Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior

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Author: Robert J. Richards

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022614951X

Category: Science

Page: 718

View: 9607

With insight and wit, Robert J. Richards focuses on the development of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior from their first distinct appearance in the eighteenth century to their controversial state today. Particularly important in the nineteenth century were Charles Darwin's ideas about instinct, reason, and morality, which Richards considers against the background of Darwin's personality, training, scientific and cultural concerns, and intellectual community. Many critics have argued that the Darwinian revolution stripped nature of moral purpose and ethically neutered the human animal. Richards contends, however, that Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and their disciples attempted to reanimate moral life, believing that the evolutionary process gave heart to unselfish, altruistic behavior. "Richards's book is now the obvious introduction to the history of ideas about mind and behavior in the nineteenth century."—Mark Ridley, Times Literary Supplement "Not since the publication of Michael Ghiselin's The Triumph of the Darwinian Method has there been such an ambitious, challenging, and methodologically self-conscious interpretation of the rise and development and evolutionary theories and Darwin's role therein."—John C. Greene, Science "His book . . . triumphantly achieves the goal of all great scholarship: it not only informs us, but shows us why becoming thus informed is essential to understanding our own issues and projects."—Daniel C. Dennett, Philosophy of Science

The Meaning of Evolution

The Morphological Construction and Ideological Reconstruction of Darwin's Theory

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Author: Robert J. Richards

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226712055

Category: Science

Page: 222

View: 2080

Did Darwin see evolution as progressive, directed toward producing ever more advanced forms of life? Most contemporary scholars say no. In this challenge to prevailing views, Robert J. Richards says yes—and argues that current perspectives on Darwin and his theory are both ideologically motivated and scientifically unsound. This provocative new reading of Darwin goes directly to the origins of evolutionary theory. Unlike most contemporary biologists or historians and philosophers of science, Richards holds that Darwin did concern himself with the idea of progress, or telos, as he constructed his theory. Richards maintains that Darwin drew on the traditional embryological meanings of the terms "evolution" and "descent with modification." In the 1600s and 1700s, "evolution" referred to the embryological theory of preformation, the idea that the embryo exists as a miniature adult of its own species that simply grows, or evolves, during gestation. By the early 1800s, however, the idea of preformation had become the concept of evolutionary recapitulation, the idea that during its development an embryo passes through a series of stages, each the adult form of an ancestor species. Richards demonstrates that, for Darwin, embryological recapitulation provided a graphic model of how species evolve. If an embryo could be seen as successively taking the structures and forms of its ancestral species, then one could see the evolution of life itself as a succession of species, each transformed from its ancestor. Richards works with the Origin and other published and archival material to show that these embryological models were much on Darwin's mind as he considered the evidence for descent with modification. Why do so many modern researchers find these embryological roots of Darwin's theory so problematic? Richards argues that the current tendency to see evolution as a process that is not progressive and not teleological imposes perspectives on Darwin that incorrectly deny the clearly progressive heart of his embryological models and his evolutionary theory.

Darwin's Dice

The Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin

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Author: Curtis Johnson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199361436

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 8769

For evolutionary biologists, the concept of chance has always played a significant role in the formation of evolutionary theory. As far back as Greek antiquity, chance and "luck" were key factors in understanding the natural world. Chance is not just an important concept; it is an entire way of thinking about nature. And as Curtis Johnson shows, it is also one of the key ideas that separates Charles Darwin from other systematic biologists of his time. Studying the concept of chance in Darwin's writing reveals core ideas in his theory of evolution, as well as his reflections on design, purpose, and randomness in nature's progression over the course of history. In Darwin's Dice: The Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin, Curtis Johnson examines Darwin's early notebooks, his collected correspondence (now in 19 volumes), and most of his published writing to trace the evolution of his ideas about chance in evolution. This proved to be one of Darwin's most controversial ideas among his reading public, so much so that it drew hostile reactions even from Darwin's scientific friends, not to mention the more general reader. The firestorm of criticism forced Darwin to forge a retreat, not in terms of removing chance from his theory--his commitment to it was unshakable--but in terms of how he chose to present his theory. Briefly, by changing his wording and by introducing metaphors and images (the stone-house metaphor, the evolution of giraffes, and others), Darwin succeeded in making his ideas seem less threatening than before without actually changing his views. Randomness remained a focal point for Darwin throughout his life. Through the lens of randomness, Johnson reveals implications of Darwin's views for religion, free will, and moral theory. Darwin's Dice presents a new way to look at Darwinist thought and the writings of Charles Darwin.

