Evolution and Human Culture argues that values, beliefs, and practices are expressions of individual and shared moral sentiments. Much of our cultural production stems from what in early hominins was a caring tendency, both the care to share and a self-care to challenge others. Topics cover prehistory, mind, biology, morality, comparative primatology, art, and aesthetics. The book is valuable to students and scholars in the arts, including moral philosophers, who would benefit from reading about scientific developments that impact their fields. For biologists and social scientists the book provides a window into how scientific research contributes to understanding the arts and humanities. The take-home point is that culture does not transcend nature; rather, culture is an evolved moral behavior.
Written across the disciplines of art history, literature, philosophy, sociology, and theology, the ten essays comprising the collection all insist on multidimensional definitions of evil.
Taking its title from a moment in Shakespeare’s
Tempest when Prospero acknowledges his responsibility for Caliban, this collection explores the necessarily ambivalent relationship between humanity and evil. To what extent are a given society’s definitions of evil self-serving? Which figures are marginalized in the process of identifying evil? How is humanity itself implicated in the production of evil? Is evil itself something fundamentally human? These questions, indicative of the kinds of issues raised in this collection, seem all the more pressing in light of recent world events.
The ten essays were originally presented at the First Global Conference on Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness, held in March 2000 in Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.
The essays collected here represent the latest thinking on postmodernism in a number of key areas: economics, law, postcolonialism, literature, feminism, film, philosophy. One of the issues common to the volume is the desire to cast postmodernism in a predominantly ethical ('just') light, and the opportunities and obstacles postmodernism might place in the path of the description of, and search for, justice. The collection highlights the most recent trends in postmodern thinking, the turn away from postmodernism as mere discourse and language games to a more politically and socially engaged forum. The book will be of interest to all students of contemporary cultural, social and critical thought.