Posts Tagged ‘evolution’
The number of rabbits in Australia is unaffected by the number of foxes in England. That’s because the predations of the one on the other are all merely counterfactual, and possible-but-not-actual events do not exert selection pressures.
I was delighted when my son gave me a copy of Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s What Darwin Got Wrong for my birthday. Not because I did think Darwin got anything significantly wrong but because I didn’t. I like having my opinions and beliefs tested. I had heard of Jerry Fodor but not Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (not a name one is likely to forget).
[First in a series on Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s What Darwin Got Wrong.]
I read the book through once and then a lot of it a second time. I really struggled to make head or tail of their arguments, and why they thought they had such a killer critique of the theory of natural selection.
One of the frustrating things about Reinventing the Sacred is that it keeps flip-flopping between condensed accounts of areas of science and mathematics I don’t understand well enough and logical leaps which don’t seem justified. So I keep flip-flopping in turn between wondering if it’s my ignorance that’s the problem and wondering if the logical leaps really don’t make sense.
[The post below is my draft research proposal for a philosophy PhD at a UK university. Any feedback would be more than welcome!]
The question I want to examine is one which is formally hypothetical, but has more than hypothetical significance.
I am not assuming that human moral sense and behaviour are products of evolution. But I am assuming it is at least possible that they are. If that assumption is unsound, I want to understand why.
Assuming the assumption is sound, I then want to consider what its impact might be on the branch of philosophy we know as ethics, if it actually turned out to be true.
It’s a good question. Last time I suggested that teaching the Golden Rule was in every way a better option for atheist (and indeed non-atheist) parents looking for ways to instill moral values in their children. A better option, that is, than resorting to religion.
There are times when I think it could be the biggest $64K question of all.