Not By Genes Alone

Author: Peter J. Richerson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226712133
Release Date: 2008-06-20
Genre: Social Science

Humans are a striking anomaly in the natural world. While we are similar to other mammals in many ways, our behavior sets us apart. Our unparalleled ability to adapt has allowed us to occupy virtually every habitat on earth using an incredible variety of tools and subsistence techniques. Our societies are larger, more complex, and more cooperative than any other mammal's. In this stunning exploration of human adaptation, Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd argue that only a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution can explain these unique characteristics. Not by Genes Alone offers a radical interpretation of human evolution, arguing that our ecological dominance and our singular social systems stem from a psychology uniquely adapted to create complex culture. Richerson and Boyd illustrate here that culture is neither superorganic nor the handmaiden of the genes. Rather, it is essential to human adaptation, as much a part of human biology as bipedal locomotion. Drawing on work in the fields of anthropology, political science, sociology, and economics—and building their case with such fascinating examples as kayaks, corporations, clever knots, and yams that require twelve men to carry them—Richerson and Boyd convincingly demonstrate that culture and biology are inextricably linked, and they show us how to think about their interaction in a way that yields a richer understanding of human nature. In abandoning the nature-versus-nurture debate as fundamentally misconceived, Not by Genes Alone is a truly original and groundbreaking theory of the role of culture in evolution and a book to be reckoned with for generations to come. “I continue to be surprised by the number of educated people (many of them biologists) who think that offering explanations for human behavior in terms of culture somehow disproves the suggestion that human behavior can be explained in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Fortunately, we now have a book to which they may be directed for enlightenment . . . . It is a book full of good sense and the kinds of intellectual rigor and clarity of writing that we have come to expect from the Boyd/Richerson stable.”—Robin Dunbar, Nature “Not by Genes Alone is a valuable and very readable synthesis of a still embryonic but very important subject straddling the sciences and humanities.”—E. O. Wilson, Harvard University

A Different Kind of Animal How Culture Transformed Our Species

Author: Robert Boyd
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400888528
Release Date: 2017-11-14
Genre: Science

How our ability to learn from each other has been the essential ingredient to our remarkable success as a species Human beings are a very different kind of animal. We have evolved to become the most dominant species on Earth. We have a larger geographical range and process more energy than any other creature alive. This astonishing transformation is usually explained in terms of cognitive ability—people are just smarter than all the rest. But in this compelling book, Robert Boyd argues that culture—our ability to learn from each other—has been the essential ingredient of our remarkable success. A Different Kind of Animal demonstrates that while people are smart, we are not nearly smart enough to have solved the vast array of problems that confronted our species as it spread across the globe. Over the past two million years, culture has evolved to enable human populations to accumulate superb local adaptations that no individual could ever have invented on their own. It has also made possible the evolution of social norms that allow humans to make common cause with large groups of unrelated individuals, a kind of society not seen anywhere else in nature. This unique combination of cultural adaptation and large-scale cooperation has transformed our species and assured our survival—making us the different kind of animal we are today. Based on the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, A Different Kind of Animal features challenging responses by biologist H. Allen Orr, philosopher Kim Sterelny, economist Paul Seabright, and evolutionary anthropologist Ruth Mace, as well as an introduction by Stephen Macedo.

Brave New Brain

Author: Nancy C. Andreasen
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISBN: 9783642559518
Release Date: 2013-07-02
Genre: Psychology

Nancy Andreasen, führende Neurowissenschaftlerin, Herausgeberin des angesehenen American Journal of Psychiatry und ausgezeichnet mit der National Medal of Science, zeigt uns in ihrem neuen Buch die Zusammenhänge zwischen Gehirn und Genom. Dank modernster Methoden und Entdeckungen in Neurowissenschaften und Molekularbiologie wissen Forscher mehr denn je über die Funktionen des Gehirns. Die Autorin beschreibt auf faszinierende und verständliche Weise, wie alles zusammenhängt - von Milliarden kleinster Neuronen im Thalamus bis hin zur moralischen Kontrollinstanz im präfrontalen Kortex. Sie erklärt die Entschlüsselung des Genoms, dessen 30000-40000 Gene fast alle in irgendeiner Form in unserem Gehirn aktiv sind. In fesselnden Geschichten beleuchtet sie aber auch, wie sich psychische Störungen entwickeln und welche Auswirkungen sie auf Patienten und Angehörige haben. Nancy Andreasen gelingt der Brückenschlag zwischen hochkomplexen Inhalten und spannender Lektüre.

