Nonzero

The Logic of Human Destiny

Author: Robert Wright

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 9780375727818

Category: Science

Page: 448

View: 2205

In his bestselling The Moral Animal, Robert Wright applied the principles of evolutionary biology to the study of the human mind. Now Wright attempts something even more ambitious: explaining the direction of evolution and human history–and discerning where history will lead us next. In Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Wright asserts that, ever since the primordial ooze, life has followed a basic pattern. Organisms and human societies alike have grown more complex by mastering the challenges of internal cooperation. Wright's narrative ranges from fossilized bacteria to vampire bats, from stone-age villages to the World Trade Organization, uncovering such surprises as the benefits of barbarian hordes and the useful stability of feudalism. Here is history endowed with moral significance–a way of looking at our biological and cultural evolution that suggests, refreshingly, that human morality has improved over time, and that our instinct to discover meaning may itself serve a higher purpose. Insightful, witty, profound, Nonzero offers breathtaking implications for what we believe and how we adapt to technology's ongoing transformation of the world. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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NonZero

The Logic of Human Destiny

Author: Robert Wright

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0679758941

Category: History

Page: 435

View: 7869

Challenging the idea that biological evolution is aimless, the author explores his theory that greater social complexity is "in the cards" for humanity as the species continues to evolve. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.
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The Evolution of God

Author: Robert Wright

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 9780316053273

Category: Religion

Page: 576

View: 1342

In this sweeping narrative that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright's findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy. He explains why spirituality has a role today, and why science, contrary to conventional wisdom, affirms the validity of the religious quest. And this previously unrecognized evolutionary logic points not toward continued religious extremism, but future harmony. Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a breathtaking re-examination of the past, and a visionary look forward.
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The Moral Animal

Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology

Author: Robert Wright

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307772748

Category: Psychology

Page: 496

View: 7668

Are men literally born to cheat? Does monogamy actually serve women's interests? These are among the questions that have made The Moral Animal one of the most provocative science books in recent years. Wright unveils the genetic strategies behind everything from our sexual preferences to our office politics--as well as their implications for our moral codes and public policies. Illustrations. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Nonzero

History, Evolution & Human Cooperation

Author: Robert Wright

Publisher: Time Warner Books UK

ISBN: 9780349113340

Category: Cooperation

Page: 435

View: 9317

In a book sure to stir argument for years to come, Robert Wright challen+ges the conventional view that biological evolution and human history are aimless. Ingeniously employing game theory - the logic of 'zero-sum' and 'non-zero-sum' games - Wright isolates the impetus behind life's basic direction: the impetus that, via biological evolution, created complex, intelligent animals, and then via cultural evolution, pushed the human species towards deeper and vaster social complexity. In this view, the coming of today's independent global society was 'in the cards' - not quite inevitable, but, as Wright puts it, 'so probable as to inspire wonder'. In a narrative of breathtaking scope and erudition, yet pungent wit, Wright takes on some of the past century's most prominent thinkers, including Isaiah Berlin, Karl Popper, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins. Wright argues that a coolly specific appraisal of humanity's three-billion-year past can give new spiritual meaning to the present and even offer political guidance for the future. This book will change the way people think about the human prospect.
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Moral Tribes

Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them

Author: Joshua David Greene

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0143126059

Category: Philosophy

Page: 422

View: 1814

A path-breaking neuroscientist explores how globalization has illuminated the deep moral divisions between opposing sides, drawing on pioneering research to reveal the evolutionary sources of morality while outlining recommendations for bridging divided cultures.
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Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite

Evolution and the Modular Mind

Author: Robert Kurzban

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691154392

Category: Psychology

Page: 274

View: 8031

We're all hypocrites. Why? Hypocrisy is the natural state of the human mind. Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind's design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution by natural selection. While these modules sometimes work together seamlessly, they don't always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and overinflated views of ourselves. This modular, evolutionary psychological view of the mind undermines deeply held intuitions about ourselves, as well as a range of scientific theories that require a "self" with consistent beliefs and preferences. Modularity suggests that there is no "I." Instead, each of us is a contentious "we"--a collection of discrete but interacting systems whose constant conflicts shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world. In clear language, full of wit and rich in examples, Kurzban explains the roots and implications of our inconsistent minds, and why it is perfectly natural to believe that everyone else is a hypocrite.
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Three scientists and their gods

looking for meaning in an age of information

Author: Robert Wright

Publisher: Crown

ISBN: N.A

Category: Science

Page: 324

View: 9123

Examines the concepts of information, meaning, and purpose, describes the function of information at various levels of organization, and discusses the theories of Edward Fredkin, Edward O. Wilson, and Kenneth Blouding
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Intelligent Design

