Human nature has always been a foundational issue for philosophy. What does it mean to have a human nature? Is the concept the relic of a bygone age? What is the use of such a concept? What are the epistemic and ontological commitments people make when they use the concept? In What’s Left of Human Nature? Maria Kronfeldner offers a philosophical account of human nature that defends the concept against contemporary criticism. In particular, she takes on challenges related to social (...) misuse of the concept that dehumanizes those regarded as lacking human nature (the dehumanization challenge); the conflict between Darwinian thinking and essentialist concepts of human nature (the Darwinian challenge); and the consensus that evolution, heredity, and ontogenetic development results from nurture and nature. After answering each of these challenges, Kronfeldner presents a revisionist account of human nature that minimizes dehumanization and does not fall back on outdated biological ideas. Her account is post-essentialist because it eliminates the concept of an essence of being human; pluralist in that it argues that there are different things in the world that correspond to three different post-essentialist concepts of human nature; and interactive because it understands nature and nurture as interacting at the developmental, epigenetic, and evolutionary levels. On the basis of this, she introduces a dialectical concept of an ever-changing and “looping” human nature. Finally, noting the essentially contested character of the concept and the ambiguity and redundancy of the terminology, she wonders if we should simply eliminate the term “human nature” altogether. (shrink)
In this Chapter, Maria Kronfeldner discusses whether psychological essentialism is a necessary part of dehumanization. This involves different elements of essentialism, and a narrow and a broad way of conceptualizing psychological essentialism, the first akin to natural kind thinking, the second based on entitativity. She first presents authors that have connected essentialism with dehumanization. She then introduces the error theory of psychological essentialism regarding the category of the human, and distinguishes different elements of psychological essentialism. On that basis, Kronfeldner connects (...) historical, socio-psychological, and philosophical insights in order to show that although essentialism can act as a catalyst for dehumanization, it is not necessary for it. Examples relate to dehumanization in the context of colonialism and evolutionary thinking, to the history of dehumanizing women from Aristotle to 19th-century craniology, and to contemporary self-dehumanization and ‘lesser mind’ attribution. (shrink)
Creativity has often been declared, especially by philosophers, as the last frontier of science. The assumption is that it will defy explanation forever. I will defend two claims in order to oppose this assumption and to demystify creativity: (1) the perspective that creativity cannot be explained wrongly identifies creativity with what I shall call metaphysical freedom; (2) the Darwinian approach to creativity, a prominent naturalistic account of creativity, fails to give an explanation of creativity, because it confuses conceptual issues with (...) explanation. I will close with some remarks on the status and differences in some explanations available in contemporary cognitive science. (shrink)
Maria Kronfeldner’s Preface and Introduction to the Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization maps the landscape of dehumanization studies. She starts with a brief portrayal of the history of the field. The systematically minded sections that follow guide the reader through the resulting rugged landscape represented in the Handbook’s contributions. Different realizations, levels, forms, and ontological contrasts of dehumanization are distinguished, followed by remarks on the variety of targets of dehumanization. A discussion on valence and emotional aspects is added. Causes, functions, and (...) consequences of dehumanization, and the prospects for reducing or undoing it, are introduced. The systematic overview closes with a discussion of some important theoretical complexities that arise in studying dehumanization. After these systematic sections, the scholarly work on dehumanization gets situated in the broader intellectual landscape of debates about the ‘human’ in the humanities and social sciences. The Introduction ends with some notes on scope, limitations, and intended readership of the Handbook. (shrink)
I argue that creativity is compatible with determinism and therefore with naturalistic explanation. I explore different kinds of novelty, corresponding with four distinct concepts of creativity – anthropological, historical, psychological and metaphysical. Psychological creativity incorporates originality and spontaneity. Taken together, these point to the independence of the creative mind from social learning, experience and previously acquired knowledge. This independence is nevertheless compatible with determinism. Creativity is opposed to specific causal factors, but it does not exclude causal determination as such. So (...) creativity can be naturalized. (shrink)
