DARWIN’S BRIDGE

Uniting the Humanities & Science

 

Edited by
Joseph Carroll, Dan P. McAdams, & Edward O. Wilson

 

Oxford University Press, New York, 2016

 

 

INTRO –

By - JOSEPH CARROLL

Page - Xix

 

THE CONTENT AND PURPOSE OF THIS VOLUME

 

Among the many questions listed as discussed in this volume are: What is the arc of human evolution, what drives it and how is contemporary life like that of hunters / gatherers?

 

CONSILIENCE AS A THEME

 

Xx – xxi The major transitions in life were: nonnucleated to nucleated single-celled organisms, multicelluslar, organisms with organ systems, social animals, and human cultures.

 

Biology begins with chemicals and then natural selection.  As no rupture, “consilience’ seems like common sense.  But, when we get to humans people start to disagree.

 

Brains are embedded in environments, both social and physical.

 

Xxii – The academic literary establishment is still grounded in obsolete sociology (Marxism), psychology (Freud) and linguistics (Derrida and Saussure).

 

Xxiii – Biologists concerned with animal behaviors are called “Ethologists,  and there is “human ethology.”

 

Biology is the pivotal discipline linking the physical sciences, social sciences and humanities.  But other disciplines impact us, such as the rotation of planetary motion on our sleep patterns.

 

Xxiv  - But some sciences are more remote from us than others.  Emergent structures work reciprocally, such as nation states, religion, political parties and economies and with the psychology of people.

 

Xxv – Emergent properties and reductionism are two poles of the consilient universe.

 

Xxvi – Co-evolution is a central point of convergence for biology.   Arts act reciprocally with “human nature.”

 

CHALLENGES TO THE IDEA OF CONSILIENCE

 

In this volume, Hawks and Pigliucci are skeptical about consilience.  Science is empirical and tests.

xxviiPigliucci says consilience is not desirable as a research project.   But, he assumes Literary Darwinism is wed to a strong version of the ‘meme’ theory.  Who in this volume is?

 

Pigliucci is for a traditional division of disciplines.

 

DEGREES OF PARADIGMATIC CONSENSUS IN THE DISCIPLINES

 

Xxviii – Scientific paradigms are stable frameworks that encompass cumulative knowledge.   

Lyell’s paradigm was so broad new findings are still encompassed by it.

 

Evolutionary Psych (EP) is being corrected by the view of ongoing gene culture evolution.  This is a growing vision of mankind.

 

CROSS-DISCIPLINARY LINKAGES

 

Oakley herein looks at “pathological altruism.”  Dissanayake, mark-making. Clasen, “Patern recognition and shared attention.”   McAdams discusses narratives.  These are not mutually exclusive, nor are the techniques people are using.

 

THE TRAJECTORY OF HUMAN EVOLUTION

 

Wilson and Boehm give hunting and meat sharing primacy in evolution; Wilson a defensible camp fire. 

 

Xxxiii – Harpending and Harris look at preference for ethnically similar folk.   We cannot unreflectively take hunting / gathering folks to be like us. Some see evolution pressures impacting us very recently.

 

A BIOCULTURAL CONCEPTION OF HUMAN NATURE

HUMAN LIFE HISTORY AND THREE SPECIFICALLY HUMAN FORMS OF CULTURE

 

All species have suites of behaviors adapted to sustain the body and lead to reproduction.

 

Xxxiv – Three factors that distinguish human forms fo culture are cumulative innovation, general ideas, and imaginative artifacts.

 

Xxxv – There are human universals. But distinct cultures organize them in different ways.

 

SOCIALITY AND IMAGINATION

 

Human nature is ultrasocial and imaginative.

 

We are driven to create groups. 

 

Dissanayake looks at the universal character of artistic creativity. SO UNIVERSAL!

 

Xxxvi – There is a dichotomy between getting ahead and going along.

 

Carroll says Victorian lit stigmatizes dominance behavior. 

 

Xxxvii – McAdams says the arts are non-adaptive.  Autobiographical narratives are particularly salient in complex modern cultures.

 

In 1963, Niko Tinberger found four areas via which to integrate ethology: phylogeny, ontogeny, mechanisms, and adaptive function.

 

Phylogeny concerns the evolution of the species and ontogeny the individual organism’s development.   Mechanisms are the structures that make this happen (brain, genes, etc).  Adaptive functions are self explanatory.

 

Xxxviii – Contributors to this volume offer three main hypothesis about the adoptive function of the arts, especially the narrative form: building scenarios, internalizing social norms, helping to create a total imaginative universe.

 

A DIRECTION FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

 

Psychology tends to be a-historical.  Earlier EP saw psychology as frozen at some earlier time.  For many historicists, there is no human nature, only distinct cultures.   He wants to integrate, but human biodiversity is not named.

 

 

PART ONE:

TRANSFORMING OUR VISION OF THE HUMAN STORY

 

CHAPTER ONE:

THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

By - Edward O. Wilson

Page 3

 

The meaning of humanity is too important to leave to the humanities.  They have failed to explain why we have our human nature.

 

Religious interpretations of life have become less supportable.

 

4 – Eusocial (‘true social’) groups cooperatively rear young across generations.  They also divide labor through the surrender by some members of at least some of their personal reproduction, in a way that increases other member’s reproduction.

 

Only 2 dozen species are eusocial.  Ants, and termites, two, constituted more than ½ insect body weight. 

 

In all eusocial species investigated to date, the final step before eusociality is the construction of a protected nest.  [[BOOK]]

 

5 – To do meat, people needed a home base and campfire, which spurred mental growth.  Good memory for telling the intents of others were necessary.  And the ability to rehearse competing scenarios internally. 

 

Our memory banks facilitate a smooth past, present and future continuum.    We delight in telling stories, which is the basis of the humanities. 

 

6 – Kin selection and multilevel selection vie to explain our social ability.   Individual and group selection are both stamped (Chuck D’s term) on our social behavior. 

 

Thus we’re explaining ourselves. 

 

7 – Demons and gods do not vie for our allegiance.   We are self-made and fragile.  Self-understanding is necessary for survival.

 

[[Self writ large.  Gods vieing for our allegiance have made us.  Not just self-made; self-story made, we are; this what our self-understanding tells us]].

 

PART TWO:

THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN SOCIALITY

 

CHAPTER TWO:

BULLIES: REDIFINING THE HUMAN FREE-RIDER PROBLEM

By - CHRISTOPHER BOEHM

Page 11

 

Chuck D added group selection and considered the free rider problem briefly. 

 

Of course, Williams and Hamilton’s ‘Kin Selection’ made individual selection all the rage. Cosmides came up with the dedicated, evolved cheater detection mechanism.

 

But, group selection has come back as a part of multilevel selection theory.

