The Meaning of Human Existence

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 087140480X

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 5529

National Book Award Finalist. How did humanity originate and why does a species like ours exist on this planet? Do we have a special place, even a destiny in the universe? Where are we going, and perhaps, the most difficult question of all, "Why?" In The Meaning of Human Existence, his most philosophical work to date, Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson grapples with these and other existential questions, examining what makes human beings supremely different from all other species. Searching for meaning in what Nietzsche once called "the rainbow colors" around the outer edges of knowledge and imagination, Wilson takes his readers on a journey, in the process bridging science and philosophy to create a twenty-first-century treatise on human existence—from our earliest inception to a provocative look at what the future of mankind portends. Continuing his groundbreaking examination of our "Anthropocene Epoch," which he began with The Social Conquest of Earth, described by the New York Times as "a sweeping account of the human rise to domination of the biosphere," here Wilson posits that we, as a species, now know enough about the universe and ourselves that we can begin to approach questions about our place in the cosmos and the meaning of intelligent life in a systematic, indeed, in a testable way. Once criticized for a purely mechanistic view of human life and an overreliance on genetic predetermination, Wilson presents in The Meaning of Human Existence his most expansive and advanced theories on the sovereignty of human life, recognizing that, even though the human and the spider evolved similarly, the poet's sonnet is wholly different from the spider's web. Whether attempting to explicate "The Riddle of the Human Species," "Free Will," or "Religion"; warning of "The Collapse of Biodiversity"; or even creating a plausible "Portrait of E.T.," Wilson does indeed believe that humanity holds a special position in the known universe. The human epoch that began in biological evolution and passed into pre-, then recorded, history is now more than ever before in our hands. Yet alarmed that we are about to abandon natural selection by redesigning biology and human nature as we wish them, Wilson soberly concludes that advances in science and technology bring us our greatest moral dilemma since God stayed the hand of Abraham.
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The Meaning of Human Existence

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781631491146

Category: Health & Fitness

Page: 208

View: 5285

A 21st-century philosophical argument against mechanistic views of human life outlines expansive and advanced theories on human behavior to consider how humans are supremely different from all other species. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of On Human Nature. 75,000 first printing.
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The Meaning of Human Existence

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780871401007

Category: Science

Page: 207

View: 8665

A 21st-century philosophical argument against mechanistic views of human life outlines expansive and advanced theories on human behavior to consider how humans are supremely different from all other species. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of On Human Nature. 75,000 first printing.
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The Social Conquest of Earth

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0871403307

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 1367

New York Times Bestseller From the most celebrated heir to Darwin comes a groundbreaking book on evolution, the summa work of Edward O. Wilson's legendary career. Sparking vigorous debate in the sciences, The Social Conquest of Earth upends “the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover). Refashioning the story of human evolution, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to demonstrate that group selection, not kin selection, is the premier driving force of human evolution. In a work that James D. Watson calls “a monumental exploration of the biological origins of the human condition,” Wilson explains how our innate drive to belong to a group is both a “great blessing and a terrible curse” (Smithsonian). Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, the renowned Harvard University biologist presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere.
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Letters to a Young Scientist

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0871407000

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 6239

Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson imparts the wisdom of his storied career to the next generation. Edward O. Wilson has distilled sixty years of teaching into a book for students, young and old. Reflecting on his coming-of-age in the South as a Boy Scout and a lover of ants and butterflies, Wilson threads these twenty-one letters, each richly illustrated, with autobiographical anecdotes that illuminate his career—both his successes and his failures—and his motivations for becoming a biologist. At a time in human history when our survival is more than ever linked to our understanding of science, Wilson insists that success in the sciences does not depend on mathematical skill, but rather a passion for finding a problem and solving it. From the collapse of stars to the exploration of rain forests and the oceans’ depths, Wilson instills a love of the innate creativity of science and a respect for the human being’s modest place in the planet’s ecosystem in his readers.
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The Ants

Author: Bert Hölldobler,Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674040759

Category: Nature

Page: 732

View: 3809

Discusses the anatomy, physiology, social organization, ecology, and natural history of ants
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Existence, Meaning, Excellence

