Book

Beyond Evolution

Anthony O'Hear

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198250043
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598111 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250045.001.0001
Beyond Evolution

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The theory of evolution may be successful in explaining natural history, but it is of limited value when applied to the human world. Because of our reflectiveness and rationality, as embodied in language, we give ourselves ideals that cannot be justified in terms of survival‐promotion or reproductive advantage. Evolutionary theory is unable to give satisfactory accounts of such distinctive features of human life as the quest for knowledge, our moral sense, and the appreciation of beauty. At most, it can account for their prefiguration at some earlier stage of development than the human. In all these areas we transcend our biological origins, and such mechanisms as genetic survival, kin selection, reciprocal altruism, and sexual selection. But because of our rationality we can also transcend our cultural inheritance explanation of which in terms of memes is both hollow and misleading. We are rooted both in our biology and in our cultural inheritance; but, sociobiology and sociology notwithstanding, we are prisoners neither of our genes nor of the ideas we encounter as we each make our personal journey through life.

Keywords: biological origin; cultural inheritance; Darwin; evolution; evolutionary theory; genes; memes; Anthony O’Hear; philosophy of science; rationality; self‐consciousness; sociobiology

Book.  230 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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Table of Contents

Mind and Nature in Beyond Evolution

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Self‐Conscious Belief in Beyond Evolution

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Evolutionary Epistemology in Beyond Evolution

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Morality and Politics in Beyond Evolution

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Conclusion in Beyond Evolution

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