Civilisation

Samhälle, vetenskap, kultur

Per Kraulis

Kulturella konstruktioner är våra och ändå oberoende Inlägg 2022-09-21

Frågan har satt myror i huvudet på filosofer sedan Platons tid: Är matematiken ett människans påhitt, eller är det något som finns inbyggt i universum? Är det något vi uppfinner, eller upptäcker? I en artikel i New York Times av Alec Wilkinson 2022-09-18 diskuteras den frågan, vilket uppmärksammades av Jerry Coyne i blogginlägget Did we discover math or invent it?. Tyvärr har jag ingen prenumeration på NYT, så jag kan inte kommentera hela artikeln, men Coyne återger ett tankeväckade citat från den, vars mest intressanta del lyder:

Gaus, Gerald F: The Tyranny of the Ideal: Justice in a Diverse Society Review 2022-09-13

This is not an easily read book. It assumes quite some previous knowledge about political philosophy on the part of the reader, and it occasionally formalizes its arguments that perhaps makes them more strict, but also harder to follow.

Buchanan, Allen: The Evolution of Moral Progress: A Biocultural Theory Review 2022-08-16

A well-written and well-argued account of a theory of moral progress. The writing is lucid, albeit a little too often rehashing the same points several times.

Hare, Brian: Survival Of The Friendliest Review 2022-07-11

A very nice read, describing the author's work on the psychology of humans, dogs, chimpanzees and bonobos as a window into the history of human evolution. The main theme is that humans self-domesticated to become the cooperative, social and cultural species that we are today. But even if we are much more friendly towards strangers than most other species, we have a strong tendency to classify people in "us" and "them", and this underlies a lot of the problems in human society.

Heyes, Cecilia: Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking Review 2022-07-03

Many features of Homo sapiens have been considered as special of significant as the source of what makes humans different from animals. Often, the features that are typically discussed, e.g. sociality, language, mind-reading, and so on, are just assumed to be part of the genetic endowment of Homo sapiens. Cecilia Heyes argues that culture is much more important in the formation, maintenance and transfer of these features that typically assumed.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: The Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Two "Discourses" and the "Social Contract" Review 2022-06-09

Yes, it is a classic. But dare I say it? It isn't very good. In fact, it is rather bad. Rousseau is overrated. His idea about the development of society out of a bunch of asocial individuals (not "noble savages") has been thoroughly debunked by evolutionary history. Its use as a hypothetical basis for political theory through the vague notion of the "general will" has generated more confusion than clarity. And the latter parts of the Social Contract, with their climate-based notions of governance, and other weird comments, are just bizarre. No, I do not approve.

Popper, Karl: World of Propensities Review 2022-05-19

A little gem of a book in the form of two essays from the last few years of Karl Popper's life.

Sterelny, Kim: Pleistocene Social Contract: Culture and Cooperation in Human Evolution Review 2022-02-14

A short, well-argued book about the prerequisites and possible scenarios for the evolution of Homo sapiens, with a focus on special collaborative and cultural capabilities of said species. As part of laying out his own arguments and hypotheses, Sterelny nicely reviews the currently known facts about the evolution of hominims since 7 million years ago, and comments on uncertainties and controversies.

Hadley-Kamptz, Isobel: Frihet & fruktan: tankar om liberalism Recension 2022-02-06

En kort, lättläst bok med essäer om olika teman som på ett eller annat sätt har med liberalism att göra. Till de positiva sidorna hör en rättframhet i texten, och att resonemangen drar in relevanta referenser till andra tänkare i lagom dos.

Newson, Lesley: A Story of Us: A New Look at Human Evolution Review 2022-01-30

Weaving together many strands of knowledge from current science, this books attempts to describe the main evolutionary steps from the most recent common ancestor of chimpanzees and us (Homo sapiens). The authors describe the evidence and the controversies that surround some of the explanatory theories. To illustrate the main stages in the process that eventually brought forth modern humans, the authors also include short fictional stories of events in the lives of some of our ancestors.

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