Blog Profile / Darwinian Conservatism

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:348
Posts / Week:1.6
Archived Since:July 6, 2011

Blog Post Archive

Does Biblical Liberalism Support LGBT Rights?

Ten years from now, I predict, the movement for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights will be largely successful, and Biblical religious believers will claim that this success was due to the cultural influence of Biblical religion. Show More Summary

The Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity in Locke's Law of Reputation

In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke argued that our ideas of moral good and evil were derived mostly from "the law of opinion or reputation," because most human beings identified virtue as whatever was praised inShow More Summary

Monogamous Pair-Bonding in the Lockean State of Nature

Unlike Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke believed that our human ancestors in the state of nature were social animals, because the "first society" was the conjugal society of husband and wife and the familial society of parents and children. Show More Summary

Did Strauss Think that Liberalism's Success Denied the Need for Esoteric Writing?

I have written a series of posts--here, here, and here-- about Arthur Melzer's book Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing. Some of the writing in those posts is included in an article--"Does Modern Liberalism's...Show More Summary

The Evolution of Adam

Can a Christian be a Darwinian?Yes, I think so, but it all depends on how one interprets Christianity and how one interprets Darwinism. If you think Christianity requires that one reads the Bible as literally true in everything it says,...Show More Summary

The Empirical Falsifiability of Kennedy's Natural Law Reasoning for Gay Marriage

Natural law reasoning is an empirical science insofar as it makes falsifiable predictions about the failure of laws that deny human nature. So, for example, if one agrees with Robert George and others that the monogamous marriage ofShow More Summary

Thomistic Natural Law in Justice Kennedy's Gay Marriage Opinion

Although he does not explicitly appeal to Thomistic natural law, Justice Kennedy's opinion for the majority in Obergefell v. Hodges upholding gay marriage as a constitutional right implicitly engages in Thomistic natural law reasoning."The...Show More Summary

Darwinian Natural Right in the Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decision

As I have often indicated, the general framework of Darwinian natural right is that human nature constrains but does not determine human culture, and that human nature and human culture constrain but do not determine human judgment. Consider how that framework applies to the decision of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Show More Summary

Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence" & Raphael's "School of Athens": A Book Cover

Here is the book cover for the fourth edition of Political Questions, with the two paintings reproduced on the cover. I thought a lot about what the cover of my new book should look like before I settled on this design, with John Trumbull's...Show More Summary

Azar Gat on War in the State of Nature: Refuting Rousseau, Vindicating Locke

The debate among the early modern political philosophers over the state of nature can be settled by modern evolutionary anthropology. Over the years, I have argued on this blog that this is an example of how evolutionary anthropology can clarify, and perhaps even resolve, disputes in the history of political philosophy. Show More Summary

Lockean Liberalism as Symbolic Niche Construction: Locke's Mixed Modes and Searle's Institutional Facts

If we accept the modern scientific explanation of the natural world, how can we explain the human mind and human society? This is the fundamental question of modern intellectual life. There are at least three ways to answer this question. Show More Summary

John Locke and the Modern Whig Revolution of 1688

In many posts, I have written about the two great revolutions in human history--the Neolithic Revolution, in which human beings moved from foraging to farming, and the Modern Revolution, in which human beings moved into commercial societies. Show More Summary

Locke's "Very Strange Doctrine" of the Natural Right to Punish

If Morris Hoffman is right that "evolution built us to punish," this could be the evolutionary basis for John Locke's argument that in the state of nature everyone has a natural right to punish offenses against the law of nature. When...Show More Summary

The Evolution of Darwinian Liberalism

In December of 2013, I participated in a workshop on "Liberalism and the Evolutionary Agenda" in Freiburg, Germany. I wrote a series of six posts on that workshop.Now, the Journal of Bioeconomics (volume 17, number 1, 2015) has published some of the papers from that workshop, along with a paper by David Sloan Wilson. Show More Summary

Capitalism vs. The Climate?

Has capitalism caused the climate change that threatens to destroy civilization? Does slowing or reversing that climate change require that we move away from unregulated capitalism towards a socialist society that restricts economicShow More Summary

Watson's Mistakes

James Barrat has identified IBM's Watson as "the first machine to make us wonder if it understands" (224). But many critics, including many computer scientists, would say that this is an illusion. There is no reason to wonder whether...Show More Summary

Is IBM's Watson a Machine That Thinks?

“I for one welcome our new computer overlords.” That is what Ken Jennings said when he was defeated in the television game show Jeopardy! by Watson, an artificially intelligent machine built by IBM. There's a short video on this. There's also a longer PBS NOVA documentary on this. Show More Summary

The Turing Test for Emerging Consciousness in a Chinese Room or a Human Brain

I have argued for explaining the human mind as an emergent property of the human brain once it passed over a critical threshold of size and complexity in the evolution of the primate brain. If that is true, then one might wonder whether technological evolution could do for robots what biological evolution has done for humans. Show More Summary

Darwinian Natural Right in the Punisher's Brain

"Evolution built us to punish cheaters."Thus does Morris Hoffman begin his fascinating new book--The Punisher's Brain: The Evolution of Judge and Jury (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Hoffman is a trial judge in Denver, Colorado,Show More Summary

Are Psychopaths Still Moral Strangers?

Serial killer Brian Dugan in a June 3, 1985, DuPage County (Illinois) mug shot Jeanine Nicarico, 10, one of Dugan's victimsIn Darwinian Natural Right (first published in 1998), I have a chapter on psychopathy ("The Poverty of Psychopathic Desire"), in which I identify psychopaths as moral strangers. Show More Summary

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