Emergent Evolution

Qualitative Novelty and the Levels of Reality

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Author: David Blitz

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9401580421

Category: Science

Page: 241

View: 7136

Emergent evolution combines three separate but related claims, whose background, origin, and development I trace in this work: firstly, that evolution is a universal process of change, one which is productive of qualitative novelties; secondly, that qualitative novelty is the emergence in a system of a property not possessed by any of its parts; and thirdly, that reality can be analyzed into levels, each consisting of systems characterized by significant emergent properties. In part one I consider the background to emergence in the 19th century discussion of the philosophy of evolution among its leading exponents in England - Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, T. H. Huxley, Alfred Russel Wallace, and G. J. Romanes. Unlike the scientific aspect of the debate which aimed to determine the factors and causal mechanism of biological evolution, this aspect of the debate centered on more general problems which form what I call the "philosophical framework for evolutionary theory." This considers the status of continuity and discontinuity in evolution, the role of qualitative and quantitative factors in change, the relation between the organic and the inorganic, the relation between the natural and the supernatural, the mind-body problem, and the scope of evolution, including its extension to ethics and morals.

Dawkins' God

From The Selfish Gene to The God Delusion

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Author: Alister E. McGrath

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118964799

Category: Religion

Page: 208

View: 1649

A fully updated new edition of a critically acclaimed examinationof the theories and writings of Richard Dawkins by a world-renownedexpert on the relation of science and religion Includes in-depth analysis of Dawkins’ landmark treatiseThe God Delusion (2006), as well as coverage of his laterpopular works The Magic of Reality (2011) and TheGreatest Show on Earth (2011),and a new chapter on Dawkins as apopularizer of science Tackles Dawkins’ hostile and controversial views onreligion, and examine the religious implications of his scientificideas including a comprehensive investigation of the ‘selfishgene’ Written in an accessible and engaging style that will appeal toanyone interested in better understanding the interplay betweenscience and religion

Darwin the Writer

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Author: George Levine

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191620629

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 272

View: 760

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, arguably the most important book written in English in the nineteenth century, transformed the way we looked at the world. It is usually assumed that this is because the idea of evolution was so staggeringly powerful. Prize-winning author George Levine suggests that much of its influence was due, in fact, to its artistry; to the way it was written. Alive with metaphor, vivid descriptions, twists, hesitations, personal exclamations, and humour, the prose is imbued with the sorts of tensions, ambivalences, and feelings characteristic of great literature. Although it is certainly a work of "science," the Origin is equally a work of "literature," at home in the company of celebrated Victorian novels such as Middlemarch and Bleak House, books that give us a unique yet recognisable sense of what the world is really like, while not being literally 'true'. Darwin's enormous cultural success, Levine contends, depended as much on the construction of his argument and the nature of his language, as it did on the power of his ideas and his evidence. By challenging the dominant reading of his work, this impassioned and energetic book gives us a Darwin who is comic rather than tragic, ebullient rather than austere, and who takes delight in the wild and fluid entanglement of things.

Histories of Social Studies and Race: 1865–2000

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Author: Christine Woyshner,Chara Haeussler Bohan

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137007605

Category: Education

Page: 231

View: 3676

This collection of historical essays on race develops lines of inquiry into race and social studies, such as geography, history, and vocational education. Contributors focus on the ways African Americans were excluded or included in the social education curriculum and the roles that black teachers played in crafting social education curricula.

