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Arguing About Human Nature covers recent debates--arising from biology, philosophy, psychology, and physical anthropology--that together systematically examine what it means to be human. Thirty-five essays--several of them appearing here for the first time in print--were carefully selected to offer competing perspectives on 12 different topics related to human nature. The context and main threads of the debates are highlighted and explained by the editors in a short, clear introduction to each of the 12 topics. Authors include Louise Anthony, Patrick Bateson, David Buller, John Dupre, Paul Griffiths, Sally Haslanger, Richard Lewontin, Ron Mallon, and E.O. Wilson. Contributors Rachel Cooper, Nancy Holmstrom, Kim Sterelny, and Elizabeth Cashdan provide brand new chapters in these debates. Suggested Reading lists offer curious readers new resources for exploring these debates further. Arguing About Human Nature is the first volume of its kind, designed to introduce to an interdisciplinary student audience some of the most important arguments on the subject generated by scientific research and philosophical reflection.
Stephen M. Downes is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. Edouard Machery is Associate Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh.
Section 1: Human Nature and Evolution Topic 1: Evolution and human nature 1.1. Excerpts from On Human Nature E. O. Wilson 1.2. On human nature D. L. Hull 1.3. Excerpts from Adapting Minds David J. Buller 1.4. A plea for human nature Edouard Machery 1.5. What is a human universal? Human behavioral ecology and human nature Elizabeth Cashdan Topic 2: A Stone-Age Mind? 2.1. Evolutionary psychology: A primer Leda Cosmides and John Tooby 2.2. The basic components of the human mind were not solidified during the Pleistocene epoch Stephen Downes Topic 3: Innateness 3.1. Core knowledge Katherine D. Kinzler and Elizabeth S. Spelke 3.2. What is innateness? Paul E. Griffiths 3.3. Innateness in cognitive science Richard Samuels Topic 4: Genetic Determinism 4.1 Genetic influence on human psychological traits: A survey Thomas J. Bouchard 4.2. Behavioral development and Darwinian evolution Patrick Bateson 4.3. Battling the undead: How (and how not) to resist genetic determinism Philip Kitcher Section 2: Human nature and Human Diversity Topic 5: Human Universals, Individual Variation and Cultural Variation 5.1. Excerpts from Human Universals Donald Brown 5.2. The weirdest people in the world? Joe Heinrich, Steven J. Heine, and Ara Norenzayan 5.3. On the universality of human nature and the uniqueness of the individual: The role of genetics and adaptation James Tooby and Leda Cosmides 5.4. Culture and cognition Daniel M. T. Fessler and Edouard Machery 5.5. Exceprts from Not by Genes Alone Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd 5.6. The informational commonwealth Kim Sterenley Topic 6: Social Construction 6.1. The politics of menopause: The "discovery" of a deficiency disease Frances B. McCrea 6.2. The looping effects of human kinds Ian Hacking 6.3. The odd couple: The compatibility of social construction and evolutionary psychology Ronald Mallon and Stephen Stitch Topic 7: Human Genetic Diversity 7.1. The apportionment of human diversity Richard Lewontin 7.3. Human genetic diversity: Lewontin's fallacy A. W. F. Edwards 7.4. Genetic structure of human populations N. A. Rosenberg Topic 8: Races 8.1. A social constructionist analysis of race Sally A. Haslanger Individual ancestry inference and the reification of race as a biological phenomenon Dan Bolnick Topic 9: Sex 9.1. Excerpt from The Evolution of Human Sexuality Donald Symons 9.2. Excerpt from Human Nature and the Limits of Science John Dupre 9.3. Same-sex sexual behavior and evolution Nathan W. Bailey and Marlene Zuk Section 3: Human Nature and Normality Topic 10: Health 10.1. Health as a theoretical concept Christopher Boorse 10.2. Against normal functions Ron Admunson 10.3. Mental Health and Disorder R. C. Cooper Topic 11: Politics and the Concept of Human Nature 11.1. A fatal attraction to normalizing Anita Silvers 11.2. "Human nature" and its role in feminist theory L. M. Antony 11.3. Is human nature important for feminism? Nancy Holstrom Topic 12: Trans-humanism 12.1. Ageless bodies, happy souls: Biotechnology and the pursuit of Perfection Leon Kass 12.2. In defense of posthuman dignity Nick Bostrom
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