 

ENTER THE BULLY AS A POTENTIAL FREE RIDER

 

The dominant free rider bully can take advantage of altruists and non-altruists. 

 

13 – In fact he’d trick altruists more.  He is more than a free rider.  And, in deed, alpha males do have a reproductive edge.

 

SOCIAL DOMINANCE

 

Social dominance is based on 3 factors: social competition, dominance, and submission.   Not all mammalian species have such hierarchies.  But, many social carnivores do. 

 

We have long been egalitarian.  Why?

 

14 – RELEVANT MODELS FOR ANALYSIS OF ALTRUISM

 

1.       Basic selection mechanisms at the level of the individual, including inclusive fitness.  But this should be called nepotism, not altruism.

 

2.       Group selection: Phenotype and extinction between groups becomes stronger than that within groups.  So we’d have selection for tribes with fewer bullies.

 

3.       Reciprocal altruism: But, bullies can beat this.

 

4.       Mutualism:  Reciprocal altruism over a life time.

 

5.       Indirect reciprocity:  My reputation as a nice guy gets me more chicks. This is costly signaling.

 

(15)  6. Social selection (this is a catch all category that includes selection by reputation against bullies and cheaters.

 

7.       Docility – based piggybacking effects.  We are programmed to absorb our culture and if it is for altruism, it spreads.  

 

8.       Misplaced nepotism: we call each other by unreal family terms and so are altruistic mistakenly.

 

The first 5 are vulnerable to bullying.

 

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF HUMAN BULLIES

 

16 – Chimps and bonobos both have clearly marked social dominance hierarchies.

 

We all suppress alpha behavior, via coalitions, but chimps and bonobos, don’t do it so definitively.   We do it way more. 

 

Our Ancestral Pan likely didn’t like being dominated.

 

SOCIAL CONTROL IN EARLY HUMANS

 

17 - About 45,000 years ago, we became modern hunter-gatherers anatomically and culturally.   So tribes today are “Late-Pleistocene Appropriate” (LPA) for comparison. 

Half of foragers do capital punishment for bullying.  But, this is likely an undercount as all now know colonists don’t like it.

 

18 – Bullying leads to being killed much more than sexual deviance in LPAs.

 

Gossip limits the need to kill bullies.

 

How to stop retaliation?  The whole group or a relative kills him.  All share in the benefits.

 

19 – WHY ARE THERE ANY BULLIES LEFT?

 

If killed for 1,000s of generations, why are any left?

 

We developed rule-conscious, morality.  This let us just be slightly more dominant than others.  We could sense our limits.  Conscience is rule internalization.

 

20 – With apes, fear is the dominant element, not morals, but fear of retaliation.  But, feelings of right and wrong and reputation suppress bullies. 

THE EGALITARIAN SYNDROME

 

LPA see bullying as a main concern.  And, alphas cannot take so much meat that others can’t help hunt. 

21 – Often subordinates divide meat. Alphas are often restricted from bragging.  Of course, the dominant gets a bonus. But, their main bonus may be reputation.

 

WHY DOES BULLYING CONTINUE TO BE ROBUST?

 

22 - The LPA lifestyle involves a substantial amount of competition.  The system allows for personal reform. 

 

23 – While it may seem counter-intuitive, the capacity for reform, may have enabled dominance tendencies to remain at high levels, as people knew what they could get away with and make amends for.

 

When chiefdoms returned, so did hierarchy with a vengeance – literally.

 

IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL SELECTION AND GROUP SELECTION

 

As a lesser power, this vindicated group selection.  Cooperation aids survival.

 

But, there is also the newer theory of social selection.  It happens within groups and includes capital punishment and limits to cooperative networks. 

 

But social selection can support group selection by rewarding altruism and curbing free-riding social predators.

 

CHAPTER THREE: THE STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF MORALITY: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PERSONA

By - HERBERT GINTIS

Page 29

 

This chapter deals with behavioral morality, which many say is only cultural. 

Hobbes is an example.  In the state of nature, people are violent and individualistic.

 

30 – Dawkins seeing us as survival machines was much the same.  The view being that we’re inherently egoistic, but we can teach morality.

 

This chapter’s basics are as follows:

 

Š          Behavioral morality comes from 100s of thousands of years of evolution.

Š          We transformed culture and it us.

Š          31 – Human dispositions evolved when we were in small scale societies.

Š          We started to think in terms of social games in the public sphere.

Š          We thus developed private and public personas.

Š          Both require us to develop a higher moral realm.

 

GENE-CULTURE COEVOLUTION

 

Social values entail enhanced fitness for males who exhibit these behaviors.  Women choose them.

 

32 – Our genome primes us to learn.  But, learning is costly. So we have dispositions for things that remain constant.

 

There are very strong parallels between models of genetic and cultural evolution.

 

33 – People thought there weren’t.  Because memes and cultures are porous and change.  But, we now know of nested movable genes. And, cultural units (beliefs, language, icons, words, styles) do tend to be conserved.

 

Moreover, natural selection does not require heritable variation and selection, but not discrete transmitted units.

 

34 – Empathy, shame, pride, embarrassment are universals that social cooperation requires.

 

Sociopaths are 3 – 4% of the population and 33 – 80 % of the prison population.

 

CULTURE TO GENES: THE PHYSIOLOGY OF COMMUNICATION

 

35 – Clearly our anatomy evolved to facilitate communication.  We see this in the larynx and in brain areas and in facial muscles. 

 

Homo heidelbergensis, who lived from 800 – 100,000 years ago, had a larynx.

 

THE RATIONALITY OF MORALITY

 

Leonard Savage (1954) created the plausible choice axioms (the Savage Axioms) wherein limited subjective options are considered rationally.  This does not suggest he chooses what is in his best interest or what gives him pleasure.

 

37 – This model implies, at least, consistent choices.

 

A TYPOLOGY OF RATIONAL ACTION

 

There are three types of motives: self-regarding, other-regarding, and universalist.  Universalist ones are followed for their own sake, not consequences, and include character virtues such as honesty, loyalty, courage, trustworthiness, and considerateness.

 

POSITIVE RECIPROCITY: THE TRUST GAME

 

38 – If what of $10 is given to person b will get tripled and transferred back, people transfer $4.66.

People punish those who don’t give enough in blind games. 

 

39   In another game, if the receiver didn’t accept, both got nothing.  There were comparisons of folks in Yugoslavia, Japan the US, and Israel.  People reject offers of less than 30%.  The amount offered varied but the acceptance rate didn’t.  That means people have shared expectations. 

 

Usually in such experiments, about 25% are purely self-regarding.

 

A UNIVERSALIST CHARACTER VIRTUE: HONESTY

 

People are willing to sacrifice material gain to maintain honesty in one-off games.  But, if they will get a lot and the other won’t lose much, they lie more. 

