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Human nature and the limits of Darwinism

Author: Whitley R P Kaufman
Publisher: New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This book compares two competing theories of human nature: the more traditional theory espoused in different forms by centuries of western philosophy and the newer, Darwinian model. In the traditional view, the human being is a hybrid being, with a lower, animal nature and a higher, rational or "spiritual" component. The competing Darwinian account does away with the idea of a higher nature and attempts to provide a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Printed edition:
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Whitley R P Kaufman
ISBN: 9781137592880 1137592885 1137592877 9781137592873
OCLC Number: 952108565
Description: 1 online resource.
Contents: Chapter 1: Introduction: Bridging the Two Cultures; The Problem of the Scientific Study of Values; The Rise of Sociobiology; Sociobiology of Ethics; The Second Darwinian Revolution; Darwinizing the Humanities?; Must Human Nature Be Biologized?; The Fact/Value Distinction; The Plan of the Book; Notes; Chapter 2: The Traditional Theory of Human Nature; The Hybrid Theory of Human Nature; The Great Chain of Being; Human Nature and Free Will; The Great Chain of Being in the Western Tradition; The Great Chain Reconsidered; Reason and the Transcendentals Religion and the Traditional Theory Adjudicating Between the Two Competing Theories; Notes; Chapter 3: Does Science Refute Free Will?; The Argument Against Free Will; The Reductionist Argument Against Free Will; Assessing the Reductionist Argument; Free Will and Cartesian Dualism; What Is Free Will?; The Rejection of Free Will Is Self-Defeating; Notes; Chapter 4: Reason, Truth, and Evolution; Darwinism as Universal Acid; Darwin's Doubt; Darwin's Doubt: Part Two; Evolutionary Theories of Ideas; Evolutionary Theories of Ideas: Memetics; The Paradox of Rationalism The Role of Reason in Human LifeNotes; Chapter 5: Does Science Undermine Morality?; The Basic Principles of Moral Objectivism; Why Evolution Cannot Explain Any of These Principles; Theories of Evolutionary Ethics; Can Evolution Explain Impartial Morality?; The Problem of Moral Normativity and Rationality; Assessing the Redundancy Argument; Notes; Chapter 6: Is Utilitarianism a Scientific Morality?; Utilitarianism Versus Religious Ethics; Utilitarianism as Empiricist Ethics; The Evolutionary Argument; The Moral Nihilism Argument; Why Naturalizing Morality is a Bad Idea; Notes Chapter 7: Art, Beauty, and Darwinism What Is the Aim of Art?; Art and Transcendence; Beauty and the Sublime; Art and Evolution; Landscape Preferences and the "Savanna Hypothesis"; Notes; Chapter 8: Literary Darwinism: Can Evolution Explain Great Literature?; Madame Bovary's Ovaries; The Picture of Dorian Gray; Homer's Iliad: Apes Fighting for Mates; Literature and Human Nature; Literary Darwinism and Human Values; Chapter 9: Darwinism and the Meaning of Life; The Gospel of Nihilism; The Existentialist Approach to Values and Purposes; Nihilists as Crypto-Moralists Nihilism and the Meaning of Life The Happiness Industry; The Meaning of Human Existence; Notes; Chapter 10: Conclusion; A New Synthesis?; Notes; Bibliography; Index
Responsibility: Whitley R.P. Kaufman.

Abstract:

This book compares two competing theories of human nature: the more traditional theory espoused in different forms by centuries of western philosophy and the newer, Darwinian model. In the traditional view, the human being is a hybrid being, with a lower, animal nature and a higher, rational or "spiritual" component. The competing Darwinian account does away with the idea of a higher nature and attempts to provide a complete reduction of human nature to the evolutionary goals of survival and reproduction. Whitley Kaufman presents the case that the traditional conception, regardless of one's religious views or other beliefs, provides a superior account of human nature and culture. We are animals, but we are also rational animals. Kaufman explores the most fundamental philosophical questions as they relate to this debate over human nature--for example: Is free will an illusion? Is morality a product of evolution, with no objective basis? Is reason merely a tool for promoting reproductive success? Is art an adaptation for attracting mates? Is there any higher meaning or purpose to human life? Human Nature and the Limits of Darwinism aims to assess the competing views of human nature and present a clear account of the issues on this most pressing of questions. It engages in a close analysis of the numerous recent attempts to explain all human aims in terms of Darwinian processes and presents the arguments in support of the traditional conception of human nature. .

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