The Bridge Between Science & Theology

Author: William A. Dembski

Publisher: InterVarsity Press

ISBN: 9780830823147

Category: Religion

Page: 312

View: 2562

Explains the theory of intelligent design and explains how it can link science and theology by avoiding the traps of creationism and Darwinism.
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Strangers Drowning

Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Urge to Help

Author: Larissa MacFarquhar

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0143109782

Category: Philosophy

Page: 336

View: 3421

"What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar seeks out people living lives of extreme ethical commitment and tells their deeply intimate stories; their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their joys and defeats and wrenching dilemmas. Through its sympathetic and beautifully vivid storytelling, Strangers Drowning confronts us with fundamental questions about what it means to be human. In a world of strangers drowning in need, how much should we help, and how much can we help? Is it right to care for strangers even at the expense of those we are closest to? Moving and provocative, Strangers Drowning challenges us to think about what we value most, and why"--
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Adapting Minds

Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature

Author: David J. Buller

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262261821

Category: Philosophy

Page: 564

View: 2877

Was human nature designed by natural selection in the Pleistocene epoch? The dominant view in evolutionary psychology holds that it was -- that our psychological adaptations were designed tens of thousands of years ago to solve problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. In this provocative and lively book, David Buller examines in detail the major claims of evolutionary psychology -- the paradigm popularized by Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate and by David Buss in The Evolution of Desire -- and rejects them all. This does not mean that we cannot apply evolutionary theory to human psychology, says Buller, but that the conventional wisdom in evolutionary psychology is misguided.Evolutionary psychology employs a kind of reverse engineering to explain the evolved design of the mind, figuring out the adaptive problems our ancestors faced and then inferring the psychological adaptations that evolved to solve them. In the carefully argued central chapters of Adapting Minds, Buller scrutinizes several of evolutionary psychology's most highly publicized "discoveries," including "discriminative parental solicitude" (the idea that stepparents abuse their stepchildren at a higher rate than genetic parents abuse their biological children). Drawing on a wide range of empirical research, including his own large-scale study of child abuse, he shows that none is actually supported by the evidence.Buller argues that our minds are not adapted to the Pleistocene, but, like the immune system, are continually adapting, over both evolutionary time and individual lifetimes. We must move beyond the reigning orthodoxy of evolutionary psychology to reach an accurate understanding of how human psychology is influenced by evolution. When we do, Buller claims, we will abandon not only the quest for human nature but the very idea of human nature itself.
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After Buddhism

Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age

Author: Stephen Batchelor

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 030021622X

Category: Religion

Page: 396

View: 7450

Some twenty-five centuries after the Buddha started teaching, his message continues to inspire people across the globe, including those living in predominantly secular societies. What does it mean to adapt religious practices to secular contexts? Stephen Batchelor, an internationally known author and teacher, is committed to a secularized version of the Buddha’s teachings. The time has come, he feels, to articulate a coherent ethical, contemplative, and philosophical vision of Buddhism for our age. After Buddhism, the culmination of four decades of study and practice in the Tibetan, Zen, and Theravada traditions, is his attempt to set the record straight about who the Buddha was and what he was trying to teach. Combining critical readings of the earliest canonical texts with narrative accounts of five members of the Buddha’s inner circle, Batchelor depicts the Buddha as a pragmatic ethicist rather than a dogmatic metaphysician. He envisions Buddhism as a constantly evolving culture of awakening whose long survival is due to its capacity to reinvent itself and interact creatively with each society it encounters. This original and provocative book presents a new framework for understanding the remarkable spread of Buddhism in today’s globalized world. It also reminds us of what was so startling about the Buddha’s vision of human flourishing.
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Why Buddhism is True

