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Divide and conquer: The authority of nature and why we disagree about human nature

In Elizabeth Hannon & Tim Lewens (eds.), Why We Disagree About Human Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 186-206 (2018)

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  1. Human Nature: The Very Idea.Tim Lewens - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):459-474.
    Abstract The only biologically respectable notion of human nature is an extremely permissive one that names the reliable dispositions of the human species as a whole. This conception offers no ethical guidance in debates over enhancement, and indeed it has the result that alterations to human nature have been commonplace in the history of our species. Aristotelian conceptions of species natures, which are currently fashionable in meta-ethics and applied ethics, have no basis in biological fact. Moreover, because our folk psychology (...)
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  • Being, humanity, and understanding: studies in ancient and modern societies.Geoffrey Ernest Richard Lloyd - 2012 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Humanity between gods and beasts? -- Error -- Ancient understandings reassessed and the consequences for ontologies -- Language and audiences -- Philosophical implications.
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  • Life and action: elementary structures of practice and practical thought.Michael Thompson - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
    Part I: The representation of life -- Can life be given a real definition? -- The representation of the living individual -- The representation of the life-form itself -- Part II: Naive action theory -- Types of practical explanation -- Naive explanation of action -- Action and time -- Part III: Practical generality -- Two tendencies in practical philosophy -- Practices and dispositions as sources of the goodness of individual actions -- Practice and disposition as sources of individual action.
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  • The right to ignore: An epistemic defense of the nature/culture divide.Maria Kronfeldner - 2017 - In Joyce Richard (ed.), Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 210-224.
    This paper addresses whether the often-bemoaned loss of unity of knowledge about humans, which results from the disciplinary fragmentation of science, is something to be overcome. The fragmentation of being human rests on a couple of distinctions, such as the nature-culture divide. Since antiquity the distinction between nature (roughly, what we inherit biologically) and culture (roughly, what is acquired by social interaction) has been a commonplace in science and society. Recently, the nature/culture divide has come under attack in various ways, (...)
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  • Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of morals.David Hume (ed.) - 1777 - Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
    A scholarly edition of a work by David Hume. The edition presents an authoritative text, together with an introduction, commentary notes, and scholarly apparatus.
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  • The idea of nature.Robin George Collingwood - 1945 - Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
    2014 Reprint of 1945 Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. The first part deals with Greek cosmology and is the longest, the most elaborate and, on the whole, the liveliest part of a book which never deviates into dullness. The dominant thought in Greek cosmology, Collingwood holds, was the microcosm-macrocosm analogy, nature being the substance of something ensouled where "soul" meant the self-moving. Part II is "The Renaissance View of Nature ." Collingwood describes (...)
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  • A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1969 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
    One of Hume's most well-known works and a masterpiece of philosophy, A Treatise of Human Nature is indubitably worth taking the time to read.
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  • Human nature and cognitive–developmental niche construction.Karola Stotz - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):483-501.
    Recent theories in cognitive science have begun to focus on the active role of organisms in shaping their own environment, and the role of these environmental resources for cognition. Approaches such as situated, embedded, ecological, distributed and particularly extended cognition look beyond ‘what is inside your head’ to the old Gibsonian question of ‘what your head is inside of’ and with which it forms a wider whole—its internal and external cognitive niche. Since these views have been treated as a radical (...)
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  • Science and Human Nature.Richard Samuels - 2012 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 70:1-28.
    There is a puzzling tension in contemporary scientific attitudes towards human nature. On the one hand, evolutionary biologists correctly maintain that the traditional essentialist conception of human nature is untenable; and moreover that this is obviously so in the light of quite general and exceedingly well-known evolutionary considerations. On the other hand, talk of human nature abounds in certain regions of the sciences, especially in linguistics, psychology and cognitive science. In this paper I articulate a conception of human nature that (...)
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  • Human Nature in a Post-essentialist World.Grant Ramsey - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):983-993.
    In this essay I examine a well-known articulation of human nature skepticism, a paper by Hull. I then review a recent reply to Hull by Machery, which argues for an account of human nature that he claims is both useful and scientifically robust. I challenge Machery’s account and introduce an alternative account—the “life-history trait cluster” conception of human nature—that I hold is scientifically sound and makes sense of our intuitions about—and desiderata for—human nature.
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  • Review of David Fate Norton (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Hume. [REVIEW]Elizabeth S. Radcliffe - 1995 - Philosophical Review 104 (2):275-77.
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  • Reconceptualizing Human Nature: Response to Lewens. [REVIEW]Edouard Machery - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):475-478.
    There is a growing consensus that the traditional notion of human nature has failed and that human nature needs to be reconceptualized in light of our current scientific knowledge, including the knowledge gained in genetics and evolutionary biology. In “A Plea for Human Nature,” I highlighted this need, and I engaged in this reconceptualization effort, proposing a new notion of human nature, “the nomological notion of human nature” [Machery (Philosophical Psychology 21:321–330, 2008)]; for some more recent work, see Griffiths (Arts: (...)
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  • A plea for human nature.Edouard Machery - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):321 – 329.