 

THE PUBLIC SPHERE

 

41 – We are Homo Ludens: Man the Game Player. We devise rules from childhood on up. Especially in the public sphere. 

Political activity in modern societies is predominantly non-consequentialist.   Our voting makes no difference. 

 

42 – If we were purely self regarding and rational we wouldn’t bother developing political opinions.

 

But defenders of the rational model might say people believe their votes make a difference.  And, people say, ‘if everyone thought like that and didn’t vote . . . “

 

43 – This is really rule-consequentialism.  And, this varies, we make excuses if we don’t vote because we’re busy.

 

So we have a private consequentialist sphere and a public personal which is that of a political animal.


44 – PRIVATE AND PUBLIC PERSONA

 

The personal is self-regarding; the social is in a network of significant social relations, and universally attends to moral obligations.   This is not homo economicus; it is homo socialis.   Rawls.  Puke.

 

45 – THE EVOLUTIONARY EMERGENCE OF PRIVATE MORALITY

 

How did this evolve?  The beneficiaries might not be kin.   It is not entirely self-regarding and rational.  So how?

 

It feels good to cooperate with like minded folk.  We have social preferences. 

 

THE ROOTS OF SOCIAL PREFERENCES

 

He chalks it up to the development of hunting weapons. We got more via cooperation and could kill upstarts so needed rules.

 

47 – Also, we could kill groups that didn’t cooperate

 

THE EVOLUTIONARY EMERGENCE OF THE PUBLIC PERSONA

 

Lethal weapons undermined the social hierarchy and expanded our brains, by encouraging linguistic facility, the ability to form coalitions, and hypercognition in general.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: HUMAN KINSHIP AS A GREEN BEARD

By - HENRY HARPENDING AND NATHAN HARRIS

Page 55

 

We say our behavior reflects that of universal hunter-gatherer predecessors.  What the prior article called “Late-Pleistocene Appropriate” (LPA).  But, LPA has problems.

 

56 – Is racism taught?

 

GENETIC BACKGROUND

 

Yes.  Non related stepfathers abuse and murder at higher rates. 

 

57 – But preference for our own genes stops at inbreeding, wherein I could get even more genes copied.   

 

In this chapter, kinship means shared genes.

 

58 – They test using the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and French, Japanese, Mormons, isolated tribes and African Americans.  These populations have from 20 – 50 people, not specified for reasons of privacy. 

 

CULTURAL BACKGROUND

 

The search for Mr. Natural (LPA), who exists in our shared Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA) is problematic.

 

1)     What does 99% of human history mean?  Are we going back millions or 40,000 years? 

2)     Do we chose the peaceful !Kung or the Yanamamo?  BTW, the later harmed the environment.

 

60 - The bushmen shared large swaths of land and so had little genetic differentiation.  The Yanamamo killed and corralled, so had distinct genetic groups.

 

EVIDENCE FROM THE GENOME

 

Using the HGDP We see very little distinction between other French or Japanese folks. 

 

61 – There is not enough genetic diversity in kinship to favor cryptic kin recognition.

 

62 – In diverse societies, you can find people who are more or less like you genetically.  In these, aiding someone is like aiding your great-grandchild, genetically. 

 

Perhaps, then, cryptic favoring of those like you is a recent adaptation to modern diverse societies?

 

Uyghurs are half Asian and half white.  But, they have been isolated for so long that they’re relatively the same. 

 

63 – They have a ‘flavor of their own.’

 

65 - But, African Americans are recently mixed and so vary proportionally, genetically.   You can select a mate who is genetically like a great grandchild and “worth it” in the Hamiltonian sense. 

 

ASSORTIVE MATING

 

Humans in North America are known to mate assertively.  There is a weak positive correlation for traits such as IQ, stature, skin color and others.  NO CITATION!

 

66 - But in the four populations they looked at, there was no hint of assertive mating.

 

CONCLUSION

 

In large groups there is no payoff to kin identifications, ethnic strife or clannishness.

 

So, why such discord?  Yet in some situations it would pay off and in others it wouldn’t.

 

Their favorite theory: Ethnic strife easily evolved within the context of agriculture, sedentism, long-term trade and urbanism.  This would require the possibility of quick evolution.  And, they know that people might have trouble with that. 

 

67 – If it is true, then people must change quickly, from generation to some generation, and we’d have to rewrite history. And the authors seem skeptical.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: DARWINIAN EVOLUTION OF FREE WILL AND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

By - MICHAEL R. ROSE

Page 69

 

THE DARWINIAN PROBLEM OF FREE WILL

 

The main Darwinian problem with free will is that our behavior is both extremely complex and not obviously related to fitness.

 

Our level of behavioral plasticity is unique.

 

And, that is dangerous from the perspective of evolutionary fitness, as we have so many wrong choices we could make.

 

70 – One answer is to say we have escaped biological evolution.    But, the problem to this is that having a brain is very expensive, biologically. So, it must be justified to have evolved.

 

The large head and dependent infant are the examples.  The female’s pelvis interferes with her running speed even. 

 

71 – The brain can uses up to 40% of our calories.

 

THE MENTAL ARMS RACE AMPLIFIER

 

71 – There are many theories as to why intelligence emerged.  Lumped together they are “social intelligence” and “technical intelligence.”

 

Upright bipedalism freed our hands to learn how to use tools.

 

73 – Some like Machiavellian intelligence model for social evolution.    There is overlap in that hand held tools can kill or injure other humans, so we gotta be sharp. 

 

Evolutionary Stable Strategies (ESS) allow 1 leg up when all else is stable. 

 

74 – But for us, not all is stable.

 

He thinks, the proficient use of deadly handheld weapons, requiring social intelligence, set off our evolution.  It required tactics. 

 

75 – Colonial birds have social lives, but not our intelligence. 

 

76 – It is a mental arms race involving enemy detection, tactical improvisation, sequential planning; attention to side effects of choices, empathetic mental modeling of minds of conspecifics, predators, prey, etc.

 

77 – This model predicts generalized intelligence, not specific ones that only work on certain problems.

 

78 – EXECUTIVE MULTICAMERALITY

 

It would seem the general purpose intelligence model would favor rational choices based on Darwinian self-interest.  But, vascectomies, homosexuals, and drug use show this is not true.

79 – The answer to this?  Executive multicamerality.  One perhaps does long term strategy, another immediate, another implementation.

Seeming single voice in our heads indicates one verbal center is disclosing the presence of the executive camerae that is close to it then. 

 

80 – The author contrasts this with Damasio, who wants many drives and one conscious coordinator.  He is positing many conscious coordinators.

 

His nuance is that many captains control the pilot of the ship.

 
SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

 

81 – Religion is a side effect wherein we hear one of the other voices in our head.    THIS IS VERY MATTHEW ARNOLD

 

82 - These multicameral centers have separation from information processing. 

