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Human Nature After Darwin: A Philosophical Introduction [Format Kindle]

Janet Radcliffe Richards
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Human Nature After Darwin is an original investigation of the implications of Darwinism for our understanding of ourselves and our situation. It casts new light on current Darwinian controversies, also providing an introduction to philosophical reasoning and a range of philosophical problems.
Janet Radcliffe Richards claims that many current battles about Darwinism are based on mistaken assumptions about the implications of the rival views. Her analysis of these implications provides a much-needed guide to the fundamentals of Darwinism and the so-called Darwin wars, as well as providing a set of philosophical techniques relevant to wide areas of moral and political debate.
The lucid presentation makes the book an ideal introduction to both philosophy and Darwinism as well as a substantive contribution to topics of intense current controversy. It will be of interest to students of philosophy, science and the social sciences, and critical thinking.

Biographie de l'auteur

Janet Radcliffe Richards is Reader in Bioethics and Director of the Centre for Bioethics at University College London. she was formerly lecturer in philosophy at the Open University and is the author of the acclaimed book The Sceptical Feminist.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1589 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 337 pages
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Jusqu'à 4 appareils simultanés, selon les limites de l'éditeur
  • Editeur : Routledge (5 juillet 2005)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B000OI1782
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°660.641 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Il me fait penser de nouveau 5 janvier 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Un livre stimulant, instructif, essential pour tout qui voulent comprendre le comportement des hommes et l'evolution des culturesparrtout le mond
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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  7 commentaires
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Logic 101, using Darwinism 27 octobre 2011
Par Herbert V. Leighton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book achieves its goals, but one goal is to be excruciatingly systematic. It is a pity that it is not more widely read, especially by those who argue about the broader implications of Darwinism. "If your reasoning from premises about facts to conclusions about actions goes wrong because of muddle, or equivocation, or mistakes in logic, then your practical conclusions will be just as unreliable as if you get the facts wrong" (269). Thus concludes this book.

Having read many books on both Darwinian evolution and philosophy, I was intrigued by this book, which was advertised as an exploration of the philosophical implications of evolution in general, including evolutionary psychology.

The author's original purpose for the book was to be strictly a introductory logic text, a "Logic 101" textbook as it were. The author indicates that she originally planned to have three main themes for the examples and exercises in the book, but that when she discovered that the theme of evolution had so many common logical errors used by those arguing about it, she decided to devote the book exclusively to the theme of Darwinism. The legacy of that original goal is still evident in the book, and it can be used as a Logic 101 textbook. For example, each section of each chapter ends with exercises for the student, and answers to the exercises are found in the back of the book. (Those exercises use the other two themes that Richards had originally planned to include in the book.)

As far as attacking the issue of the philosophical implications of Darwinism, the author admits that she intends to make her points slowly and ploddingly, and she does. However, she is not so much trying to cover a lot of ground in the topic as she is trying to show how to apply basic philosophical reasoning to any topic whatsoever, and the topic that she has picked is Darwinism. The typical reader might get impatient with this deliberate slowness, so I cannot give it five stars.

Nevertheless, the topic deserves to be analysed with deliberate speed. Many thinkers in our culture write at length on the religious, social, and philosophical implications of the different versions of Darwinian evolution, and Richards systematically shows that many of them, on both sides of various controversies, commit logical fallacies that make their claims invalid.

A quick review of the subtopics covered: 1) how solid is the epistemology and philosophical basis of Darwinism as a scientific discipline? (answer: solid); 2) what are the different varieties of Darwinism? (answer: see below); 3) how does one construct logical conditionals to investigate flaws in reasoning? 4) do different versions of Darwinism have different implications for free will and determinism? (answer: no); 5) do some versions of Darwinism imply that people are no longer responsible for their actions? (answer: no); 6) do different versions of Darwinism have different implications for whether or not true altruism can exist? (answer: no); 7) does a denial of the existence of an omnipotent God mean that objective moral truth is not possible? (answer: depends); 8) are we justified, as Philip Kitcher claimed, in demanding a higher burden of proof for evolutionary psychology than for other scientific disciplines? (answer: no); and 9) what are the really different implications for living one's life among the various options discussed in the book?

Richards lays out a spectrum of belief from a) strict theism that denies all Darwinism, b) dualism that accepts biological evolution but rejects strict metaphysical materialism, c) Darwinism that accepts metaphyical materialism but rejects the claims of evolutionary psychology, and d) a Darwinism that accepts evolutionary psychology. As Richards points out, because she lays out her arguments clearly, one can spot the point in the chain of logical inference where one disagrees with her. So even if one does disagree with her arguments, it is easy to articulate the basis for that disagreement.

While one reviewer complained that the book did not work as a class textbook for general philosophy, I think it might work as an introduction to logic. I found it a valuable read, though it might not work pedagogically.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Overlooked 15 janvier 2002
Par Buce - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The publishers seem to have misunderstood (or at any rate, underrated) this superb book, which would profit from exposure to a wider audience. It's as if someone in a suit smelled a whiff of the lamp around here and exiled it to the ghetto of academic writing. This is a pity, but it is perhaps in part understandable. The nominal topic is "evolution," but the real subject is the activity of clear thinking. More directly -- no one excels Janet Radcliffe Richards in demonstrating how to use the tools of philosophy in the analysis or understanding of every day problems. There is an audience for this sort of thing. The publisher seems not to have found it and both auther and audience (saying nothing of the publisher) are the losers.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent introduction 2 août 2005
Par criticalreader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book is an excellent introduction to current Darwinian thinking about human nature. As the book discusses the implications of accepting Darwinism it does not put forward an awovedly materialist view backed by arguments, but the author's stance on this issue is nevertheless unequivocal.
The style is admirably clear, and the general claim that in most cases, the often supposed differences between non-Darwinian and Darwinian lines of thinking are only apparent ones is convincing.
However, there are some passages which I disagree with.

