Oxford University Press (1997)

Anthony O'hear
University of Buckingham
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.".
Keywords Philosophy of mind  Philosophical anthropology  Evolution  Evolution (Biology Philosophy  Human evolution
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 1998, 1999
Buy this book $8.00 used (93% off)   $110.00 from Amazon    Amazon page
Call number BD418.3.O34 1997
ISBN(s) 0198242549   0198250045   9780198242543   9780198250043
DOI 10.2307/2653602
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,079
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
Chapters BETA
Evolution and Epistemological Pessimism

Science can show how our beliefs are produced by our interactions with the material world. Explaining how, e.g. we might have experiences of secondary qualities and why such experiences might be useful from an evolutionary standpoint even if, strictly speaking, they have no existence indep... see more

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Moderately Massive Modularity.Peter Carruthers - 2003 - In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press. pp. 67-89.
Evolution and Nursing.Trevor Hussey - 2002 - Nursing Philosophy 3 (3):240-251.
Review of "After Physicalism". [REVIEW]Robert Bishop - 2013 - Essays in Philosophy 14 (2):8.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
172 ( #57,660 of 2,427,834 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #67,352 of 2,427,834 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes