Offers a wider perspective on Darwin's scientific theory of natural selection, explaining how it extends beyond biology, analyzing current controversies over the origins of life and inherent biases, and challenging popular philosophies
Wittgenstein, language, our place in nature and our responsibility for the environment.
Author: Gunnar Odhner
Publisher: Vernon Press
Why is progress in environmental protection slow and faltering? Is it because we misunderstand our place in nature? This book argues that it is the normative implications of Darwinism and their powerful grip on collective social consciousness that are partly responsible for the tardiness. For all its positive explanatory power and undoubted veracity, the normative implications of Darwinist thinking for our environmental predicament are stark: If we are children of Mother Nature equipped by her with a human nature, the responsibility for the deterioration of nature is partly Hers. This book takes a different standpoint. We are indeed children of Nature, but not primarily of the green nature or animal world but of the nature of language. We can understand how through the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, who states that “Language is a graft on instinctive behavior.” In our instinctive use of words we are parts of nature in a way resembling mice, frogs and giraffes. We are not as free as we think when we talk about our “free will”, because language uses us when we use it, hence our double roles as victims and instigators. The main thesis of this book is that rather than merely possessing language, we are language. If accepted, this realization may point the way to a more optimistic future for environmental protection and lay the foundations for a new analytical perspective on modern social behavior. "Darwin's Incomplete Idea" was much discussed when first published in Sweden (Bokförlaget Anomali, 2013). The English edition exposes, for the first time, this important work to an international audience. It should be of interest to philosophers of language and social scientists concerned about the environment and our place in it.
In his acclaimed book God After Darwin, John Haught argued that religious belief is wholly compatible with evolutionary biology. Now, in Deeper Than Darwin, he advances his argument further by saying that religious belief is even more revealing about life than Darwinism. Haught looks hard at the question of how, after Darwin, religions may plausibly claim to be bearers of truth and not just of meaning and adaptive consolation. While he assumes the fundamental correctness of evolutionary biology, he firmly rejects the non-scientific belief that evolutionary biology amounts to an adequate explanation of living phenomena. Even though Darwinism is illuminating, Haught argues, it by no means tells us everything we need to know about life, even in principle. To find the deepest, though certainly not the clearest, understandings of life and the universe, we may still profitably consult the religions of the world. Deeper Than Darwin takes up where God After Darwin left off, arguing that Darwin's vision is important and essentially correct but that we can still dig deeper in our understanding of what is going on in the life-story.
The Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin
Author: Curtis Johnson
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
"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 understood to be key factors in the evolution of the natural world. Emphasizing chance is an entire way of thinking about nature, and 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 does exactly that. He examines the workof Darwin in terms of his views on randomness and chance, and how the views changed as his work progressed. Randomness was a focal point for Darwin, and pursuing it as a theme helped significantly transform his research. Darwin's Dice shows us how Darwindefined "chance," and explores Darwin's influential architect metaphor in relation to the idea. Through the lens of randomness, Johnson reveals how Darwin's treatment of free will becomes more complex. This approach can shed light on many other quirks and points of interest in Darwin's work, including the curiously shifting presence of giraffes in subsequent drafts of On the Origin of Species. Johnson also reexamines Darwin's "Metaphysical Notebooks," and discusses the role Darwin felt that chance plays in morality and religion. Darwin's Dice presents a new way to look at Darwinist thought and the writings on Charles Darwin. Curtis Johnson reveals that chance and randomness play a large part in Darwinist thought, and that we can better understand Darwin's work by understanding that part"--
American Thinkers Confront Charles Darwin, 1860-1920
Author: J. David Hoeveler
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Charles Darwin's book The Origin of Species, published in 1859, had a wide impact in the United States and influenced thinking in many different fields of intellectual inquiry. The Evolutionists examines the major American thinkers who addressed Darwin's ideas and gave them applications. The book reviews the controversies evolutionary thinking introduced in science, religion, sociology, feminism, economics, law, and philosophy.
Over the last decade, the field of socio-emotional development and aging has rapidly expanded, with many new theories and empirical findings emerging. This trend is consistent with the broader movement in psychology to consider social, motivational, and emotional influences on cognition and behavior. The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving in Adulthood provides the first overview of a new field of adult development that has emerged out of conceptualizations and research at the intersections between socioemotional development, social cognition, emotion, coping, and everyday problem solving. This field roundly rejects a universal deficit model of aging, highlighting instead the dynamic nature of socio-emotional development and the differentiation of individual trajectories of development as a function of variation in contextual and experiential influences. It emphasizes the need for a cross-level examination (from biology and neuroscience to cognitive and social psychology) of the determinants of emotional and socio-emotional behavior. This volume also serves as a tribute to the late Fredda Blanchard-Fields, whose thinking and empirical research contributed extensively to a life-span developmental view of emotion, problem solving, and social cognition. Its chapters cover multiple aspects of adulthood and aging, presenting developmental perspectives on emotion; antecedents and consequences of emotion in context; everyday problem solving; social cognition; goals and goal-related behaviors; and wisdom. The landmark volume in this new field, The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving in Adulthood is an important resource for cognitive, developmental, and social psychologists, as well as researchers and graduate students in the field of aging, emotion studies, and social psychology.
The open, inquiring nature of science is fundamentally incompatible with the closed, authoritarian nature of most religious training. Reasons for rejection of personal god concepts by Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Bertrand Russell are used by this author to underline this incompatibility and to show how each of these important scientists came to reject organized religion. Conflicts between scientific and religious habits of mind are described and ideas for education are offered. Common assumptions about our natural environment and human nature are shown to be obstacles to scientific literacy and to a sound liberal education. Research on the nature of the relationship between scientific and religious habits of mind is proposed, recognizing the potential incompatibilities between these important influences in society.