Aristotelian Reflections on the Meaning of Life

Author: Andrius Bielskis

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1315447223

Category: Social Science

Page: 132

View: 501

This book addresses the ‘perennial’ question of the meaning of life from the point of view of a novel interpretation of Aristotle’s teleology. Beginning with the premise that at the core of modernity and modern moral imagination are the entropy of meaning and the sense of meaninglessness, the author critically engages with the work of the post-war existentialists, chiefly that of Albert Camus and Martin Heidegger, to argue that their analyses are unconvincing and that the question of the meaning of being should therefore be approached using different assumptions, based on the notion of flourishing life. From this Aristotelian outlook, Existence, Meaning, Excellence employs Alasdair MacIntyre’s critique of modernity, together with his conceptions of practice and the narrative unity of life and tradition to provide a novel philosophical account of existence, meaning and excellence - an account which is used to contribute to debates (between Kantian and Nietzschean perspectives) on the nature of art and genius, with Mozart’s genius being used by way of illustration. A fascinating and powerfully argued engagement with existentialist thought that draws on the ‘virtue’ tradition to explore questions of meaning, as well as wider questions within philosophy, this book will appeal to philosophers and social theorists with interests in existentialism, moral philosophy and accounts of ‘the good’ based on the notions of human flourishing.
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A Significant Life

Human Meaning in a Silent Universe

Author: Todd May

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022623570X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 240

View: 5936

What makes for a good life, or a beautiful one, or, perhaps most important, a meaningful one? Throughout history most of us have looked to our faith, our relationships, or our deeds for the answer. But in A Significant Life, philosopher Todd May offers an exhilarating new way of thinking about these questions, one deeply attuned to life as it actually is: a work in progress, a journey—and often a narrative. Offering moving accounts of his own life and memories alongside rich engagements with philosophers from Aristotle to Heidegger, he shows us where to find the significance of our lives: in the way we live them. May starts by looking at the fundamental fact that life unfolds over time, and as it does so, it begins to develop certain qualities, certain themes. Our lives can be marked by intensity, curiosity, perseverance, or many other qualities that become guiding narrative values. These values lend meanings to our lives that are distinct from—but also interact with—the universal values we are taught to cultivate, such as goodness or happiness. Offering a fascinating examination of a broad range of figures—from music icon Jimi Hendrix to civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, from cyclist Lance Armstrong to The Portrait of a Lady’s Ralph Touchett to Claus von Stauffenberg, a German officer who tried to assassinate Hitler—May shows that narrative values offer a rich variety of criteria by which to assess a life, specific to each of us and yet widely available. They offer us a way of reading ourselves, who we are, and who we might like to be. Clearly and eloquently written, A Significant Life is a recognition and a comfort, a celebration of the deeply human narrative impulse by which we make—even if we don’t realize it—meaning for ourselves. It offers a refreshing way to think of an age-old question, of quite simply, what makes a life worth living.
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Rationalist Spirituality

An Exploration of the Meaning of Life and Existence Informed by Logic and Science

Author: Bernardo Kastrup

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing

ISBN: 1846944074

Category: Philosophy

Page: 116

View: 554

Why does the universe exist and what are you supposed to do in it? This question has been addressed by religions since time immemorial, but popular answers often fail to account for obvious aspects of reality. Indeed, if God knows everything, why do we need to learn through pain and suffering? If God is omnipotent, why are we needed to do good? If the universe is fundamentally good, why are wars, crime, and injustice all around us? In modern society, orthodox science takes the rational high-ground and tackles these contradictions by denying the very need for, and the existence of, meaning. Indeed, many of us implicitly accept the notion that rationality somehow contradicts spirituality. That is a modern human tragedy, not only for its insidiousness, but for the fact that it is simply not true. In this book, the author constructs a coherent and logical argument for the meaning of existence, informed by science itself. A framework is laid out wherein all aspects of human existence have a logical, coh
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The Origins of Creativity

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: Liveright Publishing

ISBN: 1631493191

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 495

An eloquent exploration of creativity, The Origins of Creativity grapples with the question of how this uniquely human expression—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout the history of our species. In this profound and lyrical book, one of our most celebrated biologists offers a sweeping examination of the relationship between the humanities and the sciences: what they offer to each other, how they can be united, and where they still fall short. Both endeavours, Edward O. Wilson reveals, have their roots in human creativity—the defining trait of our species. Reflecting on the deepest origins of language, storytelling, and art, Wilson demonstrates how creativity began not ten thousand years ago, as we have long assumed, but over one hundred thousand years ago in the Paleolithic age. Chronicling this evolution of creativity from primate ancestors to humans, The Origins of Creativity shows how the humanities, spurred on by the invention of language, have played a largely unexamined role in defining our species. And in doing so, Wilson explores what we can learn about human nature from a surprising range of creative endeavors—the instinct to create gardens, the use of metaphors and irony in speech, and the power of music and song. Our achievements in science and the humanities, Wilson notes, make us uniquely advanced as a species, but also give us the potential to be supremely dangerous, most worryingly in our abuse of the planet. The humanities in particular suffer from a kind of anthropomorphism, encumbered by a belief that we are the only species among millions that seem to matter, yet Wilson optimistically reveals how researchers will have to address this parlous situation by pushing further into the realm of science, especially fields such as evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and anthropology. With eloquence and humanity, Wilson calls for a transformational "Third Enlightenment," in which the blending of these endeavors will give us a deeper understanding of the human condition and our crucial relationship with the natural world.
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Meaning and Authenticity