 

83 – There seems to be another person or a spiritualized force that speaks to us.  We often hear them under hypnosis or when asking a voice for help.  And, being Darwinian, they tell us about:

 

a) prospects for immortality; b) appropriate sexual conduct; and c) some sort of “ancestor” worship – generations propagating themselves.    Thus not God, but Gods are a result of the brain’s software. 

 

 

PART THREE:

ANCIENT MARKINGS

 

CHAPTER SIX: NEANDERTHAL HUMANITIES

By - JOHN HAWKS

Page 89

 

He studies Neanderthals.  They are a mystery.  We must infer all.  We do know that no social primate can function without emotion, without affiliations and conflicts, without memories of other individuals.

 

What would Neanderthal humanities be like?  Can we understand the subjective experiences of other cultures?   This chapter will concern their intentional markings.

 

90 – But these markings don’t provide “windows into the souls” of Neanderthals. 

 

Some interpretive anthropologists reject scientific approaches, calling them irrelevant or weapons of hegemony.

 

91 – Whewell’s ‘Consilience of Inductions,” was written in 1840. 

Wilson recognized the difficulty of going from lower parts to emerged systems. 

 

92 – To the extent that we believe in a single material reality, we must agree with Wilson that it is possible. If theories at different levels give different predictions about a level of reality, they are incompatible. 

 

Consilience is a marker of truth, but may also just indicate that our theories agree – though wrong.

 

People have theories about religious ritual and the divine feminine and red and menstruation.  True? 

 

93 – Neanderthals never, as far as we know, paint representations of figures on walls or bury with masses of red pigment, as later Europeans did.    They may have left red marks on walls.   They had red and shells with holes, suggesting necklaces. 

 

94 – But does this lead to menstruation rituals?  Red and shells preserve well.  Perhaps it was a rare combo in a larger selection. 

 

95 – If we had a statistical association between red and menstruation rituals . . .

 

Some say the cave paintings and such, 80 – 30,000 years ago mark the birth of symbolic man. 

 

96 – As Neanderthal and older archaic humans’ art is found, this problematises the timeline.  

 

At one extreme, people think that archaic people had cognitive abilities matching ours. At the opposite end, many sites from 10,000 years ago don’t have marking, exotic objects or evidence of non-verbal communication. 

 

Tool tech has been standardizes for 300,000 years. 

 

97 – Much of what we see on walls is ‘high-testosterone activity’ such as hunting.    There is detail to animals.  Also, hand print size shows children likely did much of the drawing. 

 

Scientific anthropologists proceed slowly to infer consciousness of any specific type. 

 

98 – Interpretive anthropologists go further but must comport with the rules of hypothesis testing and consilience.   Their aesthetic judgments are very different. 

John worries that the noise of interpretive anthropologists might obscure the real slow progress we’re making.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: MARK-MAKING AS A HUMAN BEHAVIOR

By - ELLEN DISSANAYAKE

Page 101

 

If there were ceremonies in the 40,000 year old beaux arts artifacts, the lack of soot suggests they were rare.

 

102 – Non-iconic markings are sometimes ignored in such discussions.

 

Is it art?  It is universal as children do it. Why?  Is it adaptive? 

 

THE EARLIST ROCK MARKINGS: CUPULES AND INCISED STRATIONS

 

103 – The European cave paintings now seem to be an anomaly, a rare oddity. 

 

The earliest non-iconic are cupules.  They are on every inhabited continent and go back 200,000 years.   They may require thousands of blows to make.

 

104 – Some in Germany are 350,000 years old.    They are made by Homo erectus. 

 

Neanderthals made zig zags in bones, probably, 47,000 years ago. 

 

105 – A homo erectus made zig zags 540,000 – 430,000 years ago. 

 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARK-MAKING IN CHILDREN

 

109 - Skills develop in this order:  Grasping, picking up, holding placing, piling, banging or hammering, scraping and drawing. 

 

Representation comes from four modalities: perpendicular, parallel, oblique lines and the circle.

 

They do not draw, initially, from what they see, but an inner imperative.

 

THE POSSIBLE ORIGIN OF MARK-MAKING

 

112 – Isolated Jarawa may have developed in isolation from other tribes.  They make geometric designs in clothes even though people in warm climes don’t really need clothes.

 

Although their patterns have names, they do not have any further assigned meaning. 

 

113 – How might the idea of decorating the body arisen? 

 

Finger marks naturally make parallel lines. These can make patterns.

 

115 – Early marks from Ice Age caves were made by young people, boys and girls.

 

WHAT MOTIVATED MARK-MAKING?

 

It is much easier to describe markings than why people made them. 

 

117 – But there are theories. 

Some were accidents, the result of grinding.  Some might have held water or medicine. 

 

Perhaps it is a by product of the pleasure of using ones hands. 

 

But, these and other suggestions may not be universal.

 

118 – Her idea is that once mark-making was in place, originating in exploratory fun hand use, it became an adjunct to ritual.

 

It might have also, originally, been auditory.

 

WAS MARK MAKING ADAPTIVE?

 

 

119 – It can be adaptive, but needed to arise first.  Derek Hodgson thinks it exercised our perceptual field.  But this ignores the tactile movement practice aspect too much.

 

120 – But other than mastery or play, why would an adult continue to do them?

 

MARK-MAKING AND CEREMONIAL RITUALS

 

It seems mark-making was associated with rituals.  Perhaps as a means to influence, for better or worse, spirits.

 

121 – Such shared efforts reduce anxiety and so lead to mental health.  And, it creates confidence and unity. 

 

But, making marks is different than ceremony. 

 

But, it likely contributes to ceremony via ‘artification.’

 

122 – A CONSILIENT CONCEPT: ARTIFICATION

 

To ‘artify’ is to make ordinary reality extraordinary. 

 

They likely caught attention via amplification, repetition and elaboration.  Other animals make beauty and do ritualized behavior in mating and such.

 

123 – It is still the case that people ‘artify’ things they care about. 

 

It may not, as our decoration, be symbolic of anything.  Artification precedes symbolization in children.

 

124 – It may be a part of a universal drive to make reality extraordinary.

 

PART FOUR:

INTEGRATIVE PSYCHOLOGY

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: CONSILIENCE THROUGH THE INTEGRATION OF ENGINEERING AND SOCIAL SCIENCE

By - BARBARA OAKLEY

Page 133

 

A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF HOW AN ENGINEERING APPROACH ADDED INSIGHT TO SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH

 

134 – We cannot help but see one table as longer than another.   But it isn’t. 

 

Pathological altruism is an illusion of helping others, when only making it worse.