Recent philosophical work on the concept of human nature disagrees on how to respond to the Darwinian challenge, according to which biological species do not have traditional essences. Three broad kinds of reactions can be distinguished: conservative intrinsic essentialism, which defends essences in the traditional sense, eliminativism, which suggests dropping the concept of human nature altogether, and constructive approaches, which argue that revisions can generate sensible concepts of human nature beyond traditional essences. The different constructive approaches pick out one or (...) two of the three epistemic roles that are fused in traditional essentialist conceptions of human nature: descriptive, explanatory, definitional, or explanatory and definitional. These turns towards diverging epistemic roles are best interpreted pluralistically: there is a plurality of concepts of human nature that have to be clearly distinguished, each with a legitimate role in respective scientific contexts. (shrink)
In the face of causal complexity, scientists reconstitute phenomena in order to arrive at a more simplified and partial picture that ignores most of the 'bigger picture.' This paper will distinguish between two modes of reconstituting phenomena: one moving down to a level of greater decomposition (toward organizational parts of the original phenomenon), and one moving up to a level of greater abstraction (toward different differences regarding the phenomenon). The first aim of the paper is to illustrate that phenomena are (...) moving targets, i.e., they are not fixed once and for all, but are adapted, if necessary, on the basis of the preferred perspective adopted for pragmatic reasons. The second aim is to analyze in detail the second mode of reconstituting phenomena. This includes an exposition of the kind of pragmatic-pluralistic picture resulting from the fact that phenomena are reconstituted by a move up to a level of greater abstraction. (shrink)
Human nature is a concept that transgresses the boundary between science and society and between fact and value. It is as much a political concept as it is a scientific one. This chapter will cover the politics of human nature by using evidence from history, anthropology and social psychology. The aim is to show that an important political function of the vernacular concept of human nature is social demarcation (inclusion/exclusion): it is involved in regulating who is ‘us’ and who is (...) ‘them.’ It is a folk concept that is used for dehumanization, for denying (a) membership in humankind or (b) full humanness to certain people in order to include or exclude them from various forms of politically relevant aspects of human life, such as rights, power, etc. (shrink)
The book examines how Darwinism has been used to explain novelty and change in culture through the Darwinian approach to creativity and the theory of memes. The first claims that creativity is based on a Darwinian process of blind variation and selection, while the latter claims that culture is based on and explained by units - memes - that are similar to genes. Both theories try to describe and explain mind and culture by applying Darwinism by way of analogies. Kronfeldner (...) shows that the analogies involved in these theories lead to claims that give either wrong or at least no new descriptions or explanations of the phenomena at issue. Whereas the two approaches are usually defended or criticized on the basis that they are dangerous for our vision of ourselves, this book takes a different perspective: it questions the acuteness of these approaches. Darwinian theory is not like a dangerous wolf, hunting for our self image. Far from it, in the case of the two analogical applications addressed in this book, Darwinian theory is shown to behave more like a disoriented sheep in wolf's clothing. - A revised and much shortened version of a dissertation (2007, Darwinism, Memes and Creativity: A Critique of Analogical Reasoning from Nature to Culture). (shrink)
This paper addresses whether the often-bemoaned loss of unity of knowledge about humans, which results from the disciplinary fragmentation of science, is something to be overcome. The fragmentation of being human rests on a couple of distinctions, such as the nature-culture divide. Since antiquity the distinction between nature (roughly, what we inherit biologically) and culture (roughly, what is acquired by social interaction) has been a commonplace in science and society. Recently, the nature/culture divide has come under attack in various ways, (...) in philosophy as well as in cultural anthropology. Regarding the latter, for instance, the divide was quintessential in its beginnings as an academic dis-cipline, when Alfred L. Kroeber, one of the first professional anthropologists in the US, rallied for (what I call) the right to ignore—in his case, human nature—by adopting a separationist epistemic stance. A separationist stance will be understood as an epistemic research heuristic that defends the right to ignore a specif-ic phenomenon (e.g., human nature) or a specific causal factor in an explanation typical for a disciplinary field. I will use Kroeber’s case as an example for making a general point against a bias towards integration (synthesis bias, as I call it) that is exemplified, for instance, by defenders of evolutionary psychology. I will claim that, in principle, a separationist stance is as good as an integrationist stance since both can be equally fruitful. With this argument from fruitful sepa-ration in place, not just the separationist stance but also the nature/culture di-vide can be defended against its critics. (shrink)
