Blog Profile / Darwinian Conservatism

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:528
Posts / Week:1.5
Archived Since:July 6, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Does Trump's Bad Character Matter? Michael Wolff and the Claremont Straussians

Why should he accept immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti and African nations rather than places like Norway? That's what Donald Trump said yesterday in a meeting in the White House with Congressional representatives gathered...Show More Summary

Slavery and the Neurobiology of Self-Ownership: Frederick Douglass & Bud Craig

February will be the 200th anniversary of the birth in 1818 of Frederick Douglass, who was born a slave in Maryland, who at age 20 ran away from his slave master, and who became world-famous as a leading orator for the abolition of slavery and for a classical liberalism that would secure the natural rights of all human beings. Show More Summary

Spinoza's Neurobiology: The Emergence of the Mind in the Body and the Brain

The human mind is the idea of the human body. This assertion by Spinoza in his Ethics (particularly, part 2) can be judged as a claim about human biology open to confirmation or falsification by recent research in neurobiology. If this...Show More Summary

Darwinian Neurobiology Supports Spinoza: Self-Preservation, Freedom of Philosophizing, and Lockean Liberalism

In the fall of 1972, I was in the second year of my graduate work in political science at the University of Chicago; and I was a student in Joseph Cropsey's course on Benedict de Spinoza's Ethics. I wrote a paper for the course entitled...Show More Summary

Von Economo Neurons: The Neural Basis for Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, and the Moral Sense?

In the summer of 1996, I participated in a Summer Institute on the Biology of Human Nature at Dartmouth College, directed by Roger Masters and Robert Perlman. At the time, I was finishing my book manuscript Darwinian Natural Right: The...Show More Summary

The Progressive View of Presidential Leadership in Claremont Trumpism

The current issue of The New York Review of Books (December 21, 2017) has an article by Jacob Heilbrunn on "Donald Trump's Brains" that identifies the Straussian conservatives associated with the Claremont Institute as the intellectuals with the most influence in the Trump administration. Show More Summary

The Dishonesty and Sophistry of Stephen Meyer's Intelligent Design Theory

That Stephen Meyer is one of the four authors in Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design is fascinating, because these four authors identify themselves as biblical creationists, even though Meyer defends a position--intelligent...Show More Summary

Revelation Cannot Resolve the Creation/Evolution Debate

Unlike the atheistic religiosity of Romantic conservatives like Roger Scruton, the theistic religiosity of evangelical Christians is grounded in their faith in the supreme authority of God's revelation--the special revelation of the Bible and the general revelation of nature, the "two books" in which God's revelation can be read by human beings. Show More Summary

Roger Scruton's Fallacious Argument in "On Human Nature"

In his new book On Human Nature (Princeton University Press), Roger Scruton shows the straw man fallacy in criticizing the biological science of human nature as biological reductionism. Although some biologists do sometimes sound like...Show More Summary

Atheistic Religiosity in Kantian Conservatism: Roger Scruton on Wagner's "Ring" Cycle

Tomorrow, I will see the new production of Richard Wagner's Die Walkure at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. This is the second of the four operas in Wagner's Ring cycle. In the spring of 2020, Lyric will have performances of all four of the...Show More Summary

The Lockean Social Contract in Ancient Mesopotamia

In various posts in recent years, I have argued that John Locke's evolutionary history of politics has been largely confirmed by the modern research of evolutionary anthropologists and archaeologists. Locke was correct in seeing that most human beings throughout history have lived in a state of nature in which they were free, equal, and independent. Show More Summary

Amagi: Mesopotamian Liberty in the Goodrich Seminar Room

The cuneiform symbol above is the Sumerian word amagi or amargi, which is thought to be the first word in the oldest written language for "liberty." It appears on the clay cone above that is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. This clay...Show More Summary

A New Orangutan Species--Rousseau's Natural Man?

Primate taxonomists have identified six living species of non-human great apes: Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, eastern and western gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos. The Sumatran and Bornean orangutans were first identified as separate species in 2001. Show More Summary

Trump's Grandiose Narcissism and Other Chimpanzee Personalities

Donald Trump's Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a reminder of the importance of personality in political life. This should draw attention to the biological science of political psychology, which includes the biological study of nonhuman animal personalities as showing the evolutionary roots of the personality traits manifest in U.S. Show More Summary

Is Emporiophobia (Fear of Markets) Rooted in Our Evolved Human Nature?

I have often argued against Friedrich Hayek's claim that socialism appeals to our evolved instincts, as shaped by our evolutionary history in hunter-gatherer bands, and therefore that capitalism requires a cultural repression of those natural instincts. Show More Summary

Sapolsky (6): Determinism, Free Will, and Natural Freedom in the Legal System

In 1987, Robert Sapolsky was the recipient of one of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants." Some years later, he received a letter from the Foundation asking him to submit some Big Ideas for a funding initiative. The letter said...Show More Summary

Sapolsky (5): Liberals Are Movtivated by Moral Disgust and Fear of Death

In his interview on "The Daily Show" with Trevor Noah, Robert Sapolsky showed his liberal bias in how he reports the research on the biological influences on political ideology. It's the same liberal bias that one sees among most of the social psychologists and political scientists reporting this research. Show More Summary

Sapolsky (4): Left or Right? What about the Libertarians?

Robert Sapolsky thinks that our evolved human biology has some influence on our political ideology, in that all of us are born with genetically inclined dispositional preferences that influence our political behavior and our attitudes on specific political issues. Show More Summary

Sapolsky (3): The "Spirit Level" Debate over Inequality and Health

One of the weakest parts of Robert Sapolsky's Behave is his claim that economic inequality necessarily causes bad physical, mental, and social health, even in societies where poverty has been largely abolished. The problem is that he...Show More Summary

Sapolsky (2): Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

Like Rousseau, Robert Sapolsky believes that the biggest mistake human beings have ever made was in leaving the egalitarian life in the state of nature and entering the agrarian societies where inequality was invented. That inequality--in...Show More Summary

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