Bernard Lonergan and Charles Taylor on the Drama of Authentic Human Existence

Author: Brian J. Braman

Publisher: University of Toronto Press

ISBN: 0802098029

Category: Philosophy

Page: 138

View: 9691

Presents a dialogue between Bernard Lonergan and Charles Taylor, thinkers who placed a high value on the search for human authenticity, both of whom maintain that there is a normative conception of authentic human life that overcomes moral relativism, narcissism, privatism, and the collapse of the public self.
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Insecurity of Freedom

Author: Abraham Joshua Heschel

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 0374506086

Category: Philosophy

Page: 324

View: 9715

The Insecurity of Freedom is a collection of essays on Human Existence by one of the foremost Jewish thinkers of our time, Abraham Joshua Heschel.
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Symbol & Archetype

A Study of the Meaning of Existence

Author: Martin Lings

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781887752794

Category: Religion

Page: 158

View: 3048

Every religious tradition or metaphysical worldview involves a system of powerful symbols, most of which bear common meanings across cultures, continents, and time. This volume, complete with a 9th century Quranic manuscript, explores the significance of the most recurrent symbols and archetypes in human history and elaborates a compelling theory for why symbolism plays such an essential role in human life. The work explores certain basic aspects of symbolism in relation to the Divinity, the hierarchy of the universe, the function of human faculties and qualities, the human condition, natural objects, works of art, and the final end?all with reference to the great living religions of the world, and in particular to Christianity and Islam.
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On Human Nature

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674076559

Category: Science

Page: 284

View: 495

In his new preface E. O. Wilson reflects on how he came to write this book: how The Insect Societies led him to write Sociobiology, and how the political and religious uproar that engulfed that book persuaded him to write another book that would better explain the relevance of biology to the understanding of human behavior.
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Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 1631490834

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 5791

Half-Earth proposes an achievable plan to save our imperiled biosphere: devote half the surface of the Earth to nature. In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature. If we are to undertake such an ambitious endeavor, we first must understand just what the biosphere is, why it's essential to our survival, and the manifold threats now facing it. In doing so, Wilson describes how our species, in only a mere blink of geological time, became the architects and rulers of this epoch and outlines the consequences of this that will affect all of life, both ours and the natural world, far into the future. Half-Earth provides an enormously moving and naturalistic portrait of just what is being lost when we clip "twigs and eventually whole braches of life's family tree." In elegiac prose, Wilson documents the many ongoing extinctions that are imminent, paying tribute to creatures great and small, not the least of them the two Sumatran rhinos whom he encounters in captivity. Uniquely, Half-Earth considers not only the large animals and star species of plants but also the millions of invertebrate animals and microorganisms that, despite being overlooked, form the foundations of Earth's ecosystems. In stinging language, he avers that the biosphere does not belong to us and addresses many fallacious notions such as the idea that ongoing extinctions can be balanced out by the introduction of alien species into new ecosystems or that extinct species might be brought back through cloning. This includes a critique of the "anthropocenists," a fashionable collection of revisionist environmentalists who believe that the human species alone can be saved through engineering and technology. Despite the Earth's parlous condition, Wilson is no doomsayer, resigned to fatalism. Defying prevailing conventional wisdom, he suggests that we still have time to put aside half the Earth and identifies actual spots where Earth's biodiversity can still be reclaimed. Suffused with a profound Darwinian understanding of our planet's fragility, Half-Earth reverberates with an urgency like few other books, but it offers an attainable goal that we can strive for on behalf of all life.
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The Experience of Meaning in Life

Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies

Author: Joshua A. Hicks,Clay Routledge

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9400765274

Category: Psychology

Page: 417

View: 936

This book offers an in-depth exploration of the burgeoning field of meaning in life in the psychological sciences, covering conceptual and methodological issues, core psychological mechanisms, environmental, cognitive and personality variables and more.
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Man's Search for Meaning

Author: Viktor E. Frankl

Publisher: Beacon Press

ISBN: 0807014281

Category: Psychology

Page: 168

View: 2029

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.
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Being Alive and Having to Die

