New PDF release: The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene
By Mary Midgley
Well known thinker Mary Midgley explores the character of our ethical structure to problem the view that reduces human motivation to self-interest. Midgley argues cogently and convincingly that easy, one-sided money owed of human factors, corresponding to the 'selfish gene' tendency in contemporary neo-Darwinian idea, could be illuminating yet are continuously unrealistic. Such neatness, she exhibits, can't be imposed on human psychology. She returns to Darwin's unique writings to teach how the reductive individualism that is now provided as Darwinism doesn't derive from Darwin yet from a much broader, Hobbesian culture in Enlightenment considering. She finds the egocentric gene speculation as a cultural accretion that's simply no longer obvious in nature. Heroic independence isn't really a practical objective for Homo sapiens. we're, as Darwin observed, earthly organisms, framed to have interaction always with each other and with the complicated ecosystems of which we're a tiny half. For us, bonds will not be simply restraints but additionally lifelines.
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Additional resources for The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene
If single-celled creatures, reproducing by division, had been content to remain the only life forms, no predators could have developed and most individuals could have been – in some sense – immortal. What has favoured the short, diﬃcult, separate lives that we now see, with their attendant tragedies, has been life’s constant ambitious tendency to hang on and develop something new, however hard that may be. Kropotkin remarked that this is what attentive observers see in the wild: Two aspects of animal life impressed me most during the journey that I made in my youth in Eastern Siberia and Northern Manchuria.
Laing Ethical nature, while born of cosmic nature, is necessarily at enmity with its parent. (Huxley 1893: viii) The ethical process is in opposition to the principle of the cosmic process, and tends to the suppression of the qualities best ﬁtted for success in that struggle. … [Man must therefore be] perpetually on guard against the cosmic forces, whose ends are not his ends. : 44) Laws and moral precepts are directed to the end of curbing the cosmic process. : 82, emphasis added) But what sort of power can you use if you want to overcome the cosmic process?
91) And something like this is indeed, as he says, a frequent human situation: Man, from the activity of his mental faculties, cannot avoid reﬂection; past impressions and images are incessantly passing through his mind with distinctness …. (89) At the moment of action, man will no doubt be apt to follow the stronger impulse; and though this may occasionally prompt him to the noblest deeds, it will far more commonly lead him to gratify his own desire at the expense of other men. But after their gratiﬁcation, when past and weaker impressions are contrasted with the ever-enduring social instincts, the solitary self retribution will surely come.
The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene by Mary Midgley