Strukturen des Denkens

Author: Günter Dux
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISBN: 9783658062552
Release Date: 2014-07-15
Genre: Social Science

Wir haben in der Neuzeit die ganze Geschichte im Blick. Das gilt auch für die Geistesgeschichte. Von den mythischen Weltbildern der Frühzeit über die monotheistischen Religionen und Epen der Hochkulturen bis zum Umbruch des Weltbildes am Beginn der Neuzeit zieht sich die Spur unseres Wissens. Es gibt in dieser Geschichte des Geistes eine Sequenz, die von der Entwicklung des Denkens bewirkt wird. Zum einen haben sich dessen formal-logische Strukturen entwickelt. Ihre Entwicklung lässt sich durch die Entwicklung der algebraischen Logik dokumentieren. Zum andern haben sich ihre material-logischen Strukturen entwickelt. Die der Welt immanente Prozessualität wird in der Neuzeit anders verstanden als in der Vergangenheit. Der Entwicklung beider Strukturen geht der vorliegende Band nach. Geschichte lässt sich unter den erkenntniskritischen Vorgaben einer säkular gewordenen Welt verstehen. Das ist die Botschaft, die der Band vermitteln möchte​.

Historisches W rterbuch der Biologie

Author: Georg Toepfer
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISBN: 9783476004550
Release Date: 2016-09-03
Genre: Social Science

Das Wörterbuch präsentiert die Grundbegriffe der Biologie in Form einer ausführlichen Wort- und Begriffsgeschichte. 112 Haupt- und 1.760 Nebeneinträge, von der Prägung der Begriffe bis zu den heute dominanten Bedeutungen, umreißen die Geschichte der biologischen Ideen, Konzepte und Theorien. Dafür wurden die seit Kurzem digital verfügbaren großen Datenbanken naturwissenschaftlicher Texte systematisch ausgewertet. Eine unschätzbare Informationsquelle nicht nur für Biologen und Wissenschaftshistoriker, sondern auch für Philosophen, Sprach-, Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaftler.

Die Kunst kein Egoist zu sein

Author: Richard David Precht
Publisher: Goldmann Verlag
ISBN: 9783641049355
Release Date: 2010-10-11
Genre: Philosophy

Warum wir uns so schwer tun, gut zu sein Ist der Mensch gut oder schlecht? Ist er in der Tiefe seines Herzens ein Egoist oder hilfsbereit? Und wie kommt es eigentlich, dass sich fast alle Menschen mehr oder weniger für die »Guten« halten und es trotzdem so viel Unheil in der Welt gibt? Das Buch stellt keine Forderung auf, wie der Mensch zu sein hat. Es untersucht – quer zu unseren etablierten Weltbildern – die Frage, wie wir uns in unserem täglichen Leben tatsächlich verhalten und warum wir so sind, wie wir sind: Egoisten und Altruisten, selbstsüchtig und selbstlos, rivalisierend und kooperativ, nachtragend und verzeihend, kurzsichtig und verantwortungsbewusst. Je besser und unbestechlicher wir unsere wahre Natur erkennen, desto gezielter können wir unsere Gesellschaft verändern und verbessern. Ein Buch, das uns dazu bringt, uns selbst mit neuen Augen zu sehen!