The Spiritual Odyssey of Forrest Church

Author: Dan Cryer

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1429989351

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 368

View: 2206

One of the year's Top Ten Books on Religion and Spirituality (Booklist), Being Alive and Having to Die is the story of the remarkable public and private journey of Reverend Forrest Church, the scholar, activist, and preacher whose death became a way to celebrate life. Through his pulpit at the prestigious Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York, Reverend Forrest Church became a champion of liberal religion and a leading opponent of the religious right. An inspired preacher, a thoughtful theologian and an eloquent public intellectual, Church built a congregation committed to social service for people in need, while writing twenty five books, hosting a cable television program, and being featured in People, Esquire, New York Magazine, and on numerous national television and radio appearances. Being Alive and Having to Die works on two levels, as an examination of liberal religion during the past 30 years of conservative ascendancy, and as a fascinating personal story. Church grew up the son of Senator Frank Church of Idaho, famous for combating the Vietnam War in the 1960s and the CIA in the 1970s. Like many sons of powerful fathers, he rebelled and took a different path in life, which led him to his own prominence. Then, in 1991, at the height of his fame, he fell in love with a married parishioner and nearly lost his pulpit. Eventually, he regained his stature, overcame a long-secret alcoholism, wrote his best books–and found himself diagnosed with terminal cancer. His three year public journey toward death brought into focus the preciousness of life, not only for himself, but for his ministry. Based on extraordinary access to Church and over 200 interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, Dan Cryer bears witness to a full, fascinating, at time controversial life. Being Alive and Having to Die is an honest look at an imperfect man and his lasting influence on modern faith.
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To Be a Machine

Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death

Author: Mark O'Connell

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 110191159X

Category: Computers

Page: 256

View: 3855

"A globe-spanning investigation into the Transhumanist movement, considering the tech billionaires, scientific luminaries, and DIY body-hackers attempting to prolong, improve, and ultimately transcend the limits of human life"--
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The Human Condition, Human Nature and Humanity

The Common Traits of Human Existence

Author: T. M. Jefferson

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN: 9781533544575

Category:

Page: 452

View: 8769

The human condition is defined as "the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality." This is a very broad topic which has been and continues to be pondered and analyzed from many perspectives, including those of religion, philosophy, history, art, literature, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and biology.As a literary term, "the human condition" is typically used in the context of ambiguous subjects such as the meaning of life or moral concerns.Each major religion has definitive beliefs regarding the human condition. For example, Buddhism teaches that life is a perpetual cycle of suffering, death, and rebirth from which humans can be liberated via the Noble Eightfold Path. In contrast, Christianity teaches that humans are born in a sinful condition and are doomed in the afterlife unless they receive salvation through Jesus Christ.Philosophers have provided many perspectives. An influential ancient view was that of the Republic in which Plato explored the question "what is justice?" and postulated that it is not primarily a matter among individuals but of society as a whole, prompting him to devise a utopia. Two thousand years later Ren� Descartes declared "I think, therefore I am" because he believed the human mind, particularly its faculty of reason, to be the primary determiner of truth; for this he is often credited as the father of modern philosophy. One such modern school, existentialism, attempts to reconcile an individual's sense of disorientation and confusion in a universe believed to be absurd.Many works of literature provide perspective on the human condition. One famous example is Shakespeare's monologue "All the world's a stage" that pensively summarizes seven phases of human life.Psychology has many theories, such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the notion of identity crisis. It also has various methods, e.g. the logotherapy developed by Holocaustsurvivor Viktor Frankl to discover and affirm human meaning. Another method, cognitive behavioral therapy, has become a widespread treatment for clinical depression. Ever since 1859, when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, the biological theory of evolution has been significant. The theory posits that the human species is related to all others, living and extinct, and that natural selection is the primary survival factor. This has provided a basis for new beliefs, e.g. social Darwinism, and for newtechnology, e.g. antibiotics. Humanity is a virtue associated with basic ethics of altruism derived from the human condition.Humanity differs from mere justice in that there is a level of altruism towards individuals included in humanity more so than the fairness found in justice. That is, humanity, and the acts of love, altruism, and social intelligence are typically person to person strengths while fairness is generally expanded to all. Peterson & Seligman in Character Strengths and Virtues: place humanity as one of six virtues that are consistent across all cultures. The concept goes back to the development of "humane" or "humanist" philosophy during the Renaissance and the concept of humanitarianism in the early modern period, resulting in modern notions such as "human rights".The purpose of this series of books is to illuminate the necessity to emphasize our common humanity and eliminate the battles and divisiveness that exist in the ongoing religious struggles.This book is designed to be an overview of the topic and provide you with the structured knowledge to familiarize yourself with the topic at the most affordable price possible.The accuracy and knowledge is of an international viewpoint as the edited articles represent the inputs of many knowledgeable individuals and some of the most currently available general knowledge on the topic based on the date of publication.
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