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Synthesizing Generalized Evolution Theory
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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.
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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.
Action, Identification and Experience
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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.
A New Theory of Constructive Reasoning
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.
It has often been noted that liberal democracies are facing a serious political crisis. A common reaction to this situation is to call for more comprehensive or more effective liberal democratic education. This volume discusses some of the most important challenges to and critiques of the paradigm of liberal democratic education. In doing so, it offers novel insights into how liberal democratic education can be amended, extended or qualified to address the special challenges of the current political moment.
Interdisciplinary Reflections
Scientific progress depends crucially on scientific discoveries. Yet the topic of scientific discoveries has not been central to debate in the philosophy of science. This book aims to remedy this shortcoming. Based on a broad reading of the term “science” (similar to the German term “Wissenschaft ”), the book convenes experts from different disciplines who reflect upon several intertwined questions connected to the topic of making scientific discoveries.
Among these questions are the following: What are the preconditions for making scientific discoveries? What is it that we (have to) do when we make discoveries in science? What are the objects of scientific discoveries, how do we name them, and how do scientific names function? Do dis-coveries in, say, physics and biology, share an underlying structure, or do they differ from each other in crucial ways? Are other fields such as theology and environmental studies loci of scientific discovery? What is the purpose of making scientific discoveries? Explaining nature or reality? Increasing scientific knowledge? Finding new truths? If so, how can we account for instructive blunders and serendipities in science?
In the light of the above, the following is an encompassing question of the book: What does it mean to make a discovery in science, and how can scientific discoveries be distinguished from non-scientific discoveries?
Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner und Nicolai Hartmann in Köln – historische und systematische Perspektiven
Die philosophische Anthropologie des 20. Jahrhunderts ist ohne sie undenkbar: Plessner, Scheler und Hartmann. Dass die drei Denker nicht nur Pioniere einer philosophischen, sondern auch einer interdisziplinären Anthropologie waren, macht sie zu idealen Dialogpartnern für die großen Fragen unserer Gegenwart und Zukunft.
Der Band liefert eine einzigartige Standortbestimmung der philosophischen Anthropologie und Ontologie von Max Scheler, Nicolai Hartmann und Helmuth Plessner. Der Band dokumentiert auf umfassende Weise, wie die Denker an der nach dem 1. Weltkrieg neu gegründeten Kölner Universität einen nachhaltigen interdisziplinären Dialog initiierten und dabei eine erhebliche internationale Strahlkraft entfalteten.
The Sorites Paradox and the Nature and Logic of Vague Language
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This book examines philosophical approaches to linguistic vagueness, a puzzling feature of natural language that gives rise to the ancient Sorites Paradox and challenges classical logic and semantics.
The Sorites, or Paradox of the Heap, consists in three claims: (1) One grain of sand does not make a heap. (2) One billion grains of sand do make a heap. (3) For any two amounts of sand differing by at most one grain: either both are heaps of sand, or neither one is. The third claim is rendered plausible by an initial conviction that vague predicates like ‘heap’ tolerate small changes. However, the repeated application of a tolerance principle to the second claim yields the further proposition that one grain of sand does make a heap – which contradicts claim number one. Consequently, many philosophers reject or modify tolerance principles for vague predicates.
Inga Bones reassesses prominent responses to the Sorites and defends a Wittgensteinian dissolution of the paradox. She argues that vague predicates are, indeed, tolerant and discusses how this finding relates to the paradox itself, to the notion of validity and to the concept of a borderline case.
Reflections in Philosophy, Theology, and the Social Sciences
This book discusses major issues of the current AI debate from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, and the social sciences: Can AI have a consciousness? Is superintelligence possible and probable? How does AI change individual and social life? Can there be artificial persons? What influence does AI have on religious worldviews? In Western societies, we are surrounded by artificially intelligent systems. Most of these systems are embedded in online platforms. But embodiments of AI, be it by voice or by actual physical embodiment, give artificially intelligent systems another dimension in terms of their impact on how we perceive these systems, how they shape our communication with them and with fellow humans and how we live and work together. AI in any form gives a new twist to the big questions that humanity has concerned herself with for centuries: What is consciousness? How should we treat each other - what is right and what is wrong? How do our creations change the world we are living in? Which challenges do we have to face in the future?