A NATURAL HISTORY OF HUMAN MORALITY

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A Natural History Of Human Morality

Author : Michael Tomasello
ISBN : 9780674915879
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 24.34 MB
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Michael Tomasello offers the most detailed account to date of the evolution of human moral psychology. Based on experimental data comparing great apes and human children, he reconstructs two key evolutionary steps whereby early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species capable of acting as a plural agent “we”.
Category: Psychology

The Evolution Of Morality

Author : Richard Joyce
ISBN : 0262263254
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 41.65 MB
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Moral thinking pervades our practical lives, but where did this way of thinking come from, and what purpose does it serve? Is it to be explained by environmental pressures on our ancestors a million years ago, or is it a cultural invention of more recent origin? In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce takes up these controversial questions, finding that the evidence supports an innate basis to human morality. As a moral philosopher, Joyce is interested in whether any implications follow from this hypothesis. Might the fact that the human brain has been biologically prepared by natural selection to engage in moral judgment serve in some sense to vindicate this way of thinking -- staving off the threat of moral skepticism, or even undergirding some version of moral realism? Or if morality has an adaptive explanation in genetic terms -- if it is, as Joyce writes, "just something that helped our ancestors make more babies" -- might such an explanation actually undermine morality's central role in our lives? He carefully examines both the evolutionary "vindication of morality" and the evolutionary "debunking of morality," considering the skeptical view more seriously than have others who have treated the subject.Interdisciplinary and combining the latest results from the empirical sciences with philosophical discussion, The Evolution of Morality is one of the few books in this area written from the perspective of moral philosophy. Concise and without technical jargon, the arguments are rigorous but accessible to readers from different academic backgrounds. Joyce discusses complex issues in plain language while advocating subtle and sometimes radical views. The Evolution of Morality lays the philosophical foundations for further research into the biological understanding of human morality.
Category: Philosophy

Levinas And Analytic Philosophy

Author : Michael Fagenblat
ISBN : 9780429870064
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 77.3 MB
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This volume examines the relevance of Emmanuel Levinas’s work to recent developments in analytic philosophy. Contemporary analytic philosophers working in metaethics, the philosophy of mind, and the metaphysic of personal identity have argued for views similar to those espoused by Levinas. Often disparately pursued, Levinas’s account of "ethics as first philosophy" affords a way of connecting these respective enterprises and showing how moral normativity enters into the structure of rationality and personal identity. In metaethics, the volume shows how Levinas’s moral phenomenology relates to recent work on the normativity of rationality and intentionality, and how it can illuminate a wide range of moral concepts including accountability, moral intuition, respect, conscience, attention, blame, indignity, shame, hatred, dependence, gratitude and guilt. The volume also tests Levinas’s innovative claim that ethical relations provide a way of accounting for the irreducibility of personal identity to psychological identity. The essays here contribute to ongoing discussions about the metaphysical significance and sustainability of a naturalistic but nonreductive account of personhood. Finally, the volume connects Levinas’s second-person standpoint with analogous developments in moral philosophy.
Category: Philosophy

A Natural History Of Natural Theology

Author : Helen De Cruz
ISBN : 9780262028547
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 68.1 MB
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Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously -- at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos -- even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and Johan De Smedt examine the cognitive origins of arguments in natural theology. They find that although natural theological arguments can be very sophisticated, they are rooted in everyday intuitions about purpose, causation, agency, and morality. Using evidence and theories from disciplines including the cognitive science of religion, evolutionary ethics, evolutionary aesthetics, and the cognitive science of testimony, they show that these intuitions emerge early in development and are a stable part of human cognition.De Cruz and De Smedt analyze the cognitive underpinnings of five well-known arguments for the existence of God: the argument from design, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the argument from beauty, and the argument from miracles. Finally, they consider whether the cognitive origins of these natural theological arguments should affect their rationality.
Category: Philosophy

The Palgrave Handbook Of Affect Studies And Textual Criticism

Author : Donald R. Wehrs
ISBN : 9783319633039
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 84.45 MB
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This volume provides a comprehensive account of how scholarship on affect and scholarship on texts have come to inform one another over the past few decades. The result has been that explorations of how texts address, elicit, shape, and dramatize affect have become central to contemporary work in literary, film, and art criticism, as well as in critical theory, rhetoric, performance studies, and aesthetics. Guiding readers to the variety of topics, themes, interdisciplinary dialogues, and sub-disciplinary specialties that the study of interplay between affect and texts has either inaugurated or revitalized, the handbook showcases and engages the diversity of scholarly topics, approaches, and projects that thinking of affect in relation to texts and related media open up or enable. These include (but are not limited to) investigations of what attention to affect brings to established methods of studying texts—in terms of period, genre, cultural contexts, rhetoric, and individual authorship.
Category: Literary Criticism

Human Morality And Sociality

Author : Henrik Hogh-Olesen
ISBN : 9781137050014
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 52.46 MB
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Human nature is enigmatic. Are we cruel, selfish creatures or good merciful Samaritans? This book takes you on a journey into the complexities of human mind and kind, from altruism, sharing, and large-scale cooperation, to cheating, distrust, and warfare. What are the building blocks of morality and sociality? Featuring contributions from leading researchers, such as Christophe Boesch, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, Azar Gat, Dennis Krebs, Ara Norenzayan, and Frans B. M. de Waal, this fascinating interdisciplinary reader draws on evolutionary and comparative perspectives, and is essential reading for any students interested in the unique characteristics that define humanity and society.
Category: Psychology