 

Serial adopters is an example. [[WELFARE AND REFUGEES GET OVERLOOKED FOR THIS]] 

 

135 – Engineering training can help you expect trade-offs.  It also makes us test theorems and designs from many angles prior to implementation.   

 

In social sciences, though, the history is grand theorems with zero testing.

 

INTEGRATION OF ENGINEERS AND ENGINEERING APPROACHES INTO THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

 

137 – She recommends encouraging students to double major in psych and engineering. 

 

138 – Nationally, there are 1200 positions for industrial and organizational psychologists.  But, 1.4 million for engineers.

 

139 – Shows the sorts of classes that one could take to double major.

 

PROGRAMATIC SUGGESTIONS

 

140 – Engineering programs are accredited via the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).  They now have bio-engineering. Just add psych.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Psych looks to help others.  But they don’t come from a pragmatic scientific tradition that seeks solid verification and confirmation prior to implementing therapies.  This is a problem.

 

CHAPTER NINE: FROM ACTOR TO AGENT TO AUTHOR: HUMAN EVOLUTION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY

By - DAN P. McADAMS

Page 145

 

145 – E. O Wilson’s 2012 The Social Conquest of the Earth imagines history as a sprint to eusociality.

 

It requires gifted individuals to coordinate.   The direction is increased intelligence and complex and differentiated social groupings (Dunbar).

 

It is part of human nature to identify with groups.

 

146 – Experiments show people will develop strong allegiances to any made up group of any kind.

 

We must get along and get ahead to succeed biologically. 

 

We do this via building up a reputation and noting the reputation of others. 

 

147 – Personality begins with the different reputations that humans achieve as they strive to get along and get ahead.   Let’s look at the personality development across a life.

 

There are three headings: the social actor, the motivated agent and the autobiographical author.

 

THE SOCIAL ACTOR

 

Shakespeare was right.  All the world is a stage.

 

148 – Temperament differences begin in the first year of life.  Some babies are cheery some are afraid. 

 

The ‘Big Five’ personality traits:

 

1 - Extroversion versus introversion:

 

2 - Neuroticism versus emotional stability: should be called ‘negative affectivity.’

 

Though 1 & 2 are about the wellspring of emotional social interaction. 3 & 4 are more about everyday behavior in social roles. 

 

3. Agreeableness versus disagreeableness.

 

4. Conscientiousness (a strong predictor of success.

 

5th cluster: openness to experience. This is slightly associated with IQ.  It is harder to spot in children than the others. 

 

149 – Some say personality differences are unrelated to evolution, but are just random noise.

 

150 – Then there is the ‘Frequency dependency’ view.   This means the expression of the trait depends on how many others exhibit it. 

 

So, if one person is aggressive, it is an advantage. But, if many people do, it is dangerous and perhaps being peaceful is an advantage.

 

Regardless, humans do notice and respond to these clusters.  They were originally picked out by studying lexicons common in language. 

 

151 – THE MOTIVATED ACTOR

 

Actors have secrets that observers can never fully know.

 

Knowing a person is high in extraversion, for example, tells you about their goals, values and intentions.

 

Agency refers to matters of choice, intention, desire and motivation. 

 

By age one year, infants understand agency. They know which actions are accidental and which aren’t.   By four they have a theory of mind. They know how others operate. 

 

They project mind onto many things. By 8 or 9 they begin to evaluate themselves in terms of their personal goals, projects and values.   Their self-esteem rises and falls depending on how well they are doing in achieving those goals.

 

153 – These relate to personal and social goals.

 

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL AUTHOR

 

To be an agent one must first be an actor.

 

154 – In the 2nd and 3rd years we start to encode stable memories about personal events.  Prior they recognize things, but after things are happening to them.  They tell stories about what happens to them.

 

With the consolidation of Theory of Mind by 3rd and 4th year, they have agency in their stories, that have other characters.

 

By 5 and 6, they tell stories with narrative grammar.   They know stories have settings and times, antagonists have goals, they encounter obstacles,

 

155 – There is suspense and ends with closure.

 

It is not until adolescence that we get “autobiographical reasoning.”  We create life stories.  Psychologists call this “narrative identity.”

 

Themes and motifs from the culture fill in the narration, along with class, religion, ethnicity, gender and unique historical moment details. 

 

156 – Boyd says narrative might stimulate cognitive development and creativity. 

 

Boyd, Mar and Oatley look at how they help us try out scenarios. 

 

A lot of folks look at the moralization of children. 

 

But, it may not be adaptive.

 

157 – It may just be a requirement in modern and postmodern societies.      It probably didn’t matter that much in premodern societies.

 

CONCLUSION: PERSONALITY AND THE CIRCLES OF SOCIALITY

 

Getting along and getting ahead are key. 

 

158 – Personality begins with traits. You don’t need to know much about a person to get their traits.    And, many people can know them.

 

Your goals, values and motives are known by a smaller circle. 

 

And, a smaller yet group knows your ‘life stories.’

 

These correspond to 3 levels of sociality that Dunbar found.

 

Broadest is your activity network, in the hunting and foraging society. 

 

159 - Closer in is your affinity group (50 people).   After that is your sympathy group of 5 – 10 people.   They know your traits, goals and narrative. 

 

PART FIVE:

A BIOCULTURAL PERSPECTIVE ON LITERATURE

 

CHAPTER TEN: WHAT DO ROMANCE NOVELS, PRO-WRESTLING, AND MARC BOLAN HAVE IN COMMON?  CONSILIENCE AND THE POP CULTURE OF STORYTELLING

By - CATHERINE SALMON

Page 167

 

167 – Over the evolutionary timescales, humans have faced three main types of problems: survival, mating / parenting and social living.

 

All horror films stimulate fear – which helps us survive and reproduce. 

 

168 – A consilient perspective tells us why pop culture arouses emotions and why there are sex differences in the appeal of certain genres.  

 

NIGHTS (AND KNIGHTS) IN WHITE SATIN

 

TRADITIONAL APPROACHES

 

Some say the romance genre is a forum for rebellion against male authority, or is about female empowerment. 

 

THE ADAPTIONIST VIEW

 

169 - It shouldn’t surprise us that women would be into a genre that mirrors one of their most important choices, choosing a long-term mate with access to resources.

 

THE HERO AS A PRODUCT OF FEMALE MATE PREFERENCES

 

Commitment is the emotional focus in romance, taming of the hero. 

In 45 romance novels, the male averaged 7 years older than female.

 

Bold, confident, “intelligent,” he was.

 

170 – Of the most popular occupations 17 fell into either resource based (doctor, CEO) or protector  /athletic (cowboys, lawmen). 

 

LOVE HATE AND BROTHERHOOD IN THE SQUARED CIRCLE

 

What of pro-wrestling?

 

171 – The themes include competition between males for status and resources, mate choice, justice, cheater detection, male coalitions and solidarity in survival.  This is ripe for consilience.

