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Contents:
  1. What Does It Mean To Live The Good Life?
  2. Nietzsche as Affirmative Thinker | SpringerLink
  3. Papers Presented at the Fifth Jerusalem Philosophical Encounter, April 1983

Rather, he is claiming, more weakly and more plausibly, that no action is entirely unegoistic, entirely free of egoistic motivations. Thus some actions might be motivated both by egoistic and unegoistic motives, on his view. I thank Rachel Zuckert and Mark Alznauer for help with previous versions of this paper. Skip to Main Content. Search in: This Journal Anywhere. Advanced search. Submit an article Journal homepage.

Pages Received 24 Jan Additional information Acknowledgements I thank Rachel Zuckert and Mark Alznauer for help with previous versions of this paper. It has sold over a million copies, and has been translated into more than 25 languages. According to the ethologist Alan Grafen , acceptance of adaptionist