Not By Genes Alone

Author : Peter J. Richerson
ISBN : 0226712133
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 32.82 MB
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Humans are a striking anomaly in the natural world. While we are similar to other mammals in many ways, our behavior sets us apart. Our unparalleled ability to adapt has allowed us to occupy virtually every habitat on earth using an incredible variety of tools and subsistence techniques. Our societies are larger, more complex, and more cooperative than any other mammal's. In this stunning exploration of human adaptation, Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd argue that only a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution can explain these unique characteristics. Not by Genes Alone offers a radical interpretation of human evolution, arguing that our ecological dominance and our singular social systems stem from a psychology uniquely adapted to create complex culture. Richerson and Boyd illustrate here that culture is neither superorganic nor the handmaiden of the genes. Rather, it is essential to human adaptation, as much a part of human biology as bipedal locomotion. Drawing on work in the fields of anthropology, political science, sociology, and economics—and building their case with such fascinating examples as kayaks, corporations, clever knots, and yams that require twelve men to carry them—Richerson and Boyd convincingly demonstrate that culture and biology are inextricably linked, and they show us how to think about their interaction in a way that yields a richer understanding of human nature. In abandoning the nature-versus-nurture debate as fundamentally misconceived, Not by Genes Alone is a truly original and groundbreaking theory of the role of culture in evolution and a book to be reckoned with for generations to come. “I continue to be surprised by the number of educated people (many of them biologists) who think that offering explanations for human behavior in terms of culture somehow disproves the suggestion that human behavior can be explained in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Fortunately, we now have a book to which they may be directed for enlightenment . . . . It is a book full of good sense and the kinds of intellectual rigor and clarity of writing that we have come to expect from the Boyd/Richerson stable.”—Robin Dunbar, Nature “Not by Genes Alone is a valuable and very readable synthesis of a still embryonic but very important subject straddling the sciences and humanities.”—E. O. Wilson, Harvard University
Category: Social Science

A Different Kind Of Animal How Culture Transformed Our Species

Author : Robert Boyd
ISBN : 9781400888528
Genre : Science
File Size : 54.98 MB
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How our ability to learn from each other has been the essential ingredient to our remarkable success as a species Human beings are a very different kind of animal. We have evolved to become the most dominant species on Earth. We have a larger geographical range and process more energy than any other creature alive. This astonishing transformation is usually explained in terms of cognitive ability—people are just smarter than all the rest. But in this compelling book, Robert Boyd argues that culture—our ability to learn from each other—has been the essential ingredient of our remarkable success. A Different Kind of Animal demonstrates that while people are smart, we are not nearly smart enough to have solved the vast array of problems that confronted our species as it spread across the globe. Over the past two million years, culture has evolved to enable human populations to accumulate superb local adaptations that no individual could ever have invented on their own. It has also made possible the evolution of social norms that allow humans to make common cause with large groups of unrelated individuals, a kind of society not seen anywhere else in nature. This unique combination of cultural adaptation and large-scale cooperation has transformed our species and assured our survival—making us the different kind of animal we are today. Based on the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, A Different Kind of Animal features challenging responses by biologist H. Allen Orr, philosopher Kim Sterelny, economist Paul Seabright, and evolutionary anthropologist Ruth Mace, as well as an introduction by Stephen Macedo.
Category: Science

Brave New Brain

Author : Nancy C. Andreasen
ISBN : 9783642559518
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 34.47 MB
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Nancy Andreasen, führende Neurowissenschaftlerin, Herausgeberin des angesehenen American Journal of Psychiatry und ausgezeichnet mit der National Medal of Science, zeigt uns in ihrem neuen Buch die Zusammenhänge zwischen Gehirn und Genom. Dank modernster Methoden und Entdeckungen in Neurowissenschaften und Molekularbiologie wissen Forscher mehr denn je über die Funktionen des Gehirns. Die Autorin beschreibt auf faszinierende und verständliche Weise, wie alles zusammenhängt - von Milliarden kleinster Neuronen im Thalamus bis hin zur moralischen Kontrollinstanz im präfrontalen Kortex. Sie erklärt die Entschlüsselung des Genoms, dessen 30000-40000 Gene fast alle in irgendeiner Form in unserem Gehirn aktiv sind. In fesselnden Geschichten beleuchtet sie aber auch, wie sich psychische Störungen entwickeln und welche Auswirkungen sie auf Patienten und Angehörige haben. Nancy Andreasen gelingt der Brückenschlag zwischen hochkomplexen Inhalten und spannender Lektüre.
Category: Psychology