    Philosophers of biology, such as David Hull and Michael Ghiselin, have argued that the notion of human nature is incompatible with modern evolutionary biology and they have recommended rejecting this notion. In this article, I rebut this argument: I show that an important notion of human nature is compatible with modern evolutionary biology.
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  • Forging heredity: From metaphor to cause, a reification story.Carlos López-Beltrán - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (2):211-235.
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  • Recent work on human nature: Beyond traditional essences.Maria Kronfeldner, Neil Roughley & Georg Toepfer - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (9):642-652.
    Recent philosophical work on the concept of human nature disagrees on how to respond to the Darwinian challenge, according to which biological species do not have traditional essences. Three broad kinds of reactions can be distinguished: conservative intrinsic essentialism, which defends essences in the traditional sense, eliminativism, which suggests dropping the concept of human nature altogether, and constructive approaches, which argue that revisions can generate sensible concepts of human nature beyond traditional essences. The different constructive approaches pick out one or (...)
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  • “If there is nothing beyond the organic...”: Heredity and Culture at the Boundaries of Anthropology in the Work of Alfred L. Kroeber. [REVIEW]Maria E. Kronfeldner - 2009 - NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 17 (2):107-133.
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  • “If there is nothing beyond the organic...”: Heredity and Culture at the Boundaries of Anthropology in the Work of Alfred L. Kroeber.Maria E. Kronfeldner - 2009 - NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin 17 (2):107-133.
    Continuing Franz Boas' work to establish anthropology as an academic discipline in the US at the turn of the twentieth century, Alfred L. Kroeber re-defined culture as a phenomenon sui generis. To achieve this he asked geneticists to enter into a coalition against hereditarian thoughts prevalent at that time in the US. The goal was to create space for anthropology as a separate discipline within academia, distinct from other disciplines. To this end he crossed the boundary separating anthropology from biology (...)
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  • A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
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  • Our Plastic Nature.Paul E. Griffiths - 2011 - In Snait Gissis & Eva Jablonka (eds.), Transformations of Lamarckism: From Subtle Fluids to Molecular Biology. MIT Press. pp. 319--330.
    This chapter analyzes the notion of human nature and the concept of inner nature from the perspective of developmental systems theory. It explores the folkbiology of human nature and looks at three features associated with traits that are expressions of the inner nature that organisms inherit from their parents: fixity, typicality, teleology.
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  • IX.—Essentially Contested Concepts.W. B. Gallie - 1956 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 56 (1):167-198.
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  • W. B. Gallie’s “Essentially Contested Concepts”.W. B. Gallie - 1994 - Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 14 (1):2-2.
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  • Natural goodness.Philippa Foot - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Philippa Foot has for many years been one of the most distinctive and influential thinkers in moral philosophy. Long dissatisfied with the moral theories of her contemporaries, she has gradually evolved a theory of her own that is radically opposed not only to emotivism and prescriptivism but also to the whole subjectivist, anti-naturalist movement deriving from David Hume. Dissatisfied with both Kantian and utilitarian ethics, she claims to have isolated a special form of evaluation that predicates goodness and defect only (...)
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  • Natural Goodness.Philippa Foot & Peter Geach - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (209):621-631.
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  • Natures and norms.Louise M. Antony - 2000 - Ethics 111 (1):8-36.
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  • What Did the Romans Know?: An Inquiry Into Science and Worldmaking.Daryn Lehoux - 2014 - University of Chicago Press.
    What did the Romans know about their world? Quite a lot, as Daryn Lehoux makes clear in this fascinating and much-needed contribution to the history and philosophy of ancient science. Lehoux contends that even though many of the Romans’ views about the natural world have no place in modern science—the umbrella-footed monsters and dog-headed people that roamed the earth and the stars that foretold human destinies—their claims turn out not to be so radically different from our own. Lehoux draws upon (...)
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  • Analogical Investigations: Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Human Reasoning.G. E. R. Lloyd - 2015 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Western philosophy and science are responsible for constructing some powerful tools of investigation, aiming at discovering the truth, delivering robust explanations, verifying conjectures, showing that inferences are sound and demonstrating results conclusively. By contrast reasoning that depends on analogies has often been viewed with suspicion. Professor Lloyd first explores the origins of those Western ideals, criticises some of their excesses and redresses the balance in favour of looser, admittedly non-demonstrative analogical reasoning. For this he takes examples both from ancient Greek (...)
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  • Cultural Evolution: Conceptual Challenges.Tim Lewens - 2015 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
    Tim Lewens aims to understand what it means to take an evolutionary approach to cultural change, and why it is that these approaches are sometimes treated with suspicion. While making a case for the value of evolutionary thinking for students of culture, he shows why the concerns of sceptics should not dismissed as mere prejudice, confusion, or ignorance. Indeed, confusions about what evolutionary approaches entail are propagated by their proponents, as well as by their detractors. By taking seriously the problems (...)