Evolution Culture and the Human Mind

Author: Mark Schaller
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 9781136950490
Release Date: 2011-03-17
Genre: Psychology

An enormous amount of scientific research compels two fundamental conclusions about the human mind: The mind is the product of evolution; and the mind is shaped by culture. These two perspectives on the human mind are not incompatible, but, until recently, their compatibility has resisted rigorous scholarly inquiry. Evolutionary psychology documents many ways in which genetic adaptations govern the operations of the human mind. But evolutionary inquiries only occasionally grapple seriously with questions about human culture and cross-cultural differences. By contrast, cultural psychology documents many ways in which thought and behavior are shaped by different cultural experiences. But cultural inquires rarely consider evolutionary processes. Even after decades of intensive research, these two perspectives on human psychology have remained largely divorced from each other. But that is now changing - and that is what this book is about. Evolution, Culture, and the Human Mind is the first scholarly book to integrate evolutionary and cultural perspectives on human psychology. The contributors include world-renowned evolutionary, cultural, social, and cognitive psychologists. These chapters reveal many novel insights linking human evolution to both human cognition and human culture – including the evolutionary origins of cross-cultural differences. The result is a stimulating introduction to an emerging integrative perspective on human nature.

Mortal Rituals

Author: Matt J. Rossano
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231535465
Release Date: 2013-07-23
Genre: Science

On December 21, 1972, sixteen young survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued after spending ten weeks stranded at the crash site of their plane, high in the remote Andes Mountains. The incident made international headlines and spawned several bestselling books, fueled partially by the fact that the young men had resorted to cannibalism to survive. Matt Rossano examines this story from an evolutionary perspective, weaving together findings and ideas from anthropology, psychology, religion, and cognitive science. He ties their story to our story, seeing in the mortal rituals of this ten-week struggle a reflection of the very essence of what it means to be human. During their ordeal, the Andes’ survivors (re)created a primitive yet complex social system embodying the efficiency and flexibility necessary to meet the challenges of a harsh environment. They broke “civilized” taboos to fend off starvation and abandoned “civilized” modes of thinking to maintain social unity and personal sanity. These young men established daily routines and rituals that perpetuated their survival while sustaining their morale. Finally, through the power of ritual, they accessed the mind’s ability to endure severe emotional and physical hardship. All of these essential strategies have deep evolutionary histories. They are what our ancestors did for millennia upon millennia in their struggle to survive.

Cultural Neuroscience Cultural Influences on Brain Function

Author: Juan Y. Chiao
Publisher: Elsevier
ISBN: 9780080952215
Release Date: 2009-11-25
Genre: Science

This volume presents recent empirical advances using neuroscience techniques to investigate how culture influences neural processes underlying a wide range of human abilities, from perception and scene processing to memory and social cognition. It also highlights the theoretical and methodological issues with conducting cultural neuroscience research. Section I provides diverse theoretical perspectives on how culture and biology interact are represented. Sections II –VI is to demonstrate how cultural values, beliefs, practices and experience affect neural systems underlying a wide range of human behavior from perception and cognition to emotion, social cognition and decision-making. The final section presents arguments for integrating the study of culture and the human brain by providing an explicit articulation of how the study of culture can inform the study of the brain and vice versa.

Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not

Author: Robert N. McCauley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199912308
Release Date: 2011-11-01
Genre: Religion

The battle between religion and science, competing methods of knowing ourselves and our world, has been raging for many centuries. Now scientists themselves are looking at cognitive foundations of religion--and arriving at some surprising conclusions. Over the course of the past two decades, scholars have employed insights gleaned from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and related disciplines to illuminate the study of religion. In Why Religion is Natural and Science Is Not, Robert N. McCauley, one of the founding fathers of the cognitive science of religion, argues that our minds are better suited to religious belief than to scientific inquiry. Drawing on the latest research and illustrating his argument with commonsense examples, McCauley argues that religion has existed for many thousands of years in every society because the kinds of explanations it provides are precisely the kinds that come naturally to human minds. Science, on the other hand, is a much more recent and rare development because it reaches radical conclusions and requires a kind of abstract thinking that only arises consistently under very specific social conditions. Religion makes intuitive sense to us, while science requires a lot of work. McCauley then draws out the larger implications of these findings. The naturalness of religion, he suggests, means that science poses no real threat to it, while the unnaturalness of science puts it in a surprisingly precarious position. Rigorously argued and elegantly written, this provocative book will appeal to anyone interested in the ongoing debate between religion and science, and in the nature and workings of the human mind.

