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Stephen Asma [16]Stephen T. Asma [8]
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Stephen Asma
Columbia College Chicago
  1.  85
    The Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition.Stephen Asma & Rami Gabriel - 2019 - Harvard University Press.
    Tracing the leading role of emotions in the evolution of the mind, a philosopher and a psychologist pair up to reveal how thought and culture owe less to our faculty for reason than to our capacity to feel. Many accounts of the human mind concentrate on the brain’s computational power. Yet, in evolutionary terms, rational cognition emerged only the day before yesterday. For nearly 200 million years before humans developed a capacity to reason, the emotional centers of the brain were (...)
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  2. Against Fairness.Stephen T. Asma - 2012 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    From the school yard to the workplace, there’s no charge more damning than “you’re being unfair!” Born out of democracy and raised in open markets, fairness has become our de facto modern creed. The very symbol of American ethics—Lady Justice—wears a blindfold as she weighs the law on her impartial scale. In our zealous pursuit of fairness, we have banished our urges to like one person more than another, one thing over another, hiding them away as dirty secrets of our (...)
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  3. On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears.Stephen Asma - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Hailed as "a feast" (Washington Post) and "a modern-day bestiary" (The New Yorker), Stephen Asma's On Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters--how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future. Beginning at the time of Alexander the Great, the monsters come fast and furious--Behemoth and Leviathan, Gog and Magog, Satan and his demons, Grendel and Frankenstein, circus freaks and headless children, right (...)
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  4. Philosophical Implications of Affective Neuroscience.Stephen Asma, Jaak Panksepp, Rami Gabriel & Glennon Curran - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (3-4):6-48.
    These papers are based on a Symposium at the COGSCI Conference in 2010. 1. Naturalizing the Mammalian Mind 2. Modularity in Cognitive Psychology and Affective Neuroscience 3. Affective Neuroscience and the Philosophy of Self 4. Affective Neuroscience and Law.
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  5. Why We Need Religion.Stephen T. Asma - 2018 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    How we feel is as vital to our survival as how we think. This claim, based on the premise that emotions are largely adaptive, serves as the organizing theme of Why We Need Religion. This book is a novel pathway in a well-trodden field of religious studies and philosophy of religion. Stephen Asma argues that, like art, religion has direct access to our emotional lives in ways that science does not. Yes, science can give us emotional feelings of wonder and (...)
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  6. Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums.Stephen T. Asma - 2002 - Journal of the History of Biology 35 (1):185-187.
  7. Following Form and Function: A Philosophical Archaeology of Life Science.Stephen T. Asma - 1996 - Northwestern University Press.
    The concepts of form and function have traditionally been defined in terms of biology and then extended to other disciplines. Stephen T. Asma examines the various interpretations of form and function in science and philosophy, reflecting on the philosophical presuppositions underlying the work of Geoffroy, Cuvier, Darwin, and others. -/- In the continental tradition of Canguilhem and Foucault, Asma's treatment of the historical form/function dispute analyzes the complex interactions among ideologies, metaphysical commitments, and research programs. Following Form and Function is (...)
     
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  8. Metaphors of Race: Theoretical Presuppositions Behind Racism.Stephen T. Asma - 1995 - American Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1):13 - 29.
    Philosophers and scientists have historically conceptualized race according to two main metaphors; internal differentiation (theological, philosophical and genetic), and external differentiation (environmental). This paper examines these metaphors and theories in Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and also Darwin and the subsequent racial theories of recent history. The paper argues that the externalist metaphor has a more liberal and potentially egalitarian tradition.
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  9.  71
    Darwin's Causal Pluralism.Stephen T. Asma - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (1):1-20.
    Traditionally, Darwin has been grouped with the functionalists because natural selection (an adaptational mechanism) plays the prominent role in shaping organic form. In this paper, I sketch the dichotomy of functionalism versus structuralism and then argue that Darwin cannot be characterized adequately with this dichotomy. I argue that Darwin can incorporate both causal stories because he makes two important modifications to the traditional metaphysical presuppositions. I then offer some brief reflections on the import of Darwin's causal pluralism for the Philosophy (...)
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  10.  54
    Ancient Animistic Beliefs Live on in Our Intimacy with Tech.Stephen Asma - 2020 - Aeon.
    Animistic cognition has adaptive value in domains of social and physical niche prediction. This argument is extended to our contemporary relationship with digital and AI technology.
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  11. Following Form and Function: Reflections on Nineteenth Century Biophilosophy.Stephen T. Asma - 1994 - Dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
    This work is an examination of the metaphysical presuppositions involved in the science of organic form. Taking the dichotomy of structuralism versus functionalism in nineteenth century biology as the central subject of my study, I explore a network of unquestioned premises and isolate areas where empirical research programs and underlying metaphysical commitments both inform and hinder each other. ;I begin with the Cuvier-Geoffroy debate of 1830--a debate that clearly articulates the tensions between structuralist and functionalist approaches to organic form. On (...)
     