 

MALE-MALE COMPETITION AND SEXUAL SELECTION

 

Men get access to women by beating out other males for status or resources.  Women also like symmetrical features. 

 

172 – Other times it is a battle over respect. Young males like this. 
One guy lost but got appreciated for not tapping out.

 

SOCIAL ALLIANCES

 

One way for a hero to turn into a villain fast is for him to turn on his partner.

173 – Social and moral emotions, such as trust, fairness, and revenge are at the center of many WWE storylines.

 

BROTHERLY LOVE AND HATE

 

174 – Brothers make compelling allies in wrestling.

 

FEMALE CHOICE

 

25% of pro-wrestling’s audience is female.   Bit guys don’t have the female adherents. The Rock does, he seems a real person and potential mates. 

The females like facially attractive mates. 

 

175 – And one who show friendship and solidarity.  But he can’t be bland.  They must work on the ‘cad’ to ‘dad’ scale.  Heart of gold.

 

GO AHEAD, MAKE MY DAY AND BAND OF BROTHERS: FICTION FOR MEN

 

TRADITIONAL APPROACHES

 

Traditional approaches to male readers look at the presentation of masculinity and the nation. And why women read more than men do.

 

ANCESTRAL MAN IN MODERN FICTION

 

But, it should be focused on survival problems in ancestral settings: aggression, men, getting status, coalitions.

 

177 – Mack Bolan is a character who focuses on such issues and has been popular for 40 years.

 

CONSILIENCE AND POP CULTURE

 

178 - Men and women like literature that is related to their ancestral survival strategies.   We need to examine this more to see further consilience

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN: TERRIFYING MONSTERS, MALEVOLENT GHOSTS, AND EVOLVED DANGER MANAGEMENT ARCHITECTURE: A CONSILIENT APPROACH TO HORROR FICTION

 

By - MATHIAS CLASEN

Page 183

 

Selection pressure has led to architecture for danger management.   We need to approach it this way, not as a blank slate.

 

Horror fiction takes its name from an emotion.

 

This article is tautological – people fear so it makes us watch which we do because of fear, etc. . . .

 

184 – Ghosts are stand-ins for ancestral predators.  Horror films let us experience worst-case scenarios without danger. 

 

His argument is that horror films are an emotional stimulant.  Captain obvious strikes!

 

185 – Fear directs our attention towards the fear elicitor. 

 

But, in horror films, we don’t have the fight or flight response. 

 

In Count Dracula – as elsewhere – the actual monster is given very little stage time. 

 

186 – Properly speaking, we don’t have fear here, we have anxiety.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS AND ADAPTIVE FUNCTION OF HORROR FICTION

 

187 – The fear lingers.  Children and other viewers see nightmares.  Kids who watched the Ingal’s house burn down, were less interested in building fires.

 

188 – IMAGINARY PREDATORS AND HORROR FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

 

Mentioning zombies made CDC advert viewers interested.

 

189 – The Mist and others hint at ancestral dangers.  Wolves, spiders and ghosts.  These are perfect and stay scary due to our heritage. 

 

A CONSILIENT FRAMEWORK

 

191 - The strange fact may be, people are attracted to fictional stories designed to mainly terrify them.  Tautology.

 

CHAPTER TWELVE: AGAONISTIC STRUCTURE IN CANONICAL BRITISH NOVELS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

By JOSEPH CARROLL, JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL, JOHN A. JOHNSON, AND DANIEL KRUGE

Page 195

 

QUESTION RESULTING FROM THIS ARTICLE:  CAN WE JUMP TO SHOULD?

 

COMPARE WITH THE TOP 200 AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN NOVELS

 

HISTORICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CONTEXT

 

EVOLUTIONARY LITERARY STUDY

 

195 – Until the 1940s, literary scholarship consisted chiefly of philological and historical scholarship. 

 

Poststructuralism seeks to pit all against all.  And, it even thinks science is just a construct. 

 

196 – In the 1990s post-structuralism started to creep into anthropology.


Then there are “Literary Darwinists” “Biocultural Critics,” and “Evolutionary Literary Scholars.”

 

“The causal forces in chemistry constrain biological phenomena, the causal forces in biology constrain human psychology, and those in psychology constrain all cultural products, including literature and other arts.

 

197 – Literary Darwinists, “believe in ‘human nature.’ That is they believe humans in all periods and cultures display a common, basic set of motives, feelings, and ways of thinking.”

 

QUANTIFYING LITERARY MEANING

 

Herein, they hope to bridge the gap between humanistic literary criticism and standard social science methodology. 

 

198 – They use a questionnaire to find consistent patterns by readers of agonistic structures.

 

COLLECTING DATA

 

199 – 519 Respondents completed 1470 questionnaires on 435 characters from 134 novels.  And, they relied on the big 5 personality types as a basis.

 

THE RESEARCH DESIGN

 

200 – They wished to see agonistic structures differentiated by sex, is a fundamental shaping feature in the organization of characters in the novel. 

 

201 – Their hypothesis relied on the validity of the terms protagonist and antagonist, which would fix meaning.   And, the patterns are not vague and inconsistent, they are clear and robust.

 

RESULTS ON MOTIVES, SELECTING MATES, PERSONALITY, AND EMOTIONAL RESPONSES

 

MOTIVES

 

202 – All species have a ‘life history,’ that is a species-typical pattern for birth, growth, reproduction, social relations and death.

 

In the case of humans, that centers on parents, children, and the social group.

 

203 – A chart reveals the first results:

 

Male protagonists are hgh in constructive effort and subsistence. They are low on romance and dominance. 

Female protagonists are tied on constructive effort, romance, and nurture.

 

Male and female antagonists very much focus on dominance and are LOW on constructive effort. 

Male antagonists do not nurture, females do only slightly more, and females are lower on subsistence efforts than female protagonists.

 

CRITERIA FOR SELECTING MATES

 

204 – Female protagonists and antagonists give stronger preference to extrinsic attributes, such as wealth, power, and prestige.  For female antagonists, this varies directly with their quest for dominance.

 

Female protagonists are more into intrinsic qualities – intelligence, reliability, kindness, than male protagonists.

 

PERSONALITY FACTORS

 

205 – The big 5 for them are: Openness, agreeableness, extroversion, contentiousness and emotional stability.

 

EMOTIONAL RESPONSES

 

206 – A chart shows people respond to novels the way they respond in everyday life. Both reinforce the universal emotions notion. 

 

Antagonists are low in agreeableness.  But, they are high in extroversion.

 

Female antagonists are high in agreeableness and openness.    And, while they are low in extroversion, they are not as low as male protagonists.

 

207 -  A chart shows that people really dislike and don’t feel sorry for antagonists.

 

208 – Male protagonists do cooperation. They do not seek to dominate others socially.