A History of Social Psychology

From the Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment to the Second World War

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Author: Gustav Jahoda

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521868289

Category: Psychology

Page: 242

View: 4725

The term 'social psychology' was first established in the 1860s but the issues surrounding the subject have evolved over a much longer period. This book follows the history of the discipline over two and a half centuries, demonstrating the links between early and current thought. The first attempts at empirical approaches were made in France during the Enlightenment whilst some modern ideas were also being anticipated in Scotland. The search for laws of mind and society began in nineteenth-century Europe and, by the end of the century, it changed direction. Darwinian theory made a powerful impact on the emerging discipline and the centre of gravity began to move to America where it reached maturity during the inter-war period. A History of Social Psychology is viewed against a background of radical social and political changes and includes sketches of the major figures involved in its rise.

Development Betrayed

The End of Progress and a Co-Evolutionary Revisioning of the Future

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Author: Richard B Norgaard

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134915632

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 296

View: 6634

Modernity promised control over nature through science, material abundance through technology and effective government through rational, social organization. Instead of leading to this promised land it has brought us to the brink of environmental and cultural disaster. Why has there been this gap between modernity's aspirations and its achievements? Development Betrayed offers a powerful answer to this question. Development with its unshakeable commitment to the idea of progress, is rooted in modernism and has been betrayed by each of its major tenets. Attempts to control nature have led to the brink of environmental catastrophe. Western technologies have proved inappropriate for the needs of the South, and governments are unable to respond effectively to the crises that have resulted. Offering a thorough and lively critiques of the ideas behind development, Richard Norgaard also offers an alternative co-evolutionary paradigm, in which development is portrayed as a co-evolution between cultural and ecological systems. Rather than a future with all peoples merging to one best way of knowing and doing things, he envisions a future of a patchwork quilt of cultures with real possibilities for harmony.

Being Human in Islam

The Impact of the Evolutionary Worldview

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Author: Damian Howard

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136820264

Category: Religion

Page: 226

View: 4285

Islamic anthropology is relatively seldom treated as a particular concern even though much of the contemporary debate on the modernisation of Islam, its acceptance of human rights and democracy, makes implicit assumptions about the way Muslims conceive of the human being. This book explores how the spread of evolutionary theory has affected the beliefs of contemporary Muslims regarding human identity, capacity and destiny. In his systematic treatment of the impact of evolutionary ideas on modern Islam, Damian Howard surveys several branches of Muslim thought. Muslim responses to the crisis of the religious imagination presented by the evolutionary worldview fall into four different forms, incorporating traditional and modern notions. The book evaluates the content, influence and success of these four forms, asking how Muslims might now proceed to address the profound challenges which evolutionary theory poses to the effective reconstruction of their religious thought. Drawing fascinating parallels with developments in the world of Christian theology which will help understanding between people of the two religions, the author reflects on the question of how Muslims can come to terms with the modern world. A valuable addition to the literature on contemporary Islamic thought, this book will also interest students and scholars of religion and modernity, the history and philosophy of science, and evolutionary theory.

The Philosophy of Herbert Spencer

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Author: Michael Taylor

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1441132066

Category: Philosophy

Page: 198

View: 8279

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) is remembered today only as an alleged 'Social Darwinist' who applied the theory of the survival of the fittest to society. Yet he was among the most influential and widely-read philosophers of the nineteenth century. There were few Victorian thinkers and scientists who did not know his work, and who did not formulate their own positions partly in reaction to his. Michael Taylor's book provides the only detailed and reliable modern survey of the whole corpus of Spencer's thought. Taylor introduces a Spencer very different to his posthumous reputation: not primarily a political philosopher, but the architect of a comprehensive philosophical system that aimed to demonstrate the inevitability of human perfection through universal natural laws. He also locates the Synthetic Philosophy firmly in its place and time by showing how it developed out of the concerns of a group of like-minded British writers and thinkers during the 1850s. This book will be of interest to historians of philosophy and of science, to social scientists, to scholars and students of nineteenth century literature, and to anyone who wishes to understand one of most important figures in Victorian intellectual life.