This paper examines various ways in which philosophy of science can be interdisciplinary. It aims to provide a map of relations between philosophy and sciences, some of which are interdisciplinary. Such a map should also inform discussions concerning the question “How much philosophy is there in the philosophy of science?” In Sect. 1, we distinguish between synoptic and collaborative interdisciplinarity. With respect to the latter, we furthermore distinguish between two kinds of reflective forms of collaborative interdisciplinarity. We also briefly explicate (...) how complexity triggers interdisciplinarity. In Sect. 2, we apply the distinctions of Sect. 1 to philosophy of science and analyze in which sense different styles of philosophy of science are interdisciplinary. The styles that we discuss are a synoptic-general, a reflective-general, a reflective-particular, a particular-embedded and a descriptive or normative style. (shrink)
Over the last four decades arguments for and against the claim that creative hypothesis formation is based on Darwinian ‘blind’ variation have been put forward. This paper offers a new and systematic route through this long-lasting debate. It distinguishes between undirected, random, and unjustified variation, to prevent widespread confusions regarding the meaning of undirected variation. These misunderstandings concern Lamarckism, equiprobability, developmental constraints, and creative hypothesis formation. The paper then introduces and develops the standard critique that creative hypothesis formation is guided (...) rather than blind, integrating developments from contemporary research on creativity. On that basis, I discuss three compatibility arguments that have been used to answer the critique. These arguments do not deny guided variation but insist that an important analogy exists nonetheless. These compatibility arguments all fail, even though they do so for different reasons: trivialisation, conceptual confusion, and lack of evidence respectively. Revisiting the debate in this manner not only allows us to see where exactly a ‘Darwinian’ account of creative hypothesis formation goes wrong, but also to see that the debate is not about factual issues, but about the interpretation of these factual issues in Darwinian terms. (shrink)
Continuing Franz Boas' work to establish anthropology as an academic discipline in the US at the turn of the twentieth century, Alfred L. Kroeber re-defined culture as a phenomenon sui generis. To achieve this he asked geneticists to enter into a coalition against hereditarian thoughts prevalent at that time in the US. The goal was to create space for anthropology as a separate discipline within academia, distinct from other disciplines. To this end he crossed the boundary separating anthropology from biology (...) in order to secure the boundary. His notion of culture, closely bound to the concept of heredity, saw it as independent of biological heredity (culture as superorganic) but at the same time as a heredity of another sort. The paper intends to summarise the shifting boundaries of anthropology at the beginning of the twentieth century, and to present Kroeber?s ideas on culture, with a focus on how the changing landscape of concepts of heredity influenced his views. The historical case serves to illustrate two general conclusions: that the concept of culture played and plays different roles in explaining human existence; that genetics and the concept of Weismannian hard inheritance did not have an unambiguous unidirectional historical effect on the vogue for hereditarianism at that time; on the contrary, it helped to establish culture in Kroeber's sense, culture as independent of heredity. (shrink)
The article addresses the question whether culture evolves in a Lamarckian manner. I highlight three central aspects of a Lamarckian concept of evolution: the inheritance of acquired characteristics, the transformational pattern of evolution, and the concept of directed changes. A clear exposition of these aspects shows that a system can be a Darwinian variational system instead of a Lamarckian transformational one, even if it is based on inheritance of acquired characteristics and/or on Lamarckian directed changes. On this basis, I apply (...) the three aspects to culture. Taking for granted that culture is a variational system, based on selection processes, I discuss in detail the senses in which cultural inheritance can be said to be Lamarckian and in which sense problem solving, a major factor in cultural change, leads to directed variation. (shrink)
