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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.
Stances on the Neurobiology of Social Cognition
This book examines philosophical and scientific implications of Neodarwinism relative to recent empirical data. It develops explanations of social behavior and cognition through analysis of mental capabilities and consideration of ethical issues. It includes debate within cognitive science among explanations of social and moral phenomena from philosophy, evolutionary and cognitive psychology, neurobiology, linguistics, and computer science. The series Cognitive Science provides an original corpus of scholarly work that makes explicit the import of cognitive-science research for philosophical analysis. Topics include the nature, structure, and justification of knowledge, cognitive architectures and development, brain-mind theories, and consciousness.
Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger argues that mortality is a fundamental structuring element in human life. The ordinary view of life and death regards them as dichotomous and separate. This book explains why this view is unsatisfactory and presents a new model of the relationship between life and death that sees them as interlinked. Using Heidegger’s concept of being towards death and Freud’s notion of the death drive, it demonstrates the extensive influence death has on everyday life and gives an account of its structural and existential significance. By bringing the two perspectives together, this book presents a reading of death that establishes its significance for life, creates a meeting point for philosophical and psychoanalytical perspectives, and examines the problems and strengths of each. It then puts forth a unified view, based on the strengths of each position and overcoming the problems of each. Finally, it works out the ethical consequences of this view. This volume is of interest for philosophers, mental health practitioners and those working in the field of death studies.
This book offers a bold and controversial new thesis regarding the nature of prejudice. The authors' central claim is that prejudice is not simply learned, rather it is predisposed in all human beings and is thus the foundation for ethical valuation. They aim to destroy the illusion that prejudice is merely the result of learned beliefs, socially conditioned attitudes, or pathological states of development. Contrary to traditional accounts, prejudice itself is not a negative attribute of human nature, rather it is the necessary precondition for the self and civilization to emerge. Defined as the preferential self-expression of valuation, prejudice gives rise to greater existential complexities and novelties that elevate selfhood and society to higher states of ethical realization. Rather than offer another contribution that highlights the destructive nature of prejudice, Mills and Polanowski address the ontological, psychological, and dialectical origins of prejudice as it manifests itself in the process of selfhood and culture. They provide an original conceptualization of the phenomenology of prejudice and its dialectical instantiation in the ontology of the individual, worldhood, and the very structures of subjectivity. As a unique synthesis of psychoanalysis, Hegelian idealism, Heideggerian existential ontology, and Whiteheadian process philosophy, prejudice is the indispensable ground for humanity to actualize its highest potentiality-for-Being. The striking result is (1) a revolutionary theory of human nature, (2) a new ethical system, and (3) the elevation of dialectical ethics to the domain of metaphysics.