Die Evolution Der Kooperation

Author : Robert Axelrod
ISBN : 9783486851748
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 33.11 MB
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Wie ist Kooperation möglich in einer Welt von Egoisten, in der es keine zentrale Autorität gibt? Axelrod entwickelt aus der Spieltheorie - auf der Basis des "Gefangenendilemmas" - eine verblüffende Lösung. Nicht die raffinierteste, auch nicht die aggressivste, nicht die sanfteste Strategie sichert langfristig Erfolg, sondern die grundsätzlich wohlwollende, aber stets vergeltungsbereite: TIT FOR TAT, "wie Du mir, so ich Dir". Axelrod schließt daraus, dass in der globalen arbeitsteiligen Wirtschaftsweise geradezu ein innerer Zwang zur Kooperation besteht. Gewinnbringende Kooperationen sind für Unternehmen nützlicher als blinder Wettbewerb.
Category: Philosophy

Historisches W Rterbuch Der Biologie

Author : Georg Toepfer
ISBN : 9783476004550
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 50.42 MB
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Das Wörterbuch präsentiert die Grundbegriffe der Biologie in Form einer ausführlichen Wort- und Begriffsgeschichte. 112 Haupt- und 1.760 Nebeneinträge, von der Prägung der Begriffe bis zu den heute dominanten Bedeutungen, umreißen die Geschichte der biologischen Ideen, Konzepte und Theorien. Dafür wurden die seit Kurzem digital verfügbaren großen Datenbanken naturwissenschaftlicher Texte systematisch ausgewertet. Eine unschätzbare Informationsquelle nicht nur für Biologen und Wissenschaftshistoriker, sondern auch für Philosophen, Sprach-, Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaftler.
Category: Social Science

Das Egoistische Gen

Author : Richard Dawkins
ISBN : 9783642553912
Genre : Science
File Size : 32.75 MB
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p”Ein auch heute noch bedeutsamer Klassiker“ Daily Express Sind wir Marionetten unserer Gene? Nach Richard Dawkins ́ vor über 30 Jahren entworfener und heute noch immer provozierender These steuern und dirigieren unsere von Generation zu Generation weitergegebenen Gene uns, um sich selbst zu erhalten. Alle biologischen Organismen dienen somit vor allem dem Überleben und der Unsterblichkeit der Erbanlagen und sind letztlich nur die "Einweg-Behälter" der "egoistischen" Gene. Sind wir Menschen also unserem Gen-Schicksal hilflos ausgeliefert? Dawkins bestreitet dies und macht uns Hoffnung: Seiner Meinung nach sind wir nämlich die einzige Spezies mit der Chance, gegen ihr genetisches Schicksal anzukämpfen.
Category: Science

Evolution Culture And The Human Mind

Author : Mark Schaller
ISBN : 9781136950490
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 38.40 MB
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An enormous amount of scientific research compels two fundamental conclusions about the human mind: The mind is the product of evolution; and the mind is shaped by culture. These two perspectives on the human mind are not incompatible, but, until recently, their compatibility has resisted rigorous scholarly inquiry. Evolutionary psychology documents many ways in which genetic adaptations govern the operations of the human mind. But evolutionary inquiries only occasionally grapple seriously with questions about human culture and cross-cultural differences. By contrast, cultural psychology documents many ways in which thought and behavior are shaped by different cultural experiences. But cultural inquires rarely consider evolutionary processes. Even after decades of intensive research, these two perspectives on human psychology have remained largely divorced from each other. But that is now changing - and that is what this book is about. Evolution, Culture, and the Human Mind is the first scholarly book to integrate evolutionary and cultural perspectives on human psychology. The contributors include world-renowned evolutionary, cultural, social, and cognitive psychologists. These chapters reveal many novel insights linking human evolution to both human cognition and human culture – including the evolutionary origins of cross-cultural differences. The result is a stimulating introduction to an emerging integrative perspective on human nature.
Category: Psychology