The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment

Author: Robert Wright

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1439195471

Category: Psychology

Page: 336

View: 6839

From one of America’s most brilliant writers, a New York Times bestselling journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness. At the heart of Buddhism is a simple claim: The reason we suffer—and the reason we make other people suffer—is that we don’t see the world clearly. At the heart of Buddhist meditative practice is a radical promise: We can learn to see the world, including ourselves, more clearly and so gain a deep and morally valid happiness. In this “sublime” (The New Yorker), pathbreaking book, Robert Wright shows how taking this promise seriously can change your life—how it can loosen the grip of anxiety, regret, and hatred, and how it can deepen your appreciation of beauty and of other people. He also shows why this transformation works, drawing on the latest in neuroscience and psychology, and armed with an acute understanding of human evolution. This book is the culmination of a personal journey that began with Wright’s landmark book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal, and deepened as he immersed himself in meditative practice and conversed with some of the world’s most skilled meditators. The result is a story that is “provocative, informative and...deeply rewarding” (The New York Times Book Review), and as entertaining as it is illuminating. Written with the wit, clarity, and grace for which Wright is famous, Why Buddhism Is True lays the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age and shows how, in a time of technological distraction and social division, we can save ourselves from ourselves, both as individuals and as a species.
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Cosmology and Creation

The Spiritual Significance of Contemporary Cosmology

Author: Paul Brockelman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780195353150

Category: Science

Page: 208

View: 6205

The Big Bang is a myth, says Paul Brockelman in this fascinating look at the spiritual side of modern cosmology. But it is a myth in the best sense--a fully realized creation story, one that, for all its scientific origins, has the power to transform us spiritually. In Cosmology and Creation, philosopher and religious scholar Brockelman seeks to bridge the gap between the scientific and the spiritual, to bring together (as he puts it) the head and the heart. We have isolated the two realms from each other for so long, he argues, that we have begun to lose a mystical sense of our place in the universe. But Brockelman believes that contemporary physics has advanced far beyond the mechanical view of nature, as propagated in the Enlightenment; the cosmology of the Big Bang has fostered a new way of understanding existence itself. To illustrate, he examines creation myths of the past, showing how they transcend simple explanations of the world to provide a deeper understanding of what our lives mean. And the fifteen-billion-year tale of the universe embraced by scientific cosmology serves precisely the same purpose, Brockelman claims; it bears a close resemblance to classic creation myths--and, indeed, it can transform our inner relationship with nature. The new scientific cosmology, Brockelman argues, offers something never before seen in human history: a scientifically accurate understanding of the entire universe and a spiritual vision of a "wider order of being" to which we all belong. Passionate and provocative, Cosmology and Creation promises to spark a lively debate about the new links between science and religion.
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The Human Career

Human Biological and Cultural Origins, Third Edition

Author: Richard G. Klein

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022602752X

Category: Social Science

Page: 1024

View: 5601

Since its publication in 1989, The Human Career has proved to be an indispensable tool in teaching human origins. This substantially revised third edition retains Richard G. Klein’s innovative approach while showing how cumulative discoveries and analyses over the past ten years have significantly refined our knowledge of human evolution. Klein chronicles the evolution of people from the earliest primates through the emergence of fully modern humans within the past 200,000 years. His comprehensive treatment stresses recent advances in knowledge, including, for example, ever more abundant evidence that fully modern humans originated in Africa and spread from there, replacing the Neanderthals in Europe and equally archaic people in Asia. With its coverage of both the fossil record and the archaeological record over the 2.5 million years for which both are available, The Human Career demonstrates that human morphology and behavior evolved together. Throughout the book, Klein presents evidence for alternative points of view, but does not hesitate to make his own position clear. In addition to outlining the broad pattern of human evolution, The Human Career details the kinds of data that support it. For the third edition, Klein has added numerous tables and a fresh citation system designed to enhance readability, especially for students. He has also included more than fifty new illustrations to help lay readers grasp the fossils, artifacts, and other discoveries on which specialists rely. With abundant references and hundreds of images, charts, and diagrams, this new edition is unparalleled in its usefulness for teaching human evolution.
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The Infidel and the Professor

