HOW EVOLUTION EXPLAINS THE HUMAN CONDITION

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How Evolution Explains The Human Condition

Author : Roger Bourke White Jr.
ISBN : 9781477273913
Genre : Health & Fitness
File Size : 49.83 MB
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Ah, the mysteries of life Why is mankind a boom species? Why should we worry it if is? Why is the Bible’s Curse of Eve real, and necessary for human progress? How does Panic and Blunder Thinking get us into deep, deep trouble? And if it’s so bad, why do we still use it? These are questions of the human condition, and using evolution to answer these questions is what this book is all about.
Category: Health & Fitness

Human Nature And The Limits Of Science

Author : John Dupré
ISBN : 9780199248063
Genre : Science
File Size : 30.16 MB
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John Dupre warns that our understanding of human nature is being distorted by two faulty and harmful forms of pseudo-scientific thinking. Not just in the academic world but increasingly in everyday life, we find one set of experts seeking to explain the ends at which humans aim in terms of evolutionary theory, and another set of experts using economic models to give rules of how we act to achieve those ends. Dupre charges this unholy alliance of evolutionary psychologists and rational-choice theorists with scientific imperialism: they use methods and ideas developed for one domain of inquiry in others where they are inappropriate. He demonstrates that these theorists' explanations do not work, and furthermore that if taken seriously their theories tend to have dangerous social and political consequences. For these reasons, it is important to resist scientism - an exaggerated conception of what science can be expected to do for us. To say this is in no way to be against science- just against bad science. Dupre restores sanity to the study of human nature by pointing the way to a proper understanding of humans in the societies that are our natural and necessary environments. He shows how our distinctively human capacities are shaped by the social contexts in which we are embedded. And he concludes with a bold challenge to one of the intellectual touchstones of modern science: the idea of the universe as causally complete and deterministic. In an impressive rehabilitation of the idea of free human agency, he argues that far from being helpless cogs in a mechanistic universe, humans are rare concentrations of causal power in a largely indeterministic world. Human Nature and the Limits of Science is a provocative, witty, and persuasive corrective to scientism. In its place, Dupre commends a pluralistic approach to science, as the appropriate way to investigate a universe that is not unified in form. Anyone interested in science and human nature will enjoy this book, unless they are its targets.
Category: Science

The Origins Of Fairness

Author : Nicolas Baumard
ISBN : 9780190613914
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 46.12 MB
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In order to describe the logic of morality, "contractualist" philosophers have studied how individuals behave when they choose to follow their moral intuitions. These individuals, contractualists note, often act as if they have bargained and thus reached an agreement with others about how to distribute the benefits and burdens of mutual cooperation. Using this observation, such philosophers argue that the purpose of morality is to maximize the benefits of human interaction. The resulting "contract" analogy is both insightful and puzzling. On one hand, it captures the pattern of moral intuitions, thus answering questions about human cooperation: why do humans cooperate? Why should the distribution of benefits be proportionate to each person's contribution? Why should the punishment be proportionate to the crime? Why should the rights be proportionate to the duties? On the other hand, the analogy provides a mere as-if explanation for human cooperation, saying that cooperation is "as if" people have passed a contract-but since they didn't, why should it be so? To evolutionary thinkers, the puzzle of the missing contract is immediately reminiscent of the puzzle of the missing "designer" of life-forms, a puzzle that Darwin's theory of natural selection essentially resolved. Evolutionary and contractualist theory originally intersected at the work of philosophers John Rawls and David Gauthier, who argued that moral judgments are based on a sense of fairness that has been naturally selected. In this book, Nicolas Baumard further explores the theory that morality was originally an adaptation to the biological market of cooperation, an arena in which individuals competed to be selected for cooperative interactions. In this environment, Baumard suggests, the best strategy was to treat others with impartiality and to share the costs and benefits of cooperation in a fair way, so that those who offered less than others were left out of cooperation while those who offered more were exploited by their partners. It is with this evolutionary approach that Baumard ultimately accounts for the specific structure of human morality.
Category: Philosophy

Evolution For Everyone

Author : David Sloan Wilson
ISBN : 0440336805
Genre : Science
File Size : 87.51 MB
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What is the biological reason for gossip? For laughter? For the creation of art? Why do dogs have curly tails? What can microbes tell us about morality? These and many other questions are tackled by renowned evolutionist David Sloan Wilson in this witty and groundbreaking new book. With stories that entertain as much as they inform, Wilson outlines the basic principles of evolution and shows how, properly understood, they can illuminate the length and breadth of creation, from the origin of life to the nature of religion. Now everyone can move beyond the sterile debates about creationism and intelligent design to share Darwin’s panoramic view of animal and human life, seamlessly connected to each other. Evolution, as Wilson explains, is not just about dinosaurs and human origins, but about why all species behave as they do—from beetles that devour their own young, to bees that function as a collective brain, to dogs that are smarter in some respects than our closest ape relatives. And basic evolutionary principles are also the foundation for humanity’s capacity for symbolic thought, culture, and morality. In example after example, Wilson sheds new light on Darwin’s grand theory and how it can be applied to daily life. By turns thoughtful, provocative, and daringly funny, Evolution for Everyone addresses some of the deepest philosophical and social issues of this or any age. In helping us come to a deeper understanding of human beings and our place in the world, it might also help us to improve that world.
Category: Science

