A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

Haidt on Us-vs-Them

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice | 2 Comments

Below is a TED talk by Jonathan Haidt, the social psychologist who wrote The Righteous Mind, in which he introduced six belief categories: important issues to Democrats are care/harm, liberty/oppression, and fairness/cheating, whereas for Republicans the most important issues are loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/ degradation. In this video he tells us that openness to new …

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Republicans Not As Happy As they Think They Are

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology

“A true saying it is: Desire hath no rest, is infinite in itself, endless, and as one calls it, a perpetual rack, or horse-mill.” –Saint Augustine (354-430) The modern science of happiness appeared on the radar screen in 1978 with Brickman, Coates and Janoff-Bulman’s paper entitled “Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?” In …

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Rules To Live By: Hierarchy

Rules To Live By in a Hierarchy

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, eccology, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature | 2 Comments

The fundamental unit of behavior in a hierarchy consists of a political triangle: two attempting to intimidate a third. When four possible political triangles between four individuals socially interact, the individual with the most alliances ends up at the apex of a stable social pyramid in which all four members are bound together by bonds …

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Trump & Evolutioon

TRUMP for DUMMIES

Filed under: Belief, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature

It’s called Darwinism Human nature is determined by: 1) The survival of the fittest (natural selection); 2) Including group selection: There can be no doubt that a tribe including many members who, from possessing in a high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to give aid to each …

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Narrative Truth

Narrative (vs empirical) Truth

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, History, Myth | 2 Comments

“What brings you in today?” you ask after a new patient sits down in your office. The first order of business is a chronology of the present illness. Precisely when did the problem start? What was happening both at that moment and more generally in his/her life? Then the present illness prompts targeted questions about …

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The Montreal Review

The Montreal Review

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Mental illness, Sexual Selection, Summary of Philosophy

After drafting sections of an essay in the blog, it was finally published in the Montreal Review and can be seen by clicking here. This is the cover letter I sent: For many years the political right has implicitly drawn on the authority of Darwin’s paradigm of life as a struggle for fitness to support …

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We didn't get smarter, but just got together

We Didn’t Get Smarter, We Just Got Together

Filed under: Ancient human migration, Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature

The main function of these posts is to interpret new scientific findings in the paradigm of human evolution portrayed in this blog. In the last few months, I have lapsed in keeping up with breaking developments in the field because I have been busy writing an essay on the subject, having posted some of the …

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http://whywebecamehuman.com/a-liberal-awakening-part-v-upright-posture-great-big-brains-and-only-one-hand-ax/

Human Nature – Part V: Upright Posture, Great Big Brains and Only One Hand Ax

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Language

For a fossil to be designated a hominin there must be evidence of upright posture.  However, any orthopedic surgeon can tell you that upright posture produces extreme vulnerability for injuries to the lower back (perennially among the top ER visits), hips and knees, so it is reasonable that the evolutionary advantages of such a costly …

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Human Nature – Part IV: The New Narrative of Human Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice, Language

Forth in series: click for first, second, or third There is evidence that, in a period of sharply declining temperatures, a collapse in the ape population occurred at the time hominins split off from apes. My view is that in the context of birthrates falling toward extinction, hierarchical dominance competition became a dangerous waste of …

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A Liberal Awakening - Part III

Human Nature – Part III: The Evolution of the Invisible Hand

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Justice, Mental illness

Third in series: click for first or second (two more coming) I entered the field of psychiatry forty-seven years ago imbued by Jung’s theory of a collective unconscious. Jung felt that Freud’s concept of his superego was an attempt to make the collective unconscious personal instead of “universal and deeply historical.” As I began to think …

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A Liberal Awakening - Part II

Human Nature – Part II: The Vast Silent Cradle of Our Human Passions

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice, Language

Second in a series: Click for first or third It is not generally understood that there is virtually no scientific knowledge about how the mind of apes evolved into our own mind. Huge amounts of scientific knowledge about the minds of apes and humans (particularly children) are neatly being stacked upon the cliffs on either …

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A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

Human Nature – Part I: The Conservative Narrative

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature

First of a series: click second Political beliefs both start and end with attitudes toward human nature. The right has long been associated with the Hobbesian view that the natural state of mankind is “warre of every man against every man—Bellum omnium contra omnes” (Leviathan, 1651). Material progress is made possible by business competition permitted …

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Ape Mind, Old Mind, New Mind

Final Book Version on Amazon

Filed under: Author narrative, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Sexual Selection, The Deep Evolution of Emotion

Since my retirement 10 years ago, Ape Mind, Old Mind, New Mind has been a work in progress. The basic ideas arose from my knowledge of the internal experience of the major mental illnesses directly imparted to me by thousands of my patients in 35 years of practicing psychiatry. The “data” of these composite descriptions …

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social networks

Sexual selection, modern humans and the enigma of vanity.

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Sexual Selection

Excerpt from forthcoming edition of Ape Mind, Old Mind, New Mind: There is paleontological evidence for sexual selection. What makes early human fossils recognizably modern has less to do with brute survival than with the attractiveness of males and females for each other. Modern human adults are more gracile and childlike, which is the result …

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evolution of emotion

The Role of Emotion (and domesticated animals) in Human Evolution, excerpt from Introduction

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology

We belong to the primate order of the mammalian class of the animal kingdom. A distinguishing characteristic of primate evolution is the manner in which their large brains were acquired. There is wide agreement that these outsized brains were evolved not in response to the outer physical environment but to the inner environment of an …

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vanity.

Monogamy, Sexual Selection, Temperament and Human Evolution (excerpt from the book)

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Monogamy, Sexual Selection

Some monogamy facts: 85 percent of birds, 3 to 9 percent of mammals—but fully a quarter of mammals’ primate component—are classed as monogamous. Selected species of primates began evolving monogamous social systems about 16 million years ago, relatively late in their 52-million-year history of group living. In each case, monogamy grew out of a promiscuous mating …

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The Meaning of Meaning

The Meaning of Meaning . . . (The Golden Rule)

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Language

From this week’s Science (Vol.355:1299-1301) is an article entitled “How ‘you’ makes Meaning.” The abstract: “You” is one of the most common words in the English language. Although it typically refers to the person addressed (“How are you?”), “you” is also used to make timeless statements about people in general (“You win some, you lose …

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Trump: Justice vs. Dominance

Trump: Justice vs. Dominance

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Justice, The Ascension of the Human Spirit | 1 Comment

The “radical” conservative philosophy being introduced by the Trump administration is old hat to Darwinian evolutionists. This is the philosophical strain flowing from Nietzsche to social Darwinists through Ayn Rand into Paul Ryan. It supports the businessman’s belief that he is the winner of life’s competitive contest is like the alpha male in a troop …

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