Patricia Smith Churchland, professor emerita of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, and an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute, coined “neurophilosophy,” to refer to the application of neuroscientific concepts to traditional philosophical questions. In Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality, Churchland asks where values come from, and incorporates biological sciences with philosophy to answer the related moral questions.
In the first chapter, Churchland criticizes current conceptions of morality by asking why there are still unanswered fundamental questions in the field, including questions surrounding the nature of fairness. She believes that contemporary moral philosophy is “in peril of floating on a sea of mere, albeit confident, opinion” (p. 2) and has no relation to the current scientific findings in evolutionary biology and neuroscience. She suggests that we can answer some of the remaining moral questions by combining new findings in neuroscience, evolutionary biology, experimental psychology, and genetics within a philosophical framework. … Read the rest here.
In The Origins of Fairness, which reminds us of the title of Darwin’s seminal work, Nicolas Baumard, a research scholar in the Department of Cognitive Sciences at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, articulates a compelling and convincing thesis that morality is based on an evolved moral sense, and this innate and universal sense of morality is based on mutualistic logic, “the attempt to make the interaction mutually respectful of the interests of all” (p. 109). In other words, throughout the book Baumard argues that the moral sense, as the impartial consideration of each person’s interest, is produced by selective pressures. Read the rest of review here.
Pazhoohi, F. (2018). On the Origin of Fairness and Cooperation. Human Ethology Bulletin, 33(1), 49-52. https://doi.org/10.22330/heb/331/049-052
In For Whose Benefit?: The Biological and Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation, Patrik Lindenfors an associate professor of zoological ecology at Centre for the study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm University, poses the question of for whose benefit we cooperate with each other, and throughout the book tries to find an answer.
Pazhoohi, F. & Arantes, J. (2018). For Whose Benefit? The Biological and Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation. Evolutionary Psychological Science : https://doi.org/10.1007/s40806-018-0138-8
Nothing would be more interesting than reading a book on men aging by the author who is an expert on comparative male life histories. Richard G. Bribiescas is a Professor of Anthropology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and has conducted research in evolutionary biology and endocrinology of human, as well as comparative studies on reproduction, growth, aging, and metabolism for many years. He is well-known for his research on male aging and reproductive senescence.
In the first chapter, Bribiescas explains what this book is all about and why Darwinian evolutionary theory is needed to gain a deeper understanding of male health, illness and aging. Additionally, he explains why it is important to consider aging across species and cross- culturally. While Bribiescas briefly explains how natural selection works, defines what he means by aging and concepts such as aging, life history theory and adaptation, he also lists the contents of the book by highlighting the points that he is going to extend in the upcoming chapters.
By implanting the seed of curiosity in the reader’s mind during the first chapter, Bribiescas begins the second chapter by explaining why aging happens from a biological perspective. … Read the rest here.
Pazhoohi, F. & Arantes, J. (2017). Book Review: How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals about Male Health and Mortality Frontiers in Psychology : 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00894
Decision-making is the cognitive process of choosing a preferred option from among a set of options (Wilson and Keil 2001). Decision-making is present through every aspect of life, and making good decisions for every important occasion during lifetime is a human being’s constant endeavor (Garnham 2016). Historically, religion and philosophy have been the only domains not only acting as gateways for explaining the meaning of life (McGhee 1992) but also acting as guidelines for facilitating and directing human important decisions during lifetime.
Darwinian evolution by natural selection is regarded as another gateway capable of explaining the existence and meaning of life (Dawkins 1986). Menelaos Apostolou, Assistant Professor at the University of Nicosia, in his book, Feeling Good: An Evolutionary Perspective on Life Choices, explores human decision-making from the perspective of Darwinian evolutionary science by addressing the question of how to live a life characterized by more positive than negative feelings.
The book begins by criticizing philosophy’s inability to direct humans toward a happy life, simply because philosophy has had very little knowledge on human nature and mind. Instead, Apostolou acknowledges the work of Darwin and Wallace and the subsequent advancement in understanding human nature done by evolutionary theory. In general, in this book he argues that based on genetic makeup and environmental conditions, individuals should make decisions in their daily life that increase the chance of survival and reproduction.
Read the rest here
Pazhoohi, F., & Arantes, J. (2016). How to Live a Life with More Positive Than Negative Feelings? A Review of Menelaos Apostolou, Feeling Good: An Evolutionary Perspective on Life Choices Evolutionary Psychological Science DOI: 10.1007/s40806-016-0069-1
In their book The Parasite-Stress Theory of Values and Sociality, Randy Thornhill, Distinguished Professor at The University of New Mexico, and Corey L. Fincher, Assistant Professor at University of Warwick, present a new interpretation of human values and cultural behaviors, on the basis of ecological variations in parasite-stress prevalence across and within nations.
Before delineating their theory in upcoming chapters, in the second chapter Thornhill and Fincher discuss their philosophical viewpoints on scientific investigation in general, and evolutionary science in particular. First, the chapter compares philosophical and scientific methods of knowing, concerning exploration of the universe and its function. In particular, in this chapter the authors challenge philosophical aesthetics and argue that pure philosophical reasoning cannot discover causes of nature without scientific testing. The authors further argue that due to personal differences in values (biased common
sense, intuition, and emotional validation of ideas), human pure reasoning, thinking, and deduction are biased, and that aesthetic philosophy cannot empirically falsify or verify hypotheses. They also argue that all areas of science that deal with life and living beings are evolutionary in essence, and that humans are evolved animals and living beings—hence, that all studies of humans are evolutionary and biological studies. … Click here to read the rest.
Pazhoohi, F. (2016). The Parasite-Stress Theory of Values and Sociality, Infectious Disease, History and Human Values Worldwide (Book Review) Canadian Studies in Population, 43 (1-2), 155-157
Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook is edited by Margaret Jan Salick, Katie Konchar, and Mark Nesbitt, and the volume’s contributors are practicing researchers and experts in biocultural curating. The editors of this volume argue that many specimen and biocultural collections—which are repositories for plants and animals used by people, products made from them, and the information and archives about them—are often neglected, deteriorating, and inaccessible. They also argue that many institutions lack the appropriate information and equipment needed to curate and collect these pieces of information in a proper manner, if these collections do not languish in old cardboard boxes in storage rooms. Because of the variety in the form and function of biocultural specimens, the editors highlight the importance of biocultural collections and curation standards, which would lead into easier curating, cataloging, and accessing these materials. Read more here.
Farid Pazhoohi (2016). Curating Biocultural Collections: A Handbook (Salick, Konchar and Nesbitt, eds.) Museum Anthropology Review, 10 (2)