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  • Being, Humanity, and Understanding: Studies in Ancient and Modern Societies.G. E. R. Lloyd - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
    G. E. R. Lloyd explores the amazing diversity of views that humans have held on being, humanity, and understanding. In a cross-cultural study that ranges from ancient to modern times, he asks how far we are bound by the conceptual systems to which we belong, and explores topics such as ontology, morality, philosophy of language, and communication.
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  • In the Grip of Disease: Studies in the Greek Imagination.G. E. R. Lloyd - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    This original and lively book uses texts from ancient medicine, epic, lyric, tragedy, historiography, philosophy, and religion to explore the influence of Greek ideas on health and disease on Greek thought. Fundamental issues are deeply implicated: causation and responsibility, purification and pollution, the mind-body relationship and gender differences, authority and the expert, reality and appearances, good government, and good and evil themselves.
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  • In the Grip of Disease: Studies in the Greek Imagination.G. E. R. Lloyd - 2003 - Oxford University Press UK.
    This original and lively book explores Greek ideas about health and disease and their influence on Greek thought. Fundamental issues such as causation and responsibility, purification and pollution, mind-body relations and gender differences, authority and the expert and who can challenge them, reality and appearances, good government, happiness, and good and evil themselves are deeply implicated. Using the evidence not just from Greek medical theory and practice but also from epic, lyric, tragedy, historiography, philosophy, and religion, G. E. R. Lloyd (...)
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  • The Norton History of the Human Sciences.Roger Smith - 1997 - W. W. Norton & Company.
    A comprehensive history of the human sciences -- psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science -- from their precursors in early human culture to the present.This erudite yet accessible volume in Norton's highly praised History of Science series tracks the long and circuitous path by which human beings came to see themselves and their societies as scientific subjects like any other. Beginning with the Renaissance's rediscovery of Greek psychology, political philosophy, and ethics, Roger Smith recounts how the human sciences gradually (...)
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  • The Cambridge Companion to Hume.David Fate Norton (ed.) - 1993 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    David Hume is, arguably, the most important philosopher ever to have written in English. Although best known for his contributions to epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion, Hume also made substantial and influential contributions to psychology and the philosophy of mind, ethics, the philosophy of science, political and economic theory, political and social history, and, to a lesser extent, aesthetic and literary theory. All facets of Hume's output are discussed in this volume, the first genuinely comprehensive overview of his (...)
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  • What Did the Romans Know?: An Inquiry Into Science and Worldmaking.Daryn Lehoux - 2012 - University of Chicago Press.
    Lehoux contends that even though many of the Romans' views about the natural world have no place in modern science--the umbrella-footed monsters and dog-headed people that roamed the earth and the stars that foretold human destinies--their ...
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  • In the Grip of Disease: Studies in the Greek Imagination.Geoffrey Ernest Richard Lloyd - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    This original and lively book uses texts from ancient medicine, epic, lyric, tragedy, historiography, philosophy, and religion to explore the influence of Greek ideas on health and disease on Greek thought. Fundamental issues are deeply implicated: causation and responsibility, purification and pollution, the mind-body relationship and gender differences, authority and the expert, reality and appearances, good government, and good and evil themselves.
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  • On Human Nature.David L. Hull - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:3-13.
    If species are the things that evolve at least in large part through the action of natural selection, then both genetic and phenotypic variability are essential to biological species. If all species are variable, then Homo sapiens must be variable. Hence, it is very unlikely that the human species as a biological species can be characterized by a set of invariable traits. It might be the case that at this moment in evolutionary history, all human beings happen to possess a (...)
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  • Indexically yours: why being human is more like being here than it is like being water.David Livingstone Smith - 2013 - In Raymond Corbey Annette Lanjouw (ed.), The Politics of Species:Reshaping Our Relationships With Other Animals. Cambridge University Press. pp. 40-52.
    The paper presents a novel interpretation of the function of the word "human.".
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  • Enquiries concerning Human Understanding and concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume, L. A. Selby-Bigge & P. H. Nidditch - 1976 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 166 (2):265-266.
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  • The politics of human nature.Maria Kronfeldner - 2016 - In Tibayrenc M. & Ayala F. J. (eds.), On human nature: Evolution, diversity, psychology, ethics, politics and religion. Academic Press. pp. 625-632.
    Human nature is a concept that transgresses the boundary between science and society and between fact and value. It is as much a political concept as it is a scientific one. This chapter will cover the politics of human nature by using evidence from history, anthropology and social psychology. The aim is to show that an important political function of the vernacular concept of human nature is social demarcation (inclusion/exclusion): it is involved in regulating who is ‘us’ and who is (...)
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  • Human Nature (1740).David Hume - 2003 - In Jorge J. E. Gracia, Gregory M. Reichberg & Bernard N. Schumacher (eds.), The Classics of Western Philosophy: A Reader's Guide. Blackwell. pp. 291.
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  • Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society.Raymond Williams - 1977 - Science and Society 41 (2):221-224.
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  • The Idea of Nature.R. G. Collingwood - 1945 - Mind 54 (215):274-279.
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  • The language of human nature.Roger Smith - 1995 - In C. Fox, R. Porter & R. Wokler (eds.), Inventing Human Science. University of California Press. pp. 88--111.
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