On the Origin of Autonomy

Author: Bernd Rosslenbroich
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9783319041414
Release Date: 2014-04-15
Genre: Philosophy

This volume describes features of autonomy and integrates them into the recent discussion of factors in evolution. In recent years ideas about major transitions in evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. They include questions about the origin of evolutionary innovation, their genetic and epigenetic background, the role of the phenotype and of changes in ontogenetic pathways. In the present book, it is argued that it is likewise necessary to question the properties of these innovations and what was qualitatively generated during the macroevolutionary transitions. The author states that a recurring central aspect of macroevolutionary innovations is an increase in individual organismal autonomy whereby it is emancipated from the environment with changes in its capacity for flexibility, self-regulation and self-control of behavior. The first chapters define the concept of autonomy and examine its history and its epistemological context. Later chapters demonstrate how changes in autonomy took place during the major evolutionary transitions and investigate the generation of organs and physiological systems. They synthesize material from various disciplines including zoology, comparative physiology, morphology, molecular biology, neurobiology and ethology. It is argued that the concept is also relevant for understanding the relation of the biological evolution of man to his cultural abilities. Finally the relation of autonomy to adaptation, niche construction, phenotypic plasticity and other factors and patterns in evolution is discussed. The text has a clear perspective from the context of systems biology, arguing that the generation of biological autonomy must be interpreted within an integrative systems approach.

Character and Environment

Author: Ronald L. Sandler
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231511865
Release Date: 2007-09-25
Genre: Philosophy

Virtue ethics is now widely recognized as an alternative to Kantian and consequentialist ethical theories. However, moral philosophers have been slow to bring virtue ethics to bear on topics in applied ethics. Moreover, environmental virtue ethics is an underdeveloped area of environmental ethics. Although environmental ethicists often employ virtue-oriented evaluation (such as respect, care, and love for nature) and appeal to role models (such as Henry Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson) for guidance, environmental ethics has not been well informed by contemporary work on virtue ethics. With Character and Environment, Ronald Sandler remedies each of these deficiencies by bringing together contemporary work on virtue ethics with contemporary work on environmental ethics. He demonstrates the many ways that any ethic of character can and should be informed by environmental considerations. He also develops a pluralistic virtue-oriented environmental ethic that accommodates the richness and complexity of our relationship with the natural environment and provides effective and nuanced guidance on environmental issues. These projects have implications not only for environmental ethics and virtue ethics but also for moral philosophy more broadly. Ethical theories must be assessed on their theoretical and practical adequacy with respect to all aspects of the human ethical situation: personal, interpersonal, and environmental. To the extent that virtue-oriented ethical theory in general, and Sandler's version of it in particular, provides a superior environmental ethic to other ethical theories, it is to be preferred not just as an environmental ethic but also as an ethical theory. Character and Environment will engage any reader with an interest in environmental ethics, virtue ethics, or moral philosophy.

Essential Readings in Evolutionary Biology

Author: Francisco J. Ayala
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9781421413051
Release Date: 2014-02-21
Genre: Science

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.

The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Individual Differences

Author: Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1444343114
Release Date: 2011-03-01
Genre: Psychology

The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Individual Differences provides a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of recent research, current perspectives, practical applications, and likely future developments in individual differences. Brings together the work of the top global researchers within the area of individual differences, including Philip L. Ackerman, Ian J. Deary, Ed Diener, Robert Hogan, Deniz S. Ones and Dean Keith Simonton Covers methodological, theoretical and paradigm changes in the area of individual differences Individual chapters cover core areas of individual differences including personality and intelligence, biological causes of individual differences, and creativity and emotional intelligence