Evolutionary Social Psychology

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Author: Jeffry A. Simpson,Douglas Kenrick

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 1134996802

Category: Psychology

Page: 448

View: 7366

What a pity it would have been if biologists had refused to accept Darwin's theory of natural selection, which has been essential in helping biologists understand a wide range of phenomena in many animal species. These days, to study any animal species while refusing to consider the evolved adaptive significance of their behavior would be considered pure folly--unless, of course, the species is homo sapiens. Graduate students training to study this particular primate species may never take a single course in evolutionary theory, although they may take two undergraduate and up to four graduate courses in statistics. These methodologically sophisticated students then embark on a career studying human aggression, cooperation, mating behavior, family relationships, or altruism with little or no understanding of the general evolutionary forces and principles that shaped the behaviors they are investigating. This book hopes to redress that wrong. It is one of the first to apply evolutionary theories to mainstream problems in personality and social psychology that are relevant to a wide range of important social phenomena, many of which have been shaped and molded by natural selection during the course of human evolution. These phenomena include selective biases that people have concerning how and why a variety of activities occur. For example: * information exchanged during social encounters is initially perceived and interpreted; * people are romantically attracted to some potential mates but not others; * people often guard, protect, and work hard at maintaining their closest relationships; * people form shifting and highly complicated coalitions with kin and close friends; and * people terminate close, long-standing relationships. Evolutionary Social Psychology begins to disentangle the complex, interwoven patterns of interaction that define our social lives and relationships.

Consciousness Explained

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Author: Daniel C. Dennett

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141956100

Category: Philosophy

Page: 528

View: 7466

This book revises the traditional view of consciousness by claiming that Cartesianism and Descartes' dualism of mind and body should be replaced with theories from the realms of neuroscience, psychology and artificial intelligence. What people think of as the stream of consciousness is not a single, unified sequence, the author argues, but "multiple drafts" of reality composed by a computer-like "virtual machine". Dennett considers how consciousness could have evolved in human beings and confronts the classic mysteries of consciousness: the nature of introspection, the self or ego and its relation to thoughts and sensations, and the level of consciousness of non-human creatures.

Control

A History of Behavioral Psychology

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Author: John A. Mills

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 0814761240

Category: Psychology

Page: 246

View: 6704

Behaviorism has been the dominant force in the creation of modern American psychology. However, the unquestioned and unquestioning nature of this dominance has obfuscated the complexity of behaviorism. Control serves as an antidote to this historical myopia, providing the most comprehensive history of behaviorism yet written. Mills successfully balances the investigation of individual theorists and their contributions with analysis of the structures of assumption which underlie all behaviorist psychology, and with behaviorism's role as both creator and creature of larger American intellectual patterns, practices, and values. Furthermore, Mills provides a cogent critique of behaviorists' narrow attitudes toward human motivation, exploring how their positivism cripples their ability to account for the unobservable, inner factors that control behavior. Control's blend of history and criticism advances our understanding not only of behaviorism, but also the development of social science and positivism in twentieth-century America.

