Evolution's First Philosopher: John Dewey and the Continuity of Nature / Edition 1

Evolution's First Philosopher: John Dewey and the Continuity of Nature / Edition 1

by Jerome A. Popp
     
 

ISBN-10: 0791469603

ISBN-13: 9780791469606

Pub. Date: 01/01/2008

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Examines John Dewey’s ideas in the context of evolutionary theory.

John Dewey was the first philosopher to recognize that Darwin’s thesis about natural selection not only required us to change how we think about ourselves and the life forms around us, but also required a markedly different approach to philosophy. Evolution’s First

Overview

Examines John Dewey’s ideas in the context of evolutionary theory.

John Dewey was the first philosopher to recognize that Darwin’s thesis about natural selection not only required us to change how we think about ourselves and the life forms around us, but also required a markedly different approach to philosophy. Evolution’s First Philosopher shows how Dewey’s arguments arose from his recognition of the continuity of natural selection and mindedness, from which he developed his concept of growth. Growth, for Dewey, has no end beyond itself and forms the basis of a naturalized theory of ethics. While other philosophers gave some attention to evolutionary theory, it was Dewey alone who saw that Darwinism provides the basis for a naturalized theory of meaning. This, in turn, portends a new account of knowledge, ethics, and democracy. To clarify evolution’s conception of natural selection, Jerome A. Popp looks at brain science and examines the relationship between the genome and experience in terms of the contemporary concepts of preparedness and plasticity. This research shows how comprehensive and penetrating Dewey’s thought was in terms of further consequences for the philosophical method entailed by Darwin’s thesis. Dewey’s foresight is further legitimated when Popp places his work within the context of the current thought of Daniel Dennett.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791469606
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
01/01/2008
Series:
SUNY series in Philosophy and Biology Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
169
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 8.95(h) x 0.44(d)

Table of Contents

Reading Guide

1. Evolution and Philosophy

Introduction
Darwin’s Influence on Dewey
Russell’s Rejection of Evolution
What about Genetic Determinism?
Ultranaturalism
The Discussion Thus Far
Consider Reading

Part I. Theory of Evolution

2. What Is Darwinian Evolution?

Introduction
Sources of Variation
Three Kinds of Selection
The X and Y Chromosomes
Lamarckian Evolution
The Discussion Thus Far
Consider Reading

3. Preparedness versus Plasticity

Dewey and Unlearned Activities
Where Impulses Come From
Preparedness versus Plasticity
Is Euclidean Geometry Innate?
The Discussion Thus Far
Consider Reading

4. Brain Development and the Emergence of the Mind

The Triune View of the Brain
The Brain and Information Processing
Neuron Elimination
The Theory of Memes
From Consciousness to Mindedness
The Mind as a Virtual Machine
The Discussion Thus Far
Consider Reading

Part II. Morality Naturalized

5. Can Evolution Tell Us What to Do?

Does Natural Selection Have Foresight?
The Problem of the Normative
Dewey’s Solution
Democracy as Means
Intelligence as End
Means-Ends Logic
The Discussion Thus Far
Consider Reading

6. Democracy and the Baldwin Effect

Intelligence as Inherently Social
The Moral Context of Growth
Dewey’s Criteria for Democracy
The Baldwin Effect
Democracy and the Baldwin Effect
Memeopathy as an Obstacle to Growth
Developing Autonomous Agents
Philosophy for a Small Planet
The Discussion Thus Far
Consider Reading

7. Evolution and Liberalism

Introduction
Three Views of the Individual-Society Relationship
Classical Liberalism
Dewey’s New Liberalism
Why Nondemocratic Schools Are Miseducative
Thomas West’s Attack on Dewey’s Progressive Liberalism
Thomas West versus Thomas Jefferson
Is Dewey’s Theory of Mind Too Optimistic?
The Discussion Thus Far
Consider Reading

Afterword
Bibliography
Index

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