The term ‘human nature’ can refer to different things in the world and fulfil different epistemic roles. Human nature can refer to a classificatory nature (classificatory criteria that determine the boundaries of, and membership in, a biological or social group called ‘human’), a descriptive nature (a bundle of properties describing the respective group’s life form), or an explanatory nature (a set of factors explaining that life form). This chapter will first introduce these three kinds of ‘human nature’, together with seven (...) reasons why we disagree about human nature. In the main, this chapter focuses on the explanatory concept of human nature, which is related to one of the seven reasons for disagreement, namely, the scientific authority inherent in the term ‘nature’. I will examine why, in a number of historical contexts, it was attractive to refer to ‘nature’ as an explanatory category, and why this usage has led to the continual contestation of the term within the sciences. The claim is that even if the contents of talk about ‘nature’ varied historically, the term’s pragmatic function of demarcation stayed the same. The term ‘nature’ conveys scientific authority over a territory; ‘human nature’ is a concept used to divide causes, as well as experts, and thereby conquer others who threaten to invade one’s epistemic territory. Analysing this demarcation, which has social as well as epistemic aspects, will help us to understand why the explanatory role has been important and why it is unlikely that people will ever agree on either the meaning or the importance of ‘human nature’ as an explanatory category. (shrink)
This paper is on the problem of causal selection and comments on Collingwood's classic paper "The so-called idea of causation". It discusses the relevance of Collingwood’s control principle in contemporary life sciences and defends that it is not the ability to control, but the willingness to control that often biases us towards some rather than other causes of a phenomenon. Willingness to control is certainly only one principle that influences causal selection, but it is an important one. It shows how (...) norms make causes. (shrink)
Theories of cultural evolution rest on the assumption that cultural inheritance is distinct from biological inheritance. Cultural and biological inheritance are two separate so-called channels of inheritance, two sub-systems of the sum total of developmental resources traveling in distinct ways between individual agents. This paper asks: what justifies this assumption? In reply, a philosophical account is offered that points at three related but distinct criteria that (taken together) make the distinction between cultural and biological inheritance not only precise but also (...) justify it as real, i.e. as ontologically adequate. These three criteria are: (a) the autonomy of cultural change, (b) the near-decomposability of culture, and (c) differences in temporal order between cultural and biological inheritance. (shrink)
Willem B. Drees’ book defends the humanities as a valuable endeavor in understanding human beings that is vibrant and essential for the academic and non-academic world ... The review highlights two issues, the book's naturalism (presenting the humanities as a human necessity) and the book's idealistic outlook (presenting the humanities as following the value-free ideal).
This article illustrates in which sense genetic determinism is still part of the contemporary interactionist consensus in medicine. Three dimensions of this consensus are discussed: kinds of causes, a continuum of traits ranging from monogenetic diseases to car accidents, and different kinds of determination due to different norms of reaction. On this basis, this article explicates in which sense the interactionist consensus presupposes the innate?acquired distinction. After a descriptive Part 1, Part 2 reviews why the innate?acquired distinction is under attack (...) in contemporary philosophy of biology. Three arguments are then presented to provide a limited and pragmatic defense of the distinction: an epistemic, a conceptual, and a historical argument. If interpreted in a certain manner, and if the pragmatic goals of prevention and treatment (ideally specifying what medicine and health care is all about) are taken into account, then the innate?acquired distinction can be a useful epistemic tool. It can help, first, to understand that genetic determination does not mean fatalism, and, second, to maintain a system of checks and balances in the continuing nature?nurture debates. (shrink)
In this paper, we discuss some problems and prospects of interdisciplinary encounters by focusing on philosophy of science as a case study. After introducing the case, we give an overview about the various ways in which philosophy of science can be interdisciplinary in Section 2. In Section 3, we name some general problems concerning the possible points of interaction between philosophy of science and the sciences studied. In Section 4 we compare the advantages and risks of interdisciplinarity for individual researchers (...) and institutions. In Section 5, we discuss interdisciplinary PhD programs, in particular concerning two main problems: increased workload and the quality of supervision. In the final Section 6, we look at interdisciplinary careers beyond the PhD. (shrink)
Academic freedom has often been defended in a progressivist manner: without academic freedom, creativity would be in peril, and with it the advancement of knowledge, i.e. the epistemic progress in science. In this paper, I want to critically discuss the limits of such a progressivist defense of academic freedom, also known under the label ‘argument from truth.’ The critique is offered, however, with a constructive goal in mind, namely to offer an alternative account that connects creativity and academic freedom in (...) a way that goes beyond mere reference to epistemic progress and involves reference to the freedom to think independently as the freedom we mean when we point to creativity and when we point to academic freedom. The resulting causal independence account is not only epistemologically stronger than a progressivist account, it also allows to counter the curbing of academic freedom in the name of progress. The latter becomes key, for instance, when authoritarian political regimes limit or negate academic freedom with reference to an epistemic progress suitably defined for that regime. (shrink)