The Cooperative Gene

Author : Mark Ridley
ISBN : 9780743201612
Genre : Science
File Size : 44.55 MB
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A study of the history of life on Earth explains how microscopic life evolved into large, complex animals and speculates on the various ways in which biotechnology can change our thinking about evolution and complex living organisms.
Category: Science

The Social Conquest Of Earth

Author : Edward O. Wilson
ISBN : 9780871403308
Genre : Science
File Size : 26.84 MB
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New York Times Bestseller From the most celebrated heir to Darwin comes a groundbreaking book on evolution, the summa work of Edward O. Wilson's legendary career. Sparking vigorous debate in the sciences, The Social Conquest of Earth upends “the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover). Refashioning the story of human evolution, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to demonstrate that group selection, not kin selection, is the premier driving force of human evolution. In a work that James D. Watson calls “a monumental exploration of the biological origins of the human condition,” Wilson explains how our innate drive to belong to a group is both a “great blessing and a terrible curse” (Smithsonian). Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, the renowned Harvard University biologist presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere.
Category: Science

In The Light Of Evolution

Author : National Academy of Sciences
ISBN : 9780309156578
Genre : Science
File Size : 50.6 MB
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The Human Condition is a collection of papers by leading evolutionary biologists and philosophers of science that reflect on the Darwinian Revolution as it relates to the human condition at levels ranging from the molecular to the theological. The book focuses on understanding the evolutionary origin of humans and their biological and cultural traits. The Human Condition is organized into three parts: Human Phylogenetic History and the Paleontological Record; Structure and Function of the Human Genome; and Cultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of Being Human. This fourth volume from the In the Light of Evolution (ILE) series, based on a series of Arthur M. Sackler colloquia, was designed to promote the evolutionary sciences. Each volume explores evolutionary perspectives on a particular biological topic that is scientifically intriguing but also has special relevance to contemporary societal issues or challenges. Individually and collectively, the ILE series interprets phenomena in various areas of biology through the lens of evolution, addresses some of the most intellectually engaging as well as pragmatically important societal issues of our times, and fosters a greater appreciation of evolutionary biology as a consolidating foundation for the life sciences.
Category: Science

Darwin And International Relations

Author : Bradley A. Thayer
ISBN : 9780813149707
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 25.74 MB
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Pathbreaking and controversial, Darwin and International Relations offers the first comprehensive analysis of international affairs of state through the lens of evolutionary theory. Bradley A. Thayer provides a new method for investigating and explaining human and state behavior while generating insights into the origins of human and animal warfare, ethnic conflict, and the influence of disease on international relations. Using ethnological and statistical studies of warfare among tribal societies, Thayer argues that humans wage war for reasons predicted by evolutionary theory -- to gain and protect vital resources but also for the physically and emotionally stimulating effects of combat. Thayer demonstrates that an evolutionary understanding of disease will become a more important part of the study of international relations as new strains of diseases emerge and advances in genetics make biological warfare a more effective weapon for states and terrorists. He also explains the deep causes of ethnic conflict by illuminating how xenophobia and ethnocentrism evolved in humans. He notes that these behaviors once contributed to our ancestors' success in radically different environments, but they remain a part of us. Darwin and International Relations makes a major contribution to our understanding of human history and the future of international relations.
Category: Political Science

Encyclopedia Of Educational Theory And Philosophy

Author : D. C. Phillips
ISBN : 9781483364759
Genre : Education
File Size : 51.54 MB
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Education is a field sometimes beset by theories-of-the-day and with easy panaceas that overpromise the degree to which they can alleviate pressing educational problems. The two-volume Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy introduces readers to theories that have stood the test of time and those that have provided the historical foundation for the best of contemporary educational theory and practice. Drawing together a team of international scholars, this invaluable reference examines the global landscape of all the key theories and the theorists behind them and presents them in the context needed to understand their strengths and weaknesses. In addition to interpretations of long-established theories, this work offers essays on cutting-edge research and concise, to-the-point definitions of key concepts, ideas, schools, and figures. Features: Over 300 signed entries by trusted experts in the field are organized into two volumes and overseen by a distinguished General Editor and an international Editorial Board. Entries are followed by cross references and further reading suggestions. A Chronology of Theory within the field of education highlights developments over the centuries; a Reader’s Guide groups entries thematically, and a master Bibliography facilitates further study. The Reader’s Guide, detailed index, and cross references combine for strong search-and-browse capabilities in the electronic version. Available in a choice of print or electronic formats, Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy is an ideal reference for anyone interested in the roots of contemporary educational theory.
Category: Education