 

CONCLUSION

AGONISTIC POLARIZATION

 

208 - The protagonists are preoccupied with wealth, prestige, and power.  Very ego driven.  Male antagonists are indifferent not the personal qualities in their marital partners.  Females choose marriage partners on the basis of wealth and status.  Antagonists are emotionally isolated and not curious.   Protagonists seek romantic love, and pursue cultural interests.  They are emotionally warm and broad-minded.

 

DETERMINATE MEANING

 

Literary theorists now routinely say meanings are inherently indeterministic.

 

209 – They found high agreement between attributes of characters. So they must exist in the characters.    They also found a high degree of correlation in the emotional responses of the readers.

 

This means authors have a high degree of control in determining readers’ emotional responses. 

Most literary texts are all about pluralism, that suggests “an underlying epistemological relativism.”  [[[So will he do the opposite?]]]

 

This is beyond, “interpretive community.”

 

“Pluralism is not a coherent theoretical position.”  Paradigms help with consensus. 

 

210 – Claims about the nature of the human mind, laws of social organization, sex, and gender can all be tested scientifically.  

 

For the first time in history, then, we have the basis for rational interpretive consensus about the meaning of literary works.

 

SEXUAL POLITICS IN THE NOVELS

 

Our data suggests that struggles for power based on sex are less important than the conflict between dominance and cooperation. This frames antagonists and protagonists, not gender wars. 

211 – Males and females cooperate in resisting the predatory threats of antagonists, and this creates admiration in the reader. 

By isolating and stigmatizing dominance behavior, the novel affirms the shared values that bind readers into a community. 

 

“Patriarchy” is not the end of Victorian novels opposed by a female affiliative ethos. 

There are contradictory views.  One is that “gender” is only made of arbitrary social constructs.   But then feminists want to say that women’s values are inherently different.  Which is it?

 

212 – Male and female values are different, but not autonomous.  We evolved together in cooperation. 

 

We have species – typical differences in mating preferences for males and females.  These are in the data herein. Sex bulks large among themotives that drive plots, and biologically based meaning preferences infuse passion and interest into motives.  These have important implications for reading of literature.  [[[AND SOCIETY!]]]

 

Sex is not just power relations.  We have survived for eons.

Good characters care about esteem and gratitude.  Bad ones are not interested in love or sex.

 

213 – They are only interested in power, wealth, and prestige.    We need to discuss this whole world when we discuss novels.

 

THE ADAPTIVE FUNCTION OF AGONISTIC STRUCTURE

 

Do the arts fulfill any adaptive function?

 

There are various theories:

 

Reinforcing common social identity: Dissanayake

Fostering creativity and cognitive flexibility: Boyd

Enhancing pattern recognition: Boyd

Serving as a form of sexual display: Miller

Info about the environment: Sugiyama

Game playing scenarios to prepare for future events: Sugiyama

Focusing on relevant problems: Dissanayake

Making emotional sense of experience: Wilson; Dissanayake; Carroll: Dutton

No function: Pinker

 

The agonistic study herein points to reinforcing egalitarian ethos, by stigmatizing status seeking in potentially dominant individuals.

 

[[[This assumes that all societies seek to be as hierarchy free as Victorian Britain.  Evolutionarily, would this add more advantage or similarity in warfare? (which would already encourage self-sacrifice)]]]

 

214 – Here Carroll writes about Boehm’s reverse hierarchy.   Boehm writes about reverse hierarchy curtailing destructive the dominance traits we see in other primates, enabling cooperation.

And, yes, a sense of what is a good guy and what is a bad guy does seem to be rooted in our psyche and in our literature.  We don’t like being dominated. 

 

215 – In highly stratified societies, anti-hierarchy likely emerged in tandem with the need for cooperation and constructs that embodied the ethos of the tribe.  

 

THE SCOPE OF OUR CLAIMS

 

So, we have near proof of determinate meaning.

 

216 – Since, it is argued, the characteristics have ancient roots, such features should be in most or all cultures.  

 

But, they’d “be interested to know how it varies inform in different cultural ecologies.” As marriage, universal as it is, varies from culture to culture. 

 

LIMITATIONS IN OUR ANALYTIC MODEL

 

A comprehensive Darwinist Literary Criticism could “take in, synoptically, its phenomenal effects (tone, style, theme, formal organization); locate it in a cultural context; explain that context as a particular organization of the elements of human nature within a specific set of environmental conditions . . . identify an implied author and an implied reader; examine the responses of actual readers . .  .describe the sociocultural, political, and psychological functions.”

 

This statement denies that “human nature” itself can vary, only the environmental context in which it expresses itself.  If I am kind, I can say this is about epigenetics.  But, there is no sign of this here.

 

217 – Gottschall, it says, is wary of full consilliences possibility.  And, “identifying large scale patterns of meaning in the novel need not reduce our appreciation of the value and significance of the novel.”  But, his making all novels of British Victorian times fit this one pattern kind of does undermine our appreciation.

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: EXPERIMENTS WITH EXPERIENCE: CONSILIENT MULTILEVEL EXPLANATIONS OF ART AND LITERATURE

By - BRIAN BOYD

Page 223

 

CONSILIENT MULTILEVEL EXPLANATIONS OF ART AND LITERATURE

 

Both science and art are forms of observation. 

 

224 – Herein Boyd wishes to make a multilevel criticism of Shakespeare’s sonnets #73 and 74, and compare them to Spiegleman’s MetaMaus.

 

225 – Tell me your theory and I’ll tell you how you’ll read a piece of literature.

 

He wishes to import problem-solution and cost-benefit models, as well as patterns and attention.

 

The central problem of life is preserving the complexity it has already achieved, in the face of threats to disintegration.  By finding energy and resisting wear and tear.

 

227 – But every solution to this problem has costs.  We evolved pattern recognition, but lost detail.

 

Art is cognitive play with such patterns – claims Boyd.

 

Attention also solves the problem of limited space. 

 

228 – Thus it turns stimulus into information.

 

If art doesn’t hold our attention, we haven’t learned about attention getting . We must get the attention of our audiences. How?

 

If specialized artists can get attention it gives them prestige and status. 

 

229 – By appealing to a broad audience, they become boring.  So, they must stay fresh. 

 

Herein, Boyd gives a 6 level typology for analyzing art:   At the bottom, we see what is global; then what is human; then what is local; individual; then we look at the work and its details.

What we look at depends on the question we wish to answer.

 

2230 – The global part includes sociality and social learning common to all species.

The human level includes our disposition to art.  

 

In terms of the sonnets and Spiegleman, we must ask what does our consciousness of death play in human thought and feeling?  It is a byproduct of our imagination.

 

If a big problem is preserving complexity, death is a bummer.  