Wired For Culture

Author : Mark Pagel
ISBN : 9781846145759
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 58.75 MB
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'Expresses an infectious sense of wonder at the uniqueness of our species; it is hard not to be affected by his enthusiasm' Sunday Times What explains the staggering diversity of cultures in the world? Why are there so many languages, even within small areas? Why do we rejoice in rituals and wrap ourselves in flags? In Wired for Culture Mark Pagel, the world's leading expert on human development, reveals how our facility for culture is the key to what makes us who we are. Shedding light on everything from art, morality and affection to jealousy, self-interest and prejudice, Pagel shows that we developed culture - cooperating together and passing on knowledge - in order to survive. Our minds are hardwired for culture, and it still determines how we speak, who we love, why we kill and what we think today. 'Human evolution may be the hottest area in popular science writing. Within this field, Wired for Culture stands out for both its sweeping erudition and its accessibility ... richly rewarding' Financial Times 'Impressive for its detail, accuracy and vivacity' Guardian 'Pioneering, vivid ... the best popular science book on culture so far' Nature
Category: Social Science

Human Significance In Theology And The Natural Sciences

Author : Christopher L. Fisher
ISBN : 9781621892311
Genre : Religion
File Size : 60.58 MB
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The medieval worldview that regarded human beings as at the center of God's plans for His universe has long been regarded as obsolete; its synthesis of Christian theology and Greek philosophy having collapsed under the weight of Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin. The popular stereotype is that Science, both in the Copernican revolution that dethroned the earth-centered view of the cosmos and in subsequent developments in evolutionary theory and general relativity, has marginalized and trivialized human existence, revealing humanity's place in the cosmos to be accidental, peripheral, and ultimately meaningless. However, an investigation into both modern Christian theology and contemporary twenty-first century Science reveals just the opposite, providing solid evidence in the interdisciplinary dialogue concerning the significance of humanity within the universe. In this important study, Christopher Fisher analyzes several modern theologians, including Wolfhart Pannenberg, Karl Rahner, and John Zizioulas, to reveal how contemporary ecumenical theology is deeply and intrinsically committed to a high view of human cosmic significance as a consequence of Christianity's indelible Trinitarian and incarnational faith. Fisher then demonstrates how research in contemporary natural Science confirms this finding in its own way, as recent primate intelligence studies, artificial intelligence research, and even the quest for extra-terrestrial intelligence reveal the wonder of human uniqueness. A contemporary version of the teleological argument also resurfaces in consideration of cosmic evolutionary perspectives on human existence. Even ecological concerns take on a new poignancy with the realization that, among material creatures, only human beings are capable of addressing the world's situation. This interdisciplinary study uncovers the surprising coherence and convergence of Christian Theology and Natural Science on the subject of human existence and significance here at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and it highlights the very unique role of humanity in global and cosmic history.
Category: Religion

Morality A Natural History

Author : Roger V. Moseley
ISBN : 9781525537301
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 53.30 MB
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What is morality and what is the source of our moral ideas? Philosophers have explored these questions for centuries, suggesting that both emotion and reason play roles but failing to explain how and why Homo sapiens developed these ideas. Author Roger Moseley argues that evolutionary forces that optimize human welfare provide the missing explanation. Morality: A Natural History presents a multi-disciplinary analysis of the topic and reveals a common thread among the seemingly diverse fields of religion, neuroscience, experimental psychology and game theory, child development, evolution and animal behavior, and anthropology and sociology. When humans first appeared, a simple self-interested survival morality sufficed. As societies became more complex, however, rules of behavior became necessary to limit conflict and promote cooperation. The brain evolved, producing language that allowed the articulation of moral ideas which were codified and enforced by religion and social forces. No species lasts forever, and it is at our peril today that we neglect those evolved moral values of cooperation, altruism, truthfulness, and empathy. Rooted in scientific evidence and interspersed with personal anecdotes and humorous observations, Moseley provides a unique perspective on the natural history of morality – how it appeared, evolved, and continues to evolve today. Morality: A Natural History is essential reading for academics and laypersons alike who seek to understand the origin and essence of human morality.
Category: Social Science

Ethics And The Philosophy Of Culture

Author : Ylva Gustafsson
ISBN : 9781443866330
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 80.49 MB
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Questions of ethics and the study of culture are tightly interwoven. Are we to see ethics as one thread in the fabric created by human culture or does ethics rather transcend culture? The discussions in this volume take place within this spectrum. Eleven Wittgenstein scholars explore how ethics is embedded in everyday activities and speech. The topics dealt with range from the ways we speak about human practices and nature, religious belief, gender, and moral understanding to questions about Wittgenstein’s views on ethics and what it means to understand and attend to a particular individual. Central points of departure are, firstly, that ethics cannot be reduced to any specific cultural form and, secondly, that how we conceive of language is crucially connected with how we perceive the relation between culture and ethics. The points of view put forth frequently pose radical questions to the mainstream of philosophy. The different uses to which Wittgenstein’s thought is put also raise important questions about how one should understand the role of language, ethics and culture in his philosophy.
Category: Philosophy