thinking makes it so

There is grandeur in this view of life…

Posts Tagged ‘evolution

The one about the English fox and the Australian rabbit

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Red fox

Red fox

Thank you Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (F&P-P) for keeping Australian rabbits safe from English foxes:

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.

[Follows Just-as story as third in a series on Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s What Darwin Got Wrong, which began with Smear campaign.]

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Smear campaign

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Jerry Fodor

Jerry Fodor

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.

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Not thumping but pumping

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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.

[Follows Reductio ad Professor Plum as fifth in a series on Stuart A Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred which began with Reinventing the sand dune.]

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Ethics as a product of evolution

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[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.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

7 November 2010 at 6:02 pm

Quite contrary

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I have often thought Mary Midgley must have read The Selfish Gene upside-down:

Written by Chris Lawrence

28 October 2010 at 8:37 pm

Evolutionary morality

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What have we become?

What have we become?

I have just participated in a blog discussion on ‘Evolutionary Morality’. But what I said can also stand as a self-contained post.

‘Evolutionary Morality’ can refer to at least three things which it is important to keep very distinct.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

10 September 2010 at 3:34 pm

So be good for goodness sake

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Question mark

Why should I?

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.

Terry Sissons responded with the $64K question: Why follow the Golden Rule? Why treat others as I would wish to be treated?

There are times when I think it could be the biggest $64K question of all.

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Written by Chris Lawrence

8 September 2010 at 8:37 pm

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