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Blog Profile / Darwinian Conservatism

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:304
Posts / Week:1.7
Archived Since:July 6, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Government Marriage and Civil Marriage

Opponents of gay marriage like Robert George have argued that if gay marriage is licensed by the government, real marriage--the marriage of a man and a woman--will be abolished. I disagree, because I think that since real marriage satisfies...Show More Summary

The Evolution of War among Humans and Chimpanzees

I have written many posts about the debate between the Hobbesian and Rousseauean social scientists over the evolution of war. In recent weeks, there have been new contributions to that debate. On the Hobbesian side, Napoleon ChagnonShow More Summary

The Theistic Evolutionism of Pope Francis

In his speech this week (October 27) to a Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope Francis affirmed theistic evolution as compatible with the Catholic Church's teachings. He thus implicitly rejected scientific creationism...Show More Summary

Chimps Play Fair in the Ultimatum Game

The model of Homo economicus--that human beings are rational maximizers of their selfish interests--has been challenged by ultimatum bargaining experiments. In the ultimatum game, there is a pool of money (say $100) to be split between two people. Show More Summary

Joseph Cropsey's Straussian Attack on Adam Smith

Joseph Cropsey was introduced to Leo Strauss by Harry Jaffa when Strauss was teaching at the New School for Social Research in New York, before Strauss went to the University of Chicago in 1949. Although Cropsey was convinced by Strauss...Show More Summary

Haidt, the Mormon Church, and Libertarian Conservatism

Some federal courts have struck down as unconstitutional laws in 11 states banning gay marriage. By refusing to hear the appeals of these decisions, the United States Supreme Court has forced these states to legalize gay marriage. Many...Show More Summary

Thomistic Political Thought

Here is my article "Thomistic Political Thought" for the Encyclopedia of Political Thou Thought: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was the most important philosopher and theologian of the High Middle Ages. Thomistic political thought showsShow More Summary

Darwinian Political Thought

Wiley Blackwell has just published The Encyclopedia of Political Thought, edited by Michael Gibbons. It's a massive work--8 volumes for only $1,1888.00 at Amazon! It's also available as an electronic version on Wiley Online Library.Show More Summary

Political Diversity in Social Psychology Will Support Libertarian Conservatism

On January 27th, 2011, Jonathan Haidt gave a lecture at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Antonio, Texas. He warned that social psychology suffered from a political bias favoring liberalism and against conservatism, and that this bias could distort the research in social psychology. Show More Summary

The Confusion in the Scientific Study of Human Racial Diversity

"So: race is real, and race is genetic, but that does not mean that race is 'really' genetic."For a few days now, I have been trying to understand what that means. It's a sentence from Nathaniel Comfort's collective review in the current...Show More Summary

A New Study of Chimpanzee Warfare: Hobbes Versus Rousseau

I have written a series of posts on the debate over chimpanzee warfare, which can be found here and here. As I have indicated, this is ultimately a debate in political philosophy between Hobbesians who argue that war is rooted in human...Show More Summary

How Adam Smith Predicted the Financial Crisis of 2008

As a friend and follower of Ayn Rand and then Chairman of the Federal Reserve, first appointed by Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan was regarded as one of the leading proponents of free-market economic thinking. But in October of 2008, as...Show More Summary

Joshua Greene's Global Meta-Tribe: Liberals or Libertarians?

In Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them, Joshua Greene argues that while our evolved intuitive morality overcomes the Tragedy of the Commons through cooperation within groups, only an abstract rational morality can overcome the Tragedy of Commonsense Morality through cooperation between groups. Show More Summary

Churchill's Dilemma and the Neuroscience of Moral Judgment

In 1944, one week after the D-Day landing in Normandy, Winston Churchill faced a moral dilemma that philosophers today recognize as a "trolley problem."During the evening of June 12/13, the Germans launched the first ten flying bombs or V1s towards London. Show More Summary

The Scientific Study of Moral Emotion and Moral Reason in the Brain: Joshua Greene's Dual Process Theory

For thousands of years, political philosophers have debated the role of emotion and reason in moral judgment. We can now study this question scientifically through evolutionary theory and neuroscience. If the brain is a product of Darwinian evolution, then we can explain how the brain supports moral judgment as shaped by evolutionary selection. Show More Summary

Trolleyology and Rawlsian Moral Grammar

Trolley Problem 1: Spur Trolley Problem 2: Fat ManYou are walking along the tracks of a trolley in San Francisco. You notice that there is a runaway trolley that will kill five people who have become somehow bound to the tracks. YouShow More Summary

Experimental Testing of the Rawlsian Difference Principle

I have often argued on this blog that political philosophy is ultimately an empirical science that makes falsifiable claims about human nature and human history. In arguing for Darwinian natural right, I am making falsifiable claimsShow More Summary

The Platonic Utopianism of Rawls's "Social Union of Social Unions"

A few weeks ago, I responded to the claim--in Jon Anstein Olsen's dissertation--that my criticism of the utopian Left is a straw-man argument, because the Left today no longer advances a utopian vision of human perfectibility that denies the constraints of human nature. Show More Summary

Hume, Smith, and the Myth of Mirror Neurons

For both David Hume and Adam Smith, sympathy or "fellow-feeling with any passion whatever" is the psychological ground of our moral experience. From his reading of Hume and Smith, Charles Darwin adopted this idea of sympathy in explaining...Show More Summary

How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible

Two men keeping a "fire-bomb watch" at a Freedom School's community library in Holmes County, Mississippi, during the 1964 Freedom Summer. (Photograph by Matt Herron) A young man guarding a Black Panther billboard in Lowndes County, Alabama (a place so violent that it was known as "Bloody Lowndes"). Show More Summary

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