David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

Author: Dennis C. Rasmussen

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400888468

Category: Philosophy

Page: 336

View: 5074

The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships—and how it influenced modern thought David Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as “the Great Infidel” for his skeptical religious views and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy, and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for most of their adult lives, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. The Infidel and the Professor is the first book to tell the fascinating story of the friendship of these towering Enlightenment thinkers—and how it influenced their world-changing ideas. The book follows Hume and Smith’s relationship from their first meeting in 1749 until Hume’s death in 1776. It describes how they commented on each other’s writings, supported each other’s careers and literary ambitions, and advised each other on personal matters, most notably after Hume’s quarrel with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Members of a vibrant intellectual scene in Enlightenment Scotland, Hume and Smith made many of the same friends (and enemies), joined the same clubs, and were interested in many of the same subjects well beyond philosophy and economics—from psychology and history to politics and Britain’s conflict with the American colonies. The book reveals that Smith’s private religious views were considerably closer to Hume’s public ones than is usually believed. It also shows that Hume contributed more to economics—and Smith contributed more to philosophy—than is generally recognized. Vividly written, The Infidel and the Professor is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.
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Think

Why You Should Question Everything

Author: Guy P. Harrison

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 1616148071

Category: Philosophy

Page: 240

View: 4519

An introductory guide to critical thinking identifies innate biases and traps that challenge the brain's understandings of the world, arguing that skepticism is a constructive and optimistic attitude that can alleviate susceptibility to nonsense and delusion. Original.
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That Used to Be Us

How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

Author: Thomas L. Friedman,Michael Mandelbaum

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 1250013720

Category: Political Science

Page: 432

View: 2200

This book makes recommendations for meeting four major challenges currently facing the United States, including globalization, the information technology revolution, chronic deficits, and unbalanced energy consumption. America has a huge problem. It faces four major challenges, on which its future depends, and it is failing to meet them. In this book the authors analyze those challenges, globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation's chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption, and spell out what needs to be done now to rediscover America's power and prowess. They explain how the end of the cold war blinded the nation to the need to address these issues seriously. They show how America's history, when properly understood, provides the key to coping successfully and explain how the paralysis of the U.S. political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible to carry out the policies the country needs. This work is both a searching exploration ofthe American condition today and a rousing manifesto for American renewal.
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Natural Enemies

People-Wildlife Conflicts in Anthropological Perspective

Author: John Knight

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135126003

Category: Social Science

Page: 272

View: 387

Wild animals raid crops, attack livestock, and sometimes threaten people. Conflicts with wildlife are widespread, assume a variety of forms, and elicit a range of human responses. Wildlife pests are frequently demonized and resisted by local communities while routinely 'controlled' by state authorities. However, to the great concern of conservationists, the history of many people-wildlife conflicts lies in human encroachment into wildlife territory. In Natural Enemies the authors place the analytical focus on the human dimension of these conflicts - an area often neglected by specialists in applied ecology and wildlife management - and on their social and political contexts. Case studies of specific conflicts are drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe and America, and feature an assortment of wild animals, including chimpanzees, elephants, wild pigs, foxes, bears, wolves, pigeons and ducks. These anthropologists challenge the narrow utilitarian view of wildlife pestilence by revealing the cultural character of many of our 'natural enemies'. Their reports from the 'front-line' expose one fact - human conflict with wildlife is often an expression of conflict between people.
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The market process

essays in contemporary Austrian economics

Author: Peter J. Boettke

Publisher: Edward Elgar Pub

ISBN: N.A

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 304

View: 1252

The scholarly publication [the journal] Market Process played the central role in the transformation of the market process school from a hesitant subset of traditional Austrian economics into a bold new research programme. . . . The articles included here are among the best of contributions the Austrian school has ever made, and deserve to be given a wider readership. From the foreword by Don Lavoie The Market Process presents a series of important and innovative articles written by economists of the Austrian School. Covering the gamut of economic issues, including equilibrium theory, free banking, public choice, and the problems of contemporary social reform, the book is an ideal introduction to the diversity of contemporary Austrian economics and its innovative trajectory of research in the late twentieth century. Drawing upon essays published in the journal Market Process during the 1980s, this book reflects an extended dialogue over the value and limitations of Austrian economics. It makes available to a wider audience contributions by some of the leading figures in the field. At the cutting edge of interdisciplinary research, it incorporates the latest developments in areas overlooked by neoclassical economists including process analysis, methodological subjectivism, and phenomenological hermeneutics. This book should be of interest to all those who seek an alternative to formal, neoclassical economics, as well as other researchers in the social sciences who study exchange processes. In addition, it will be of general interest to Austrian and public choice economists as well as historians of economic thought.
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