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  12.  35
    “Gauging Gender: A Metaphysics”.Stephen Asma - 2011 - Chronicle of Higher Education 1.
    An academic division of labor resulted from the distinction between sex and gender. Sex remained a productive topic (excuse the pun) for biologists, who are interested in the genetic, developmental, and chemical pathways of male/female dimorphism. People in the social sciences and humanities, by contrast, made gender, not sex, the subject of their work. In gender studies, we learn about the ways that men and women “perform” their respective roles—people of male sex can perform as female gender, and vice versa, (...)
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  13. Imagination is Ancient.Stephen Asma - 2017 - Aeon 1:1.
    Imagination, like other higher cognition, is often thought to arise after the evolution of language. Stephen Asma argues instead that imagination is much older and forms a kind of early cognition --harvesting sensory, motor and affective impressions, and generating novel generate-and-test information.
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  14.  27
    Imagination is the Sixth Sense (Phantasia).Stephen Asma & Paul Giamatti - 2021 - Aeon.
    Actor Paul Giamatti and philosopher Stephen Asma collaborate to describe the imagination (phantasia) as a form of embodied cognition. They explore the actor's ability to replicate embodied affective states and communicate those to audiences that are capable of catching (via emotional contagion) those affective states. The role of social affordances in imaginative work is explored. Finally, the role of imagination in political conspiracy thinking is considered.
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  15. Music and the Evolution of Embodied Cognition.Stephen Asma - forthcoming - In M. Clasen J. Carroll (ed.), Evolutionary Perspectives on Imaginative Culture. pp. pp 163-181.
    Music is a universal human activity. Its evolution and its value as a cognitive resource are starting to come into focus. This chapter endeavors to give readers a clearer sense of the adaptive aspects of music, as well as the underlying cognitive and neural structures. Special attention is given to the important emotional dimensions of music, and an evolutionary argument is made for thinking of music as a prelinguistic embodied form of cognition—a form that is still available to us as (...)
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  16.  16
    Précis: The Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition.Stephen Asma & Rami Gabriel - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy of Emotion 2 (2):1-7.
    An affective approach to culture and cognition may hold the key to uniting findings across experimental psychology and, eventually, the human sciences. Many accounts of the human mind concentrate on the brain’s computational power, yet for nearly 200 million years before humans developed a capacity to reason the emotional centers of the brain were running the show. To attain a clearer picture of the evolution of mind, we challenge the cognitivist and behaviorist paradigms in psychology by exploring how the emotional (...)
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  17. "Monsters on the Brain: An Evolutionary Epistemology of Horror".Stephen Asma - 2014 - Social Research: An International Quarterly (N.4).
    The article discusses the evolutionary development of horror and fear in animals and humans, including in regard to cognition and physiological aspects of the brain. An overview of the social aspects of emotions, including the role that emotions play in interpersonal relations and the role that empathy plays in humans' ethics, is provided. An overview of the psychological aspects of monsters, including humans' simultaneous repulsion and interest in horror films that depict monsters, is also provided.
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  18.  40
    Reason and Reality in an Era of Conspiracy.Stephen Asma - 2017 - Quillette.
    Conspiracy theories are on the rise. Some explanations suggest that they are caused by reduced or limited information streams --limited access to information. This article argues instead that information is more accessible than ever and an abundance of information is itself problematic if informal reasoning skills are impoverished. David Hume's claim that unfocused skepticism leads paradoxically to greater gullibility is examined. And the conspiratorial dimensions of Creationism are evaluated.
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  19.  6
    Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums.Stephen Asma - 2001 - New York: Oxford.
    The natural history museum is a place where the line between "high" and "low" culture effectively vanishes--where our awe of nature, our taste for the bizarre, and our thirst for knowledge all blend happily together. But as Stephen Asma shows in Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads, there is more going on in these great institutions than just smart fun. Asma takes us on a wide-ranging tour of natural history museums in New York and Chicago, London and Paris, interviewing curators, scientists, (...)
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  20.  49
    The Evolution of Imagination.Stephen T. Asma - 2017 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Guided by neuroscience, animal behavior, evolution, philosophy, and psychology, Asma burrows deep into the human psyche to look right at the enigmatic but powerful engine that is our improvisational creativity—the source, he argues, of our remarkable imaginational capacity. How is it, he asks, that a story can evoke a whole world inside of us? How are we able to rehearse a skill, a speech, or even an entire scenario simply by thinking about it? How does creativity go beyond experience and (...)
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  21.  65
    This Friendship has Been Digitized.Stephen Asma - 2019 - New York Times.
    We can share experiences with a person online, but the experiences seem thin when compared with face-to-face experiences. Online adventures (social networking, gaming) can certainly strengthen friendship bonds that were forged in more embodied interactions, but can they create those bonds? The kind of presence required for deep friendship does not seem cultivated in many online interactions. Presence in friendship requires “being with” and “doing for” (sacrifice). The forms of “being with” and “doing for” on social networking sites (or even (...)
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  22.  15
    The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha.Stephen Asma - 2005 - Harper Collins.
    Asma, a professor of Buddhism at Columbia College in Chicago and the author of Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads (2001), recounts his intense and revelatory Cambodian adventures while teaching at Phnom Penh's Buddhist Institute. In an electrifying and frank mix of hair-raising anecdotes and expert analysis, he explicates the vast difference between text-based Buddhist teachings and daily life in a poor and politically volatile Buddhist society. Amid tales of massage parlors, marijuana-spiced pizza, and bloodshed, he cogently explains how Theravada Buddhism, (...)
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  23.  8
    Teleology Rises From the Grave.Stephen Asma - 2018 - Philosophy Now 126:20-23.
    My short history of alternative teleology traditions should help us recognize that biological goal-directedness is not dependent on mind, that is, on divine design or occult prescient forces. Following Kant’s ‘instrumental’ teleology, I have shown that one can be anti-reductionist about biology without nesting holism in mind. The order of both knowledge and the process is incorrectly reversed in such mind-dependent philosophy. So against the philosophers who think mind precedes biology, I submit that biological teleology actually precedes the sophisticated purposiveness (...)
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  24. “Why Are so Many Monsters Hybrids? The Captivating Horror of Category Violation”.Stephen Asma - 2017 - Nautilus Magazine. October 19, 2017.
    Epistemic category violations and hybrids arouse cognitive attention, and form sticky cultural memes that help social in-group bonding. This article discusses the cognitive science around monster hybrids and adds the important missing ingredient of affective/emotional systems.
     
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