 

231 – The sonnets promote the imagine beating death via art.  This is global and human. 

 

Then locally: People have complained that Literary Darwinism only looks at the universal and not the local.  But, Shakespeare wrote sonnets, a form invented during the 12th century.

 

232 – A normal trope was a male after a female who rejected him, though he stayed true.  This can be explained via the rarity of eggs and excess of sperm.

 

The yellow kid was the first comic.  It co-mixed media. 

 

233 – It gave us info quickly.  In the 1960s cheap printing made the underground comic possible.  This is local and material.

 

Now we go down to the individual.

 

234 – Shakespeare started sonnets after already conquering drama.  He wants further pre-eminence.  Spiegelman wanted fame too. But, it became so overwhelming it trapped him.

 

235 – Surpassing expectations gives you more notoriety. 

As an attention getter Shakespeare’s woman doesn’t resist and even has other men.  Then, he turns it to a boy much later.  He is playing with pattern.

 

237 – This cognitive focus makes our vision a bet sharper, deeper and wider.

 

“Terror management theory,” gives us motive to read Shakespeare. 

 

238 – So he doesn’t read it so differently than others.  But, he says why it happens and in pattern recognition, points at neural patterns. 

 

239 – In terms of culture, Shakespeare deals with the Christian concept of the corruption of the body.

 

240 – The closer we get to a particular piece of work, the less predictable its evolutionary plugins, (241), except for the common heuristics, like cost benefit, problems – solutions, attention – pattern.  But we can go from sperm egg to receptivity to faces. 

Boyd’s interpretation doesn’t override other explanations, it supplements them.

 

PART SIX:

A CHALLENGE

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: THE LIMITS OF CONSILIENCE AND THE PROBLEM OF SCIENTISM

By - MASSIMO PIGLIUCCI

Page 247

 

TWO CULTURES AND THE SCIENCE WARS

 

247 – C.P. Snow and the two cultures, but not a word on Arnold!   He says Snow “brought the debate into the open for the first time,” in 1959! WHAT?

 

248 – Snow was a scientists who moved into the humanities and was aghast at his new colleagues dismissal of science.

 

The Sokal affair!

 

249 – Dennet said there was no such thing as philosophy free science. Hawking et all needed philosophy and didn’t even know it!  Ha!

 

E. O. WILSON’S QUEST FOR ‘CONSILIENCE’

 

250 – The image is of a spiral where music and art are first understood in terms of sociology and psychology, then neuroscience and evolutionary theory. 

 

Wilson took the term from William Whewell’s 1847 book.  He also coined the term ‘scientist.’ 

 

251 – By consilience he meant a sort of induction where the facts converge on a conclusion. By contrast Pigliucci sees Wilson’s consilience more reductionist.

 

In theory, consilience proponents think they can induct everything from quarks.   This is a philosophical position, he doesn’t care about.  But, emergent properties may muddy the transitions.

 

252 – But strong versions of reductionism are obviously false. We cannot infer poetry from chemistry.   But, how far can we push this program?

 

WHY WILSON-TYPE CONSILIENCE DOES NOT WORK

 

252 – Genes controlling our senses does not, P thinks, bridge the gap and neither do epigenetics – in which he has worked.

 

Memes are in big trouble as a research program.

 

253 – Meme mechanisms descriptions are largely tautological and the definitions murky.

 

This is not to say that biology is irrelevant to culture, as radical postmodernists assert.

 

The death of logical – positivism meant the math / art continuum is hurt.

 

254 – The Pythagorean theorem doesn’t smoothly map onto reality and logic doesn’t smoothly either.   What do triangles smell like?

 

He cannot prove Beethoven’s songs are better than Brittany Spears’. 

 

255 – Any judgment on this matter will just be cultural prejudice.

 

THE FAILURE OF POSITIVISM AND THE SEARCH FOR OBJECTIVE TRUTH

 

Wilson likes the Enlightenment and logical positivism.

 

256 - But logical positivism is dead in philosophy and they said metaphysical statements are meaningless.

 

Our search for objective truths is going nowhere.

 

257 – Godel!

 

An MRI will never tell if a person doing the Pythagorean theorem got it right. Hmnn. This is an attack on Wilson’s basing a return of the logical positivists on neuroscience.

 

THE PARS CONSTRENS OF THE CONSILIENCE PROJECT

 

Now he will see what we can say about “congruence” (a better term) between science and the humanities.

 

The idea that arts teach us about pattern radically underestimate the variety of paintings. 

 

258 – It is as much about breaking symmetry as making it.

 

What is the evolutionary advantage of high level mathematics?  So how did natural selection select for it?

 

We see roots of morals in primates, but it is a long ways to Aristotle.

 

259 – Wilson likes consilience because he likes it, not because it is more plausible than nothing holding together.   

 

260 – Our brains are too limited to reach consilience. 

 

A DIFFERENT MODEL FOR CONSILIENCE

 

So we need a more nuanced relationship between sciences and humanities.  He has a chart for this. 

 

3 concepts: knowledge, experience and understanding.   Science (including logic and math)  is the knowledge bubble; Humanities (first person qualia) are in the Experience bubble.  And, Social studies are in the understanding cytoplasm between the two.

 

Understanding can derive from both sciences and humanities, but it cannot be limited to one or the other. 

 

261 – We can’t know what it is to be a bat.

 

This doesn’t mean we go ‘beyond science.’  But, there is stuff before science. Qualia. 

 

AFTERWORD

By - DAVID SLOAN WILSON

Page 265

 

265 – We see two uses of the word ‘consilience’ in this volume.   The fist is physical reductionism, meaning all complex phenomena can be reduced to relations among simpler elements.’   

 

This is not threatening to the humanities as proximate and ultimate causes show. 

Apple trees’ time of blooming helps survival.  There is also the proximate molecular biology explanation. 

 

266 – Knowing one does not substitute for the other.  Most consilient research programs study these two levels and temporal components (development – the temporal dimension of proximate causes) and (phylogeny, the temporal element of ultimate causes).

 

The second meaning of consilience simply calls for consistency among academic disciplines.  So economics must consider findings in psychology.   Who could be against this sort of consilience?

 

Epigenetics is a link to which to pay attention.

 

By - JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL

Page269

 

15,000 years ago someone went about a kilometer into a cave to make art. And, people came to see it.

 

270 – The cave, found in 1912, showed us our ancestors had culture.   Why did they brave this cave for art?  Science has largely ignored this question.   And the arts have guarded against science.

 

Art suffuses our lives.

 

Denis Dutton said in 2009, in the Art Instinct, “All human beings have essentially the same art” (29).

 

Our love of art is as distinctive as our language.  How art stimulates us and art in other species is under investigated.

 

271 – What if the boundary is imaginary only?  Such notions are in their infancy.   We need border crashing.