1932). The extent to which cognitive characteristics can be aﬀected by policies, in his view, if I am correct, is determined by our "duality of origin", in which the knowing organism and the sensed environment reflect- and independently confirm each other.
The evolution of human cognition or creative evolution as Bergson calls it, is like the intertwining of electricity and magnetism in light, reflectively sensing what is sensed and knowing what is reflectively known, unfolding in realization (know what is sensed) and intuition (sense what is known), valuing (intuit what is realized) and trying (realize what is intuited) and acting (try what is valued) and reacting (value what is tried), in interaction. This is mainly my own inte ... (read more)