Moral Skepticisms

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Author: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199884889

Category: Philosophy

Page: 288

View: 1833

All contentious moral issues--from gay marriage to abortion and affirmative action--raise difficult questions about the justification of moral beliefs. How can we be justified in holding on to our own moral beliefs while recognizing that other intelligent people feel quite differently and that many moral beliefs are distorted by self-interest and by corrupt cultures? Even when almost everyone agrees--e.g. that experimental surgery without consent is immoral--can we know that such beliefs are true? If so, how? These profound questions lead to fundamental issues about the nature of morality, language, metaphysics, justification, and knowledge. They also have tremendous practical importance in handling controversial moral questions in health care ethics, politics, law, and education. Sinnott-Armstrong here provides an extensive overview of these difficult subjects, looking at a wide variety of questions, including: Are any moral beliefs true? Are any justified? What is justified belief? The second half of the book explores various moral theories that have grappled with these issues, such as naturalism, normativism, intuitionism, and coherentism, all of which are attempts to answer moral skepticism. Sinnott-Armstrong argues that all these approaches fail to rule out moral nihilism--the view that nothing is really morally wrong or right, bad or good. Then he develops his own novel theory,--"moderate Pyrrhonian moral skepticism"--which concludes that some moral beliefs can be justified out of a modest contrast class but no moral beliefs can be justified out of an extreme contrast class. While explaining this original position and criticizing alternatives, Sinnott-Armstrong provides a wide-ranging survey of the epistemology of moral beliefs.

Why Gould Was Wrong

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Author: Nils K. Oeijord

Publisher: iUniverse

ISBN: 0595752039

Category: Science

Page: 722

View: 3634

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was a leading critic of human behavioral genetics, human sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, and the modern evolutionary synthesis. Why Gould Was Wrong explains why Gould's claims were horribly wrong.

Evolutionary Naturalism

Selected Essays

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Author: Michael Ruse

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134877625

Category: Philosophy

Page: 336

View: 5276

First published in 1995. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics

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Author: Michael Ruse,Robert J. Richards

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1108509312

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 9259

Evolutionary ethics - the application of evolutionary ideas to moral thinking and justification - began in the nineteenth century with the work of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, but was subsequently criticized as an example of the naturalistic fallacy. In recent decades, however, evolutionary ethics has found new support among both the Darwinian and the Spencerian traditions. This accessible volume looks at the history of thought about evolutionary ethics as well as current debates in the subject, examining first the claims of supporters and then the responses of their critics. Topics covered include social Darwinism, moral realism, and debunking arguments. Clearly written and structured, the book guides readers through the arguments on both sides, and emphasises the continuing relevance of evolutionary theory to our understanding of ethics today.

Essential Readings in Evolutionary Biology

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Author: Francisco J. Ayala,Francisco José Ayala,John C. Avise

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 1421413051

Category: Science

Page: 576

View: 9701

Traces scholarly thought from the nineteenth-century birth of evolutionary biology to the mapping of the human genome through forty-eight essays, arranged in chronological order, each preceded by a one-page essay that explains the significance of the chosen work.

Personal Business

Character and Commerce in Victorian Literature and Culture

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Author: Aeron Hunt

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

ISBN: 0813936322

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 240

View: 9662

In recent years the analysis of the intersection of literature and economics has generated a vibrant conversation in literary and cultural studies of the Victorian period. But Aeron Hunt argues that an emphasis on abstraction and impersonality as the crucial features of the Victorian economic experience has led to a partial and ultimately misleading vision of Victorian business culture. In contrast, she asserts that the key to understanding the relationship of literary writing to economic experience is what she calls "personal business"—the social and interpersonal relationships of Victorian commercial life in which character was a central mediating concept. Juxtaposing novels by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Margaret Oliphant with such nonfiction works as popular biographies, periodicals, and business handbooks, the author builds on and extends the insights of the "new economic criticism" by highlighting the embodied, interpersonal, and socially embedded interactions of everyday economic life. Hunt analyzes the productive and disciplinary roles that character played in the Victorian economy and traces the proliferation of different models of character as literary writing and commercial discourse responded to the challenges and opportunities presented by personal business. She suggests that the dynamic interchange between forms of character employed in the everyday practice of business and those imagined in literary writing helped shape character as a crucial mode of power in Victorian business culture and economic life. Ultimately, Personal Business provides new ways to understand both the history of the Victorian novel and its implications in middle-class culture and the turbulent experience of nineteenth-century capitalism.