Darwin’s Bridge: Uniting the Humanities and Sciences by Joseph Carroll

By Joseph Carroll

In its sleek utilization, the time period "consilience" was once first tested via Edward O. Wilson in his 1998 ebook, Consilience: The harmony of Knowledge. Wilson's unique thesis contained components: that nature kinds a unitary order of causal forces, hierarchically equipped, and that clinical wisdom, since it delineates nature, additionally kinds a unitary order, promising consensus between diversified fields.

Bringing jointly state of the art scientists and students throughout this diversity, Darwin's Bridge gives knowledgeable account of consilience and makes it attainable to determine how some distance we now have come towards unifying wisdom concerning the human species, what significant concerns are nonetheless in competition, and which parts of study are inclined to produce additional development. Readers might be overjoyed as they, besides the work's contributing authors, discover the deeper that means of consilience and examine the concord of human evolution, human nature, social dynamics, artwork, and narrative.

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Extra resources for Darwin’s Bridge: Uniting the Humanities and Sciences

Sample text

Almost all groups compete with those of similar kind in some manner or the other. We tend to think of our own as superior, and we find our identity within them. The existence of competition and conflict, the latter often violent, has been a hallmark of societies as far back as archeological evidence is able to offer. These and other traits we call human nature are so deeply resident in our emotions and habits of thought as to seem just part of some greater nature, like the air we all breathe, and the molecular machinery that drives all of life.

Several of the essays in this volume discuss active controversies within their own fields. Wilson explains the conflict over group selection. Boehm surveys the various hypotheses that have been proposed to explain altruism and makes a case for a comprehensive theory that incorporates and revises existing hypotheses. Harpending and Harris propose serious qualifications for the common assumption that hunter-​gatherers can be taken as proxies for ancestral humans. All these issues are important, but they are all also points of dispute within a broad consensus about the evolved and adapted character of the human mind.

Boehm includes “group selection” in a list of the main theories that have been proposed to account for “altruistic” behavior in humans, but Boehm identifies a form of “social selection” that is distinct from “group selection” and interactive with it. Presenting evidence from modern hunter-​gatherer populations, Boehm argues that specifically human forms Introduction • xxxiii of cooperative behavior depend crucially on suppressing dominance behavior in individuals. Social pressure constraining individuals to suppress dominance behavior selects for the ability to internalize group norms, an ability that leads, ultimately, in modern humans to a specifically human form of social imagination: ideology.

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