1. The distinction between the formal validity of conditionals and the existence of a causal or explanatory relation between the antecedent and the consequent is blurred. Radcliffe writes:

"finding out the truth of the conditional is not a matter of finding out whether the antecedent is true... or whether the the consequent is true. Even if you proved conclusively that either of those was true or false, you would still have no evidence at all for the truth of the conditional... In fact, even if you proved both antecedent and consequent true, or both false, or the consequent true and the antecedent false, that would still have no bearing on the truth of the conditional. In all these cases, the conditional could be either true or false...
This is because a conditional is a statement which is not about the truth of any individual proposition, but a particular connection between the two."(p. 92)

For someone trained in formal logic this should seem puzzling. Formally, the truth table of the conditional does determine when it is false, namely when the antecedent is true and the consequent is false. It may be debated whether this extensional truth table really captures the meaning of natural language conditional statements (many say it gives absurd results in some important cases), but it cannot be denied that it goes some way to achieve that. To consider conditionals as expressing a connection between the two contained propositions is to treat them intensionally, i. e. in a way in which their truth does not depend on their constituent propositions. This distinction is an important one, and it should have been indicated clearly in the text.

2. The discussion of the Divine Command view of ethics is simplistic in one respect. Radcliffe says if you think that the problem of Evil needs to be answered, you cannot consistently accept the Divine Command View, as it considers goodness as dependent on the will of God, moreover, it says that whatever God willed must be good. Thus if God willed that suffering be present in the world, this must be a good thing, too.
I think this line of argument would reduce the DC view to absurdity, and Radcliffe unjustly mocks it by saying "[if the DCV were true]we could just say 'War is a good thing after all'."
Of course, one could obviously point out in defence of the DCV that you need not forego it in order to see a real problem in the existence of Evil. One could deny that God willed the suffering (maybe other people did, or Satan in the case of natural disasters) and hold on to the DCV, and/or work out a theodicy in which all sufferings are eventually justified by some greater good, so one can keep the DCV consistently again.

3. There is another argument in the chapter that I disagree with and which I consider the weakest one of the book. It is about the inconsistency of moral relativism. R. says that relativism in its familiar formulations is incoherent, because "it specifies that no principle should be given precedence over others, but in doing so it gives itself precedence; it says that you should not impose your principles on others, but in doing so attempts to impose itself on the holders of other views, and displace theirs."

I have two objections:

a) relativism as a practical guide may be incoherent, but people often act incoherently, as witnessed by the problem of the weakness of will. In itself, there is nothing problematic with that: if all values are subjective, then perhaps there is no other possible way for us to think and act.

b) In addition to the pratical level, there is the meta-level of justification where moral relativism may well win the day. This issue is independent of whether relativism as a practical view is incoherent or not. Furthermore, I find R.'s claim that we can conduct a 'secular moral enquiry' to discover moral truth by using our reason entirely unconvincing. The proposed means, intuitive reasoning, can only work provided there is something objective to be ascertained. However, R. does not in the least argue that there must be objective moral truths: it is one thing to claim that the existence of objective moral standards does not presuppose the existence of God (I agree on this point), and another to substantiate the claim that there are objective moral standards in the first place. Of course, we could see this argument as one working out an implication of Darwinism (i. e. as arguing for the possibilty of a Darwinist ethics) and not as one for such a substantive claim. But in the light of everthing else R. says about morality, especially in the last chapter where she claims that there ARE some real differences between accepting the Darwininan and the non-Darwinian view (plus materialism), (notably concerning survival of death and the prearranged moral order of the universe), what she had said about objective moral truth beforehand does seem very curious. She concludes the first-mentioned chapter by saying 'there is no reason to think that if materialism is true we must be unable to reason morally'. Well, that may be so, but provided that moral reasoning is done by reflective persons, it may easily lead to its own demise, too, or at least we cannot exclude this possibility a priori.
In my view, if you accept the Darwininan view, the only available choice is moral nihilism, or perhaps a version of an "error theory" of morality.

Despite the above critical remarks, in my overall assessment this is a superb book which everyone interested in evolutionary thinking should read. I hope I have not misrepresented the author's arguments in my criticism of them. I would appreciate if you shared your comments with me.
2 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent idea for a project, but not very well executed 22 janvier 2010
Par E. T. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
So, I taught an intro to philosophy class with this book and although I was hopeful that it would work out, I found it to be uneven in its quality.

The main argument of the book seemed a promising way to introduce philosophical argument to students. Richards proposes that the philosophical interest in Darwinism today is not the fundamentalist vs. scientist, but rather what happens when scientists speculate about the social, ethical and political implications of Darwinism.

The social construction arguments are thin, the stuff on relativism is weak, and the history of materialism and the critique of teleology in scientific explanation is missing a few crucial centuries. Richards appears to make Darwin into the first convincing materialist philosopher, which leaves out some important ones (if this is to be a philosophical text). The second chapter on skepticism and 'subject changing' is weak and the number of rape related exercises troubling. Chapter 3 is sort of unusable given Richards inability to set out the debates in any sort of objective or clear way.

In any case, chapters 1, 4 and 7 were usable for my class, but that was it. Next time, we're reading Dennett!
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Darwinism 6 mai 2013
Par Felicia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The author is extremely intelligent. This is a good look at materialism, morality, and the implications of Darwinism on modern thought.
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