Author: Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2012-11
In his new preface E. O. Wilson reflects on how he came to write this book: how The Insect Societies led him to write Sociobiology, and how the political and religious uproar that engulfed that book persuaded him to write another book that would better explain the relevance of biology to the understanding of human behavior.
Author: Roger Scruton
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2017-02-14
In this short book, acclaimed writer and philosopher Roger Scruton presents an original and radical defense of human uniqueness. Confronting the views of evolutionary psychologists, utilitarian moralists, and philosophical materialists such as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, Scruton argues that human beings cannot be understood simply as biological objects. We are not only human animals; we are also persons, in essential relation with other persons, and bound to them by obligations and rights. Our world is a shared world, exhibiting freedom, value, and accountability, and to understand it we must address other people face to face and I to I. Scruton develops and defends his account of human nature by ranging widely across intellectual history, from Plato and Averroës to Darwin and Wittgenstein. The book begins with Kant's suggestion that we are distinguished by our ability to say "I"—by our sense of ourselves as the centers of self-conscious reflection. This fact is manifested in our emotions, interests, and relations. It is the foundation of the moral sense, as well as of the aesthetic and religious conceptions through which we shape the human world and endow it with meaning. And it lies outside the scope of modern materialist philosophy, even though it is a natural and not a supernatural fact. Ultimately, Scruton offers a new way of understanding how self-consciousness affects the question of how we should live. The result is a rich view of human nature that challenges some of today's most fashionable ideas about our species.
Author: Saint Thomas (Aquinas)
Publisher: Hackett Publishing
Release Date: 1999
This volume begins with excerpts from Aquinas' commentary on De Anima, excerpts that proceed from a general consideration of soul as common to all living things to a consideration of the animal soul and, finally, to what is peculiar to the human soul. These are followed by the Treatise on Man, Aquinas' most famous discussion of human nature, but one whose organization is dictated by theological concerns and whose philosophical importance is thus best appreciated when seen as presented here: within the historical philosophical framework of which it constitutes a development. Aquinas' discussions of the will and the passions follow, providing fruitful points of comparison with other philosophers.
On Human Nature: Biology, Psychology, Ethics, Politics, and Religion covers the present state of knowledge on human diversity and its adaptative significance through a broad and eclectic selection of representative chapters. This transdisciplinary work brings together specialists from various fields who rarely interact, including geneticists, evolutionists, physicians, ethologists, psychoanalysts, anthropologists, sociologists, theologians, historians, linguists, and philosophers. Genomic diversity is covered in several chapters dealing with biology, including the differences in men and apes and the genetic diversity of mankind. Top specialists, known for their open mind and broad knowledge have been carefully selected to cover each topic. The book is therefore at the crossroads between biology and human sciences, going beyond classical science in the Popperian sense. The book is accessible not only to specialists, but also to students, professors, and the educated public. Glossaries of specialized terms and general public references help nonspecialists understand complex notions, with contributions avoiding technical jargon. Provides greater understanding of diversity and population structure and history, with crucial foundational knowledge needed to conduct research in a variety of fields, such as genetics and disease Includes three robust sections on biological, psychological, and ethical aspects, with cross-fertilization and reciprocal references between the three sections Contains contributions by leading experts in their respective fields working under the guidance of internationally recognized and highly respected editors
This anthology brings together 45 selections by a wide range of philosophers and other thinkers, and provides a representative sampling of the approaches to the study of human nature that have been taken within the western tradition. The selections range in time from the ancient Greeks to the 1990s, and in political orientation from the conservative individualism of Ayn Rand to the liberalism of John Rawls. Classic writings from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries are here (Descartes, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, and so on), but so are a wide range of twentieth-century writings, including a number of feminist voices, the biological theory of Edward O. Wilson, and the cultural materialist theory of Marvin Harris. A substantial selection of Christian views of human nature is a central part of the anthology. The anthology is as notable for its depth as it is for its breadth; an important editorial principle has been to include a variety of substantial selections, thus allowing the reader to engage more readily with some of the complexities of each approach.
Drawn from Parerga and posthumously published works, these six essays offer an accessible approach to the author's philosophy. Topics include government, free will and fatalism, character, moral instinct, and ethics.
Author: Kenneth Burke
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2003-08-06
Genre: Literary Criticism
On Human Nature: A Gathering While Everything Flows brings together the late essays, autobiographical reflections, an interview, and a poem by the eminent literary theorist and cultural critic Kenneth Burke (1897-1993). Burke, author of Language as Symbolic Action, A Grammar of Motives, and Rhetoric of Motives, among other works, was an innovative and original thinker who worked at the intersection of sociology, psychology, literary theory, and semiotics. This book, a selection of fourteen representative pieces of his productive later years, addresses many important themes Burke tackled throughout his career such as logology (his attempt to find a universal language theory and methodology), technology, and ecology. The essays also elaborate Burke's notions about creativity and its relation to stress, language and its literary uses, the relation of mind and body, and more. Provocative, idiosyncratic, and erudite, On Human Nature makes a significant statement about cultural linguistics and is an important rounding-out of the Burkean corpus.
Author: St. Thomas Aquinas
Publisher: Hackett Publishing
Release Date: 2002
This series offers central philosophical treatises of Aquinas in new, state-of-the-art translations distinguished by their accuracy and use of clear and non-technical modern vocabulary. Annotation and commentary accessible to undergraduates make the series an ideal vehicle for the study of Aquinas by readers approaching him from a variety of backgrounds and interests.
Author: Norman Geras
Release Date: 1983
'Marx did not reject the idea of human nature. He was right not to do so.' That is the conclusion of this passionate and polemical new work by Norman Geras. In it, he places the sixth of Marx's These on Feuerbach under rigorous scrutiny. He argues that this ambiguous statement - widely cited as evidence that Marx broke with all concepts of human nature in 1845 - must be read in the context of Marx's work as a whole. His later writings are formed by an idea of a specifically human nature that fulfils both explanatory and normative functions. The belief that Marx's historical materialism entailed a denial of the conception of human nature is, Geras writes, 'an old fixation, which the Althusserian influence in this matter has fed upon...Because this fixation still exists and is misguided, it is still necessary to challenge it.' One hundred years after Marx's death, this timely essay - combing the strengths of analytical philosophy and classical Marxism - rediscovers a central part of his heritage.