Philosophy is, broadly speaking, divided into three general categories: metaphysics (what is the nature of existence and reality?), epistemology (what is knowledge and how is it possible?), and ethics (what is the nature of good and evil and how should people live their lives to accord with what is good?). It’s this latter one that tends to have the most practical impact on people’s lives. Indeed, things like business ethics, governmental ethics, medical ethics, bioethics, and so on are where the rubber really meets the road. Yet, they still fail to answer the very basic question of “what is good?” and “how should I live my life?” for our everyday, mundane situations.
Humans seem to be evolutionarily predisposed towards interest in what other people are doing, since this has allowed for the social cohesion that’s been instrumental to our survival. There is also an element that, the more other people there are who care what a particular person says and does, the more people will care what that particular person says and does, creating a positive feedback loop. Social status in the form of notability must have developed as a way of attaining reproductive access.
Critical Theory is a methodology of critiquing power relations within society. It takes as axiomatic the new-Marxist analysis of oppressor-oppressed dynamics being inherent in all human relationships. As such, Critical Theory is not about whether such power dynamics exist, but in what ways they manifest. There is little talk about why these dynamics manifest.
What is the meaning of life? This question is profound, but has become so cliche that its profundity is often overlooked. The problem, though, is that to produce an answer to the question requires that we hold prerequisite suppositions: what is the nature of humanity? Where does meaning originate? Does meaning itself have some yet other transcendent meaning?
Poststructuralism is a theory of semiotics (language and signs) that, broadly speaking, says that meaning is an effect of language, rather than a cause. In other words, what things mean to us is formed by language as opposed to our language having a 1-to-1 correspondence with reality. This theory, of course, takes the blank slate theory axiomatically. But what if we combine it with evolutionary psychology?
Memes are not just the captioned images shared on Facebook and Twitter. The original conception of the term was to conceptualize the propagation of propositional and cultural information between human minds. But has human society reached a point where the natural selection of memes has stalled, thereby halting memetic evolution?
I just recently finished my three part series on evolution and was wondering about some practical uses for the theory. That’s when it struck me that measles was making a comeback due to people opting out of vaccinating their children for fear that the inoculation could be dangerous. Here is a proposal for solving all our problems.
Consciousness and qualia are problems that are still unsolved by philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. My way of viewing consciousness and qualia is that consciousness is the process by which our brains organize the world into working models and qualia is the ‘stuff’ that consciousness uses to generate those models. For better or worse, both of these exist due to evolutionary forces. That means they’re fine tuned to a very specific sort of survival, not for any pure understanding of the world or ourselves. In order to understand the limitations of our own minds, we need to know the inner workings of how the world is organized in our minds on a fundamental level. That requires knowing the structure of our minds.
In this post, I am going to write a response/review of Jordan Peteron’s 2017 lecture titled Biblical Series I: Introduction to the Idea of God, which is available to watch on Youtube.
In part two, I will give a brief overview of the evidence for the theory of evolution. This is not an exhaustive compendium of all the evidence in support of the theory of evolution. It is already a long post, so I keep all my descriptions brief. If you are interested in learning more, I provide plenty of links to websites and peer reviewed papers all throughout.
If you’re interested in how evolution relates to religion and whether it gives us any reason not to believe in God, check out this post. The current discussion will not touch on the subject, sticking strictly to the science.
Part 1: How Natural Selection Works
What follows are more conceptual aspects of evolution that build on the ideas discussed in the part 1. It’s not absolutely necessary, but I would recommend checking out part 2 first as well. In this conclusion to my three-part primer on evolution, I will discuss things like reproductive isolation, the different ways that evolution occurs, sexual selection, ecology, chaos theory, and evolutionary equilibrium. That evolution by natural selection has occurred and is occurring is not controversial in biology, which means most biologists are not actively searching for evidence that evolution by natural selection is a true phenomenon – the evidence that it is occurring is in. This post, therefore, introduces you to some of the areas of active research in evolutionary theory.
Part 1: How Natural Selection Works
Some people have anywhere from a slight misunderstanding to a complete lack of knowledge on how evolution by natural selection operates. I’m going to do a series on the subject to educate anyone who is confused by or interested in the theory of evolution.