An understanding of human nature has been central to the work of some of the greatest philosophical thinkers including Plato, Descartes, Hume, Hobbes, Rousseau, Freud and Marx. Questions such as 'what is human nature?', 'is there such a thing as an exclusively human nature?', 'through what methods might we best discover more about our nature?', and 'to what extent are our actions and beliefs constrained by it?' are of central importance not only to philosophy, but to our general understanding of ourselves as part of the human species. This volume addresses such questions through the inclusion of special commissioned essays by specialists including John Cottingham, Hans-Johann Glock, P. M. S. Hacker, Wolfram Hinzen, Rosalind Hursthouse, Peter Kail, Sarah Patterson and Richard Samuels.
Constantine Sandis was educated at the University of Oxford and has taught philosophy at the University of Bath, the University of Reading, the Open University, the Florida Institute of Technology, New York University in London, Oxford Brookes University (where he is presently a Reader in Philosophy) and for the Royal Institute of Philosophy. Constantine has published papers in numerous journals and collections and is the editor of New Essays on Action Explanation (2009), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action (with Tim O'Connor, 2010), Hegel on Action (with Arto Laitinen, 2010). His monograph on The Things We Do and Why We Do Them was recently published by Palgrave Macmillan and he is currently writing a Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Action. M. J. Cain has a PhD in Philosophy from St Andrews University and has worked at Oxford Brookes University since 2002. Prior to that he held a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship at the University of Nottingham. He has published numerous articles on the philosophy of mind and language and a book entitled Fodor: Mind, Language and Philosophy (2002). He is currently completing a volume on the philosophy of cognitive science.
Notes on contributors; Preface; 1. Science and human nature Richard Samuels; 2. Essentialism, externalism, and human nature M. J. Cain; 3. Human nature and grammar Wolfram Hinzen; 4. Can evolutionary biology do without Aristotelian essentialism? Stephen J. Boulter; 5. The anthropological difference: what can philosophers do to identify the differences between human and non-human animals? Hans-Johann Glock; 6. Paul Broca and the evolutionary genetics of cerebral asymmetry Tim J. Crow; 7. The sad and sorry history of consciousness: being, among other things, a challenge to the 'consciousness-studies community' P. M. S. Hacker; 8. Human nature and Aristotelian virtue ethics Rosalind Hursthouse; 9. Doubt and human nature in Descartes's meditations Sarah Patterson; 10. The sceptical beast of the beastly sceptic: human nature in Hume P. J. E. Kail; 11. Human nature and the transcendent John Cottingham; 12. Being human: religion and superstition in a psychoanalytic philosophy of religion Beverley Clack.
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