Do social systems evolve similarly to biological ones and societies similarly to organisms? For some time now, an interdisciplinary paradigm has been developing in this regard: the Generalized Evolution Theory. After pointing out differences between biological and cultural evolution, as well as different inheritance strategies, the book proposes a philosophy of science classification of the different approaches in this vast and ever-growing field of research. It leads from generalized microevolution to generalized macroevolution and to their synthesis. As evolution favors groups with high internal cohesion, it will also favor strategies and reward agents responsible for this cohesion. In the long run, generalized evolution selects those populations that exhibit a higher density of interaction.
Recent aspirations towards the technical perfection of humanity and nature call for a new type of ethics.
The overcoming of all human weakness is often viewed as a personal right as well as a common good. But fully overcoming human weakness would undermine the basis for mutual support and recognition. The achievement of complete technical independence from natural forces would end the embeddedness of humanity within natural history. This book defends the necessity of ethical assessment against the automatism of relying on technical developments or market processes. To identify both the values and ethical limits of technology development, criteria for the goodness of human life, and for nature in general, are required. This includes a meta-ethical discussion of moral objectivity, philosophical anthropology, and moral history. On the basis of that discussion, conclusions are drawn about ethical debates in the domains of medicine, biotechnology, and information technology.
The book offers new answers to two central questions that have been heavily debated, especially in recent years, in the debate on so-called de se skepticism: Is there something special about first-person thinking? And how does it relate to other forms of self-consciousness? The answer to the first question is a resounding "yes." This assertion is justified by the double-reflexive structure, motivational force, and specific concern that first-personal thinking involves. Regarding the second question, the book concludes that there are non-linguistic forms of self-consciousness. However, these should not be understood as representational contents or non-relational properties, but as mental relations that, without themselves being represented, can contribute to the phenomenal character of conscious states. In this respect, the book also provides a justification for the rarely considered impure intentionalism.
An important aspect of narrative motivation is emotional understanding. The sequence of events completes an emotional cadence in the audience, which makes narratives meaningful for them. In this regard, negative emotions have an outstanding role. Based on general emotion-theories, positive emotions support approaching action tendencies while negative emotions endorse distancing and avoiding. However, this notion is not valid for aesthetic reception, because as research shows, aesthetic objects eliciting negative emotions greatly attract recipients and increase the intensity of the aesthetic experience. In aesthetic experience, it seems, negative emotions interweave with pleasure; moreover, they can be a source of pleasure. The studies of this volume discuss the role of negative emotions in the reception of fictional narratives with special interest to fear and disgust.
This book develops a modern evolutionary anthropological theory of the cognitive conditions for explanatory descriptions of the world.
Within the broad framework of processual hermeneutics, this monograph studies rationality by investigating what are the fundamental cognitive mechanisms required for the cultural development of rational constructions. It analyses the basic cognitive competences through which the human being connects categories and operations in a manner that allows it to orient itself in the world. If both understanding and explaining are forms of human-specific orientation, what does asking the question “how” imply cognitively? This monograph focuses therefore on the human-specific array of cognitive mechanisms, here referred to as enarrativity.