Mortal Rituals

Author : Matt J. Rossano
ISBN : 9780231535465
Genre : Science
File Size : 51.30 MB
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On December 21, 1972, sixteen young survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued after spending ten weeks stranded at the crash site of their plane, high in the remote Andes Mountains. The incident made international headlines and spawned several bestselling books, fueled partially by the fact that the young men had resorted to cannibalism to survive. Matt Rossano examines this story from an evolutionary perspective, weaving together findings and ideas from anthropology, psychology, religion, and cognitive science. He ties their story to our story, seeing in the mortal rituals of this ten-week struggle a reflection of the very essence of what it means to be human. During their ordeal, the Andes’ survivors (re)created a primitive yet complex social system embodying the efficiency and flexibility necessary to meet the challenges of a harsh environment. They broke “civilized” taboos to fend off starvation and abandoned “civilized” modes of thinking to maintain social unity and personal sanity. These young men established daily routines and rituals that perpetuated their survival while sustaining their morale. Finally, through the power of ritual, they accessed the mind’s ability to endure severe emotional and physical hardship. All of these essential strategies have deep evolutionary histories. They are what our ancestors did for millennia upon millennia in their struggle to survive.
Category: Science

Cultural Neuroscience Cultural Influences On Brain Function

Author : Juan Y. Chiao
ISBN : 9780080952215
Genre : Science
File Size : 87.49 MB
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This volume presents recent empirical advances using neuroscience techniques to investigate how culture influences neural processes underlying a wide range of human abilities, from perception and scene processing to memory and social cognition. It also highlights the theoretical and methodological issues with conducting cultural neuroscience research. Section I provides diverse theoretical perspectives on how culture and biology interact are represented. Sections II –VI is to demonstrate how cultural values, beliefs, practices and experience affect neural systems underlying a wide range of human behavior from perception and cognition to emotion, social cognition and decision-making. The final section presents arguments for integrating the study of culture and the human brain by providing an explicit articulation of how the study of culture can inform the study of the brain and vice versa.
Category: Science

Why Religion Is Natural And Science Is Not

Author : Robert N. McCauley
ISBN : 9780199912308
Genre : Religion
File Size : 37.73 MB
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The battle between religion and science, competing methods of knowing ourselves and our world, has been raging for many centuries. Now scientists themselves are looking at cognitive foundations of religion--and arriving at some surprising conclusions. Over the course of the past two decades, scholars have employed insights gleaned from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and related disciplines to illuminate the study of religion. In Why Religion is Natural and Science Is Not, Robert N. McCauley, one of the founding fathers of the cognitive science of religion, argues that our minds are better suited to religious belief than to scientific inquiry. Drawing on the latest research and illustrating his argument with commonsense examples, McCauley argues that religion has existed for many thousands of years in every society because the kinds of explanations it provides are precisely the kinds that come naturally to human minds. Science, on the other hand, is a much more recent and rare development because it reaches radical conclusions and requires a kind of abstract thinking that only arises consistently under very specific social conditions. Religion makes intuitive sense to us, while science requires a lot of work. McCauley then draws out the larger implications of these findings. The naturalness of religion, he suggests, means that science poses no real threat to it, while the unnaturalness of science puts it in a surprisingly precarious position. Rigorously argued and elegantly written, this provocative book will appeal to anyone interested in the ongoing debate between religion and science, and in the nature and workings of the human mind.
Category: Religion