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As is well‐known, the mechanistic ontology associated with the work of Descartes and Newton also challenged the irreducibility of final causes. This challenge undercut objective justifications of goodness and beauty. As one result, aesthetics has since been viewed largely or wholly as a subjective matter. In this article, however, I argue that the anti‐teleological turn has now been undermined because of new discoveries in sciences. I argue therefore that the claim can no longer be made that science compels us to reject classical and objective accounts of goodness and beauty in aesthetics. Such developments are important to a wide range of fields, including aesthetics and metaphysics, as well as science and religion.

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This chapter will present and refute the most frequently claimed empirical and philosophical objections that impede giving the survival hypothesis a fair trial: (1) neuroscience “proves” that the brain generates mind; (2) Principle of Parsimony—we should explain mind solely on a material basis; (3) there is no mechanism for how the mind would influence the brain; (4) science has proved physicalism and survival implies supernaturalism; and (5) survival implies Cartesian dualism that is rejected by learned people. These objections are usually based on misguided metaphysical and philosophical assumptions and often related to previous ideological commitment to physicalism. There is no sound argument or empirical evidence to force us to an a priori rejection of survival as an explanatory hypothesis for the anomalous and spiritual experiences we discuss at this book. In light of that, survival hypothesis should be taken in consideration by a rigorous but open-minded and fair examination. Rejecting to consider this possibility would be dogmatic and, thus, anti-scientific.KeywordsSurvival after deathLife after deathPrejudiceDogmatismSkepticismSurvivalNeuroscienceOccam’s razorMechanismPhysicalismDualismSuperstition
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We describe the ubiquity of teleological language and thinking throughout biology, as a context for understanding how students think about evolution, as well. Examples can be found in molecular biology, physiology, ecology, and taxonomy, at least. Recent research documents a deep human psychological tendency to attribute purpose or intent (and thus normative meaning) to natural phenomena. We present a possible evolutionary explanation. Still, these cognitive habits help foster scientific errors of projecting human norms onto natural phenomena (what we have elsewhere termed the naturalizing error). Subsequent appeals to “nature” are used (inappropriately) to justify cultural ideologies. Accordingly, we advocate explicit learning about teleological dispositions and their cultural consequences as an essential countermeasure.
This book is a critical survey of and guidebook to the literature on biological functions. It ties in with current debates and developments, and at the same time, it looks back on the state of discourse in naturalized teleology prior to the 1970s. It also presents three significant new proposals. First, it describes the generalized selected effects theory, which is one version of the selected effects theory, maintaining that the function of a trait consists in the activity that led to its differential persistence or reproduction in a population, and not merely its differential reproduction. Secondly, it advances “within-discipline pluralism” (as opposed to between-discipline pluralism) a new form of function pluralism, which emphasizes the coexistence of function concepts within diverse biological sub-disciplines. Lastly, it provides a critical assessment of recent alternatives to the selected effects theory of function, namely, the weak etiological theory and the systems-theoretic theory. The book argues that, to the extent that functions purport to offer causal explanations for the existence of a trait, there are no viable alternatives to the selected effects view. The debate about biological functions is still as relevant and important to biology and philosophy as it ever was. Recent controversies surrounding the ENCODE Project Consortium in genetics, the nature of psychiatric classification, and the value of ecological restoration, all point to the continuing relevance to biology of philosophical discussion about the nature of functions. In philosophy, ongoing debates about the nature of biological information, intentionality, health and disease, mechanism, and even biological trait classification, are closely related to debates about biological functions.
Human Evolution Through Humboldtian Eyes: From the beginning of his theorising about species, Darwin had human beings in view. In the initial pages of his first transmutation notebook (Notebook B), he observed that 'even mind & instinct become influenced' as the result of adaptation to new circumstances. Considering matters as a Lyellian geologist, he supposed that such adaptations would require many generations of young, pliable minds being exposed to a changing environment. After all, Captain FitzRoy had attempted to 'civilise' the Fuegian Jemmy Button by bringing him to London and instructing him in the Christian religion; but back in South America, Button reverted to his old habits, demonstrating, in Darwin's words, that the 'child of savage not civilized man' - transmutation of mind was not the work of a day. Darwin had nonetheless quickly become convinced that over long periods of time human mind, morals and emotions had progressively developed out of animal origins. As he bluntly expressed it in his first transmutation notebook: 'If all men were dead, monkeys make men. - Men make angels.' Presumably the transmutation of human beings into those higher creatures remained far in the future. From July 1837, when he jotted these remarks in the first few pages of his Notebook B, to the early 1870s, with the publication of his Descent of Man and Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Darwin gradually worked out theories of the evolution of human mentality that, in the main, we still accept. In the case of moral behaviour, he produced a theory of its evolution that stands as a most plausible empirical account, and displays the range and subtlety of his thought. These theories merit close examination in their own right.
The physico-chemical processes occurring inside cells are under the computational control of genetic (DNA) and epigenetic (internal structural) programming. The origin and evolution of genetic information (nucleic acid sequences) is reasonably well understood, but scant attention has been paid to the origin and evolution of the molecular biological interpreters that give phenotypic meaning to the sequence information that is quite faithfully replicated during cellular reproduction. The near universality and age of the mapping from nucleotide triplets to amino acids embedded in the functionality of the protein synthetic machinery speaks to the early development of a system of coding which is still extant in every living organism. We take the origin of genetic coding as a paradigm of the emergence of computation in natural systems, focusing on the requirement that the molecular components of an interpreter be synthesized autocatalytically. Within this context, it is seen that interpreters of increasing complexity are generated by series of transitions through stepped dynamic instabilities (non-equilibrium phase transitions). The early phylogeny of the amino acylt-RNA synthetase enzymes is discussed in such terms, leading to the conclusion that the observed optimality of the genetic code is a natural outcome of the processes of self-organization that produced it.
