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”.
The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Author: Helen De Cruz
Publisher: MIT Press
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.
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.
Metaphors are ubiquitous and yet-or, for that very reason-go largely unseen. We are all variously susceptible to a blindness or blurry vision of metaphors; yet even when they are seen clearly, we are left to situate the ambiguities, conflations and contradictions they regularly present-logically, aesthetically and morally. David LaRocca's book serves as a set of 'reminders' of certain features of the natural history of our language-especially the tropes that permeate and define it. As part of his investigation, LaRocca turns to Ralph Waldo Emerson's only book on a single topic, English Traits (1856), which teems with genealogical and generative metaphors-blood, birth, plants, parents, family, names and race. In the first book-length study of English Traits in over half a century, LaRocca considers the presence of metaphors in Emerson's fertile text-a unique work in his expansive corpus, and one that is regularly overlooked. As metaphors are encountered in Emerson's book, and drawn from a long history of usage in work by others, a reader may realize (or remember) what is inherent and encoded in our language, but rarely seen: how metaphors circulate in speech and through texts to become the lifeblood of thought.
This concise introduction to science and religion focuses on Christianity and modern Western science (the epicenter of issues in science and religion in the West) with a concluding chapter on Muslim and Jewish Science and Religion. This book also invites the reader into the relevant literature with ample quotations from original texts.
Phenomenology in a Foundational Dialogue with the Human Sciences
Author: Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
The essays in this volume constitute a portion of the research program being carried out by the International Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences. Established as an affiliate society of the World Institute for Ad vanced Phenomenological Research and Learning in 1976, in Arezzo, Italy, by the president of the Institute, Dr Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, this particular society is devoted to an exploration of the relevance of phenomenological methods and insights for an understanding of the origins and goals of the specialised human sciences. The essays printed in the first part of the book were originally presented at the Second Congress of this society held at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 12-14 July 1979. The second part of the volume consists of selected essays from the third convention (the Eleventh International Congress of Phenomenology of the World Phenomen ology Institute) held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1981. With the third part of this book we pass into the "Human Rights" issue as treated by the World Phenomenology Institute at the Interamerican Philosophy Congress held in Tallahassee, Florida, also in 1981. The volume opens with a mono graph by Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka on the foundations of ethics in the moral practice within the life-world and the social world shown as clearly distinct. The main ideas of this work had been presented by Tymieniecka as lead lectures to the three conferences giving them a tight research-project con sistency.