This article illustrates in which sense genetic determinism is still part of the contemporary interactionist consensus in medicine. Three dimensions of this consensus are discussed: kinds of causes, a continuum of traits ranging from monogenetic diseases to car accidents, and different kinds of determination due to different norms of reaction. On this basis, this article explicates in which sense the interactionist consensus presupposes the innate?acquired distinction. After a descriptive Part 1, Part 2 reviews why the innate?acquired distinction is under attack (...) in contemporary philosophy of biology. Three arguments are then presented to provide a limited and pragmatic defense of the distinction: an epistemic, a conceptual, and a historical argument. If interpreted in a certain manner, and if the pragmatic goals of prevention and treatment are taken into account, then the innate?acquired distinction can be a useful epistemic tool. It can help, first, to understand that genetic determination does not mean fatalism, and, second, to maintain a system of checks and balances in the continuing nature?nurture debates. (shrink)
The synthetic theory of evolution has gone stale and an expanding or (re-)widening of it towards a new synthesis has been announced. This time, development and culture are supposed to join the synthesis bandwagon. In this article, I distinguish between four kinds of synthesis that are involved when we extend the evolutionary synthesis towards culture: the integration of fields, the heuristic generation of interfields, the expansion of validity, and the creation of a common frame of discourse or ‘big-picture’. These kinds (...) of synthesis are connected to epistemic values that are used to evaluate theories as well as analogies. A review of these epistemic values and the kinds of synthesis connected to them shall illustrate two points. First, that the discussions about culture and evolution exhibit an epistemic bias towards synthesis, even if, as history shows, synthesis and well as isolation can be fruitful epistemic strategies in science. The paper thus contains some critical notes on the value of synthesis in science. Second, reviewing the kinds of synthesis and values involved allows for a new perspective on the analogies involved in theories of cultural evolution. It is a perspective that makes the criteria with which these theories are usually evaluated explicit. With this we can compare the different standpoints people have taken on the usefulness of theories of cultural evolution at a higher level. Differences arise because of different epistemic values assumed. (shrink)
Early-career philosophers of science often find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place, facing conflicting demands. While they have to meet the rigorous standards of a career in philosophy, they are at the same time expected to possess detailed knowledge of the sciences they study. By pulling in different directions, these two poles can be difficult to bridge. Interdisciplinarily engaged philosophers of science face not just an increased workload but also institutional conditions that are not always supportive for (...) their engagement. For instance, while the need for interdisciplinary research is impressed upon young researchers by their advisers and by the subject matters of their research, universities and funding institutions, by contrast, still follow rather conservative and disciplinary policies when they fill positions or allocate funding. In March 2013, the interdisciplinarity of philosophy of science and the resulting situation for early career researchers was the subject of a workshop and a panel discussion funded by the Andrea von Braun Foundation. This paper takes up several of the issues that were controversially disputed at that event. (shrink)
In an interdisciplinary discussion with an international group of experts, we address the question of why faces matter so much. We approach the issue from different academic, technological and artistic perspectives and integrate these different perspectives in an open dialogue in order to raise awareness about the importance of faces at a time when we are hiding them more than ever, be it in “facing” other human beings or in “facing” digital technology.
This short paper comments on the connections between epigenetics, responsiveness and embodiment. Epigenetics has solidified a new conception of DNA as “responsive,” and rightfully so. Yet, the discussion too easily falls back to metaphors of agency and can show a tendency to see responsiveness and embodiment as based on epigenetics, which is shown to be wrong.
Die Evolutionspsychologie hat vor ungefähr 20 Jahren die Nachfolge der Soziobiologie angetreten und zieht seitdem gegen die angebliche Rückständigkeit der Sozialwissenschaften zu Felde. Der Gegenstand dieses Textes ist die Rückständigkeit der Evolutionspsychologie - Rückständigkeit in Bezug auf die Art und Weise, wie das Phänomen Kultur zugerichtet wird, um es dann, jenseits der Lippenbekenntnisse zur Kultur, als explanatorisch irrelevant zu ignorieren.