Simple mechanical systems involving feedback can easily manifest teleon-omy, but it is still widely believed that there is no place for genuine teleology in metaphysical naturalism. In this paper, I argue that chaotic systems do, in fact, provide examples of irreducible neo-Aristotelian teleology in mechanics, but only if their behavior is considered in terms of changes to extended objects in a phase space, with aspects that can be mapped to notions of form and matter.
Teleological language is frequently used in biology in order to make statements about the functions of organs, about physiological processes, and about the behavior and actions of species and individuals. Such language is characterized by the use of the words ‘function’, ‘purpose’, and ‘goal’, as well as by statements that something exists or is done ‘in order to’. Typical statements of this sort are ‘It is one of the functions of the kidneys to eliminate the end products of protein metabolism’, or ‘Birds migrate to warm climates in order to escape the low temperatures and food shortages of winter’. In spite of the long-standing misgivings of physical scientists, philosophers, and logicians, many biologists have continued to insist not only that such teleological statements are objective and free of metaphysical content, but also that they express something important which is lost when teleological language is eliminated from such statements. Recent reviews of the problem in the philosophical literature (Nagel, 1961; Beckner, 1969; Hull, 1973; to cite only a few of a large selection of such publications), concede the legitimacy of some teleological statements but still display considerable divergence of opinion as to the actual meaning of the word ‘teleological’ and the relations between teleology and causality.
This is the first quantitative treatment of elementary particle theory that is accessible to undergraduates. Using a lively, informal writing style, the author strikes a balance between quantitative rigor and intuitive understanding. The first chapter provides a detailed historical introduction to the subject. Subsequent chapters offer a consistent and modern presentation, covering the quark model, Feynman diagrams, quantum electrodynamics, and gauge theories. A clear introduction to the Feynman rules, using a simple model, helps readers learn the calculational techniques without the complications of spin. And an accessible treatment of QED shows how to evaluate tree-level diagrams. Contains an abundance of worked examples and many end-of-chapter problems.
Current teleology in Western biology, philosophy, and theology draws on resources from four main Western philosophers. (1) Plato's Timaeus shows how to interpret the universe as the handiwork of a purposive Creator who subordinates secondary, necessary, causes to primary, intelligent, causes. (2) Aristotle's Physics sets forth purpose as implicit in the nature of things. Purposes of different sorts inhere in different types of being, and everything has a natural function. Living things grow to actualize the potentials of the goal whose principle they bear within themselves. (3) Kant's Critique of Judgment denies that purpose is anything that human beings can know, strictly speaking. Nevertheless, purpose is a concept we must use to make sense of biological systems. (4) Hegel's Philosophy of Nature articulates organic systems as dialectically including and transcending mechanical and chemical systems. Teleological themes persist, in different ways, in contemporary discussions; I consider two lines of criticism of traditional teleology—by Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould—and one line that continues traditional teleology in an updated way—by Holmes Rolston, III.
In hac quidem novissima Editione omnia diligentius recognita na titulním listu rytina - Ježíš hovoří k Tomáši Akvinskému "Bene scripsisti deme Thoma", červeno-černý tisk na titulním listu, iniciály zalomené do 8 řádků, květinové vlysy s figurálními a zoomorfními motivy, stránkové kustody, signatury, přerušované linky, ozdobné linky, versálky ve výši 2 řádků, marginálie, text převážně ve dvou sloupcích, živá záhlaví, arabská paginace v horním vnějším rohu
"All art should become science and all science art; poetry and philosophy should be made one." Friedrich Schlegel's words perfectly capture the project of the German Romantics, who believed that the aesthetic approaches of art and literature could reveal patterns and meaning in nature that couldn't be uncovered through rationalistic philosophy and science alone. In this wide-ranging work, Robert J. Richards shows how the Romantic conception of the world influenced (and was influenced by) both the lives of the people who held it and the development of nineteenth-century science. Integrating Romantic literature, science, and philosophy with an intimate knowledge of the individuals involved—from Goethe and the brothers Schlegel to Humboldt and Friedrich and Caroline Schelling—Richards demonstrates how their tempestuous lives shaped their ideas as profoundly as their intellectual and cultural heritage. He focuses especially on how Romantic concepts of the self, as well as aesthetic and moral considerations—all tempered by personal relationships—altered scientific representations of nature. Although historians have long considered Romanticism at best a minor tributary to scientific thought, Richards moves it to the center of the main currents of nineteenth-century biology, culminating in the conception of nature that underlies Darwin's evolutionary theory. Uniting the personal and poetic aspects of philosophy and science in a way that the German Romantics themselves would have honored, The Romantic Conception of Life alters how we look at Romanticism and nineteenth-century biology.
A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology
  • Stefan Artmann
The Abolition of Man
  • C. S. Lewis
Methodological and Historical Essays in the Natural and Social Sciences
  • Ernst Mayr
Persons: The Difference between ‘Someone’ and ‘Something’
  • Robert Spaemann
Eutyphro; Apology; Crito; Phaedo; Phaedrus
  • Plato
Cratylus; Parmenides; Greater Hippias; Lesser Hippias
  • Plato
The True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture
  • Augustus W. N. Pugin
The Aesthetic of Understanding
  • Scruton, Roger
Schriften zur Naturwissenschaft
  • Johann W. Goethe