Wie können Philosoph/innen mit der Bedrohung der akademischen Freiheit umgehen, die von rechtspopulistischen Strömungen (in Deutschland, Europa und weltweit) und autoritären Staaten (wie der Türkei und Ungarn) ausgeht? – Diese Frage stand im Zentrum der Podiumsdiskussion „Bedrohtes Denken“, die während des DGPhil Kongresses in Berlin am Tag der Bundestagswahl 2017 stattfand. Es war eine Diskussion, deren Ende von der bedrückenden Nachricht überschattet wurde, die rechtsextreme AfD werde drittstärkste Kraft im neuen Bundestag. Angesichts dieses zutiefst beunruhigenden Wahlergebnisses glauben wir, dass es (...) wichtig ist, diese Diskussion weiterzuführen. Dieser Kommentar soll dazu einen Anstoß geben. (shrink)
Kann die Entstehung neuer Ideen im Menschen und die daran anschließende Verbreitung dieser neuen Ideen durch die Anwendung eines Darwinistischen Evolutionsschemas erklärt werden? Der Prozess der Kreativität und der Veränderung wäre damit genauso wie die biologische Evolution im Sinne Darwins als ein sich ständig wiederholender, graduell kumulierender Prozess von Versuch und Irrtum zu verstehen. – Ist eine solche Erklärung möglich und könnte sie im Sinne einer allgemeinen Evolutionstheorie die Kluft zwischen Geistes-und Naturwissenschaften überbrücken helfen? Diese Fragen sollen Gegenstand einer systematischen, (...) philosophischen Analyse sein. (shrink)
This paper summarizes the results from the first European Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of the Life Sciences, which was held at the Brocher Foundation in Hermance (Switzerland) 6-10 September 2011. The Advanced Seminar brought together philosophers of the life sciences to discuss the topic of "Causation and Disease." The search for causes of disease in the biomedical sciences, we argue on the basis of the contributions to this conference, has not resulted in a simplification and unification of biomedical knowledge, (...) as once hoped for by philosophers of science, but rather in its "complexification.". (shrink)
Charles Darwin und seine Erben wendeten die Theorie der Evolution biologischer Arten auch auf Kultur an. Kultur evolviere wie die Natur auf Darwinistische Weise. Die sog. Memtheorie, vertreten von verschiedenen Autoren auf der Basis des Darwinistischen Genselektionismus, ist eine Spielart einer solchen analogen Anwendung. Dieser Artikel kritisiert drei zentrale Aussagen der Memtheorie: (i) dass es Einheiten der Kultur – Meme – gibt, die analog zu Genen zu verstehen sind, (ii) dass Meme, in Analogie zu Genen, Replikatoren sind, und (iii) dass (...) Meme als Einheiten der kulturellen Selektion auf die gleiche Art wie Gene 'egoistisch' sein können. Nach einer Einführung in die Memtheorie in Teil 1, werden diese drei Thesen in Teil 2 als entweder falsch oder trivial entlarvt. Dieser kritische Teil soll vor allem zeigen, dass die Memtheorie keine 'gefährliche Idee' ist, die das bisher in den Geistes- Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften tradierte Verständnis von Geist und Kultur herausfordern kann. Im Gegenteil, im besten Fall re-formuliert die Memtheorie lediglich Bekanntes in evolutionärer Sprache und ist in diesem Sinne trivial. In Teil 3 wird die Perspektive gewechselt: Nicht mehr der Gehalt, sondern die Funktion der Memtheorie, v.a. im Kontext interdisziplinärer Verständigung, soll betrachtet werden. Denn trotz der Kritik der drei Kernthesen kann die Memtheorie eine kommunikative und somit produktive Rolle zwischen den 'zwei Kulturen' der Wissenschaften spielen. (shrink)
The dissertation criticizes two analogical applications of Darwinism to the spheres of mind and culture: the Darwinian approach to creativity and memetics. These theories rely on three basic analogies: the ontological analogy states that the basic ontological units of culture are so-called memes, which are replicators like genes; the origination analogy states that novelty in human creativity emerges in a "blind" Darwinian manner; and the explanatory units of selection analogy states that memes are "egoistic" and that they can spread independently (...) of our mind. The detailed philosophical analysis offered in the dissertation shows that these three analogies rely on either wrong or trivial statements: they provide either wrong or no new descriptions or explanations of the phenomena at hand. In Chapter One, I introduce the diverse ways, in which contemporary Darwinism is used today outside of evolutionary biology. Chapter Two explains what it means to claim that something evolves in a Darwinian manner. Chapter Three to Five address each of the three analogies separately. Darwinism applied to culture and mind, at least in the way discussed in this study, is not a dangerous idea. It leads either to wrong claims or to a re-telling in Darwinian terms of what we have already known. (shrink)
A striking feature of atrocities, as seen in genocides, civil wars or violence against certain racial and ethnic groups, is the attempt to dehumanize – to deny and strip human beings of their humanity. Yet the very nature of dehumanization remains relatively poorly understood. The Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization is the first comprehensive and multidisciplinary reference source on the subject and an outstanding survey of the key concepts, issues and debates within dehumanization studies. Organized into four parts, the Handbook covers (...) the following key topics: (I) The history of dehumanization from Greek Antiquity to the Twentieth century, contextualizing the oscillating boundaries, dimensions, and hierarchies of humanity in the history of the ‘West’. (II) How dehumanization is contemporarily studied with respect to special contexts: as part of social psychology, as part of legal studies or literary studies, and how it connects to the idea of human rights, disability and eugenics, the question of animals, and the issue of moral standing. (III) How to tackle its complex facets, with respect to the perpetrator’s and the target’s perspective, metadehumanization and selfdehumanization, rehumanization, social death, status and interdependence, as well as the fear we show towards robots that become too human for us. (IV) Conceptual and epistemological questions on how to distinguish different forms of dehumanization and neighboring phenomena, on why dehumanization appears so paradoxical, and on its connection to hatred, essentialism, and perception. -- Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, history, psychology, and anthropology this Handbook will also be of interest to those in related disciplines such as politics, international relations, criminology, legal studies, literary studies, gender studies, disability studies, or race and ethnic studies, as well as readers from social work, political activism, and public policy --- Table of Contents: Introduction. 1. Mapping dehumanization studies. – Maria Kronfeldner. Part I. Oscillating boundaries, dimensions, and hierarchies of humanity in historical contexts. 2. Dehumanization Before the Columbian exchange – Siep Stuurman. 3. 'Humanity' and its Limits in Early Modern European Thought – László Kontler. 4. Enlightenment Humanization and Dehumanization and the Orang-utan – Silvia Sebastiani. 5. Dehumanizing the Exotic in Living Human Exhibitions – Guido Abbattista. 6. Dehumanizing Strategies in Nazi Ideology and their Anthropological Context – Johannes Steizinger. 7. Theorizing the Inhumanity of Human Nature, 1955-1985 – Erika Lorraine Milam. Part II: Further special contexts of dehumanization. 8. The Social Psychology of Dehumanization – Nick Haslam. 9. Dehumanization and the Loss of Moral Standing – Edouard Machery. 10. Dehumanization and the Question of Animals – Alice Crary. 11. Dehumanization, Disability, and Eugenics – Robert A. Wilson. 12. Dehumanization and Human Rights – Marie-Luisa Frick. 13. Dehumanization by Law – Luigi Corrias. 14. Dehumanisation in Literature and the Figure of the Perpetrator – Andrea Timár. Part III: The complex facets of dehumanization. 15. Dehumanization and Social Death as Fundamentals of Racism – Wulf D. Hund. 16. How Status and Interdependence Explain Different Forms of Dehumanization – Susan T. Fiske. 17. Exploring Metadehumanization and Self-dehumanization from a Target Perspective – Stéphanie Demoulin, Pierre Maurage, Florence Stinglhamber. 18. The Dehumanization and Rehumanization of Refugees – Victoria M. Esses, Stelian Medianu, Alina Sutter. 19. Motivational and Cognitive Underpinnings of Fear of Social Robots that become ‘Too Human for Us’ – Maria Paola Paladino, Jeroen Vaes, Jolanda Jetten. Part IV: Conceptual and epistemological questions regarding dehumanization. 20. Objectification, Inferiorization and Projection in Phenomenological Research on Dehumanization – Sara Heinämaa and James Jardine. 21. Why Dehumanization is Distinct from Objectification – Mari Mikkola. 22. On Hatred and Dehumanization – Thomas Brudholm and Johannes Lang. 23. Dehumanization, the Problem of Humanity, and the Problem of Monstrosity – David Livingstone Smith. 24. Psychological Essentialism and Dehumanization – Maria Kronfeldner. 25. Could Dehumanization Be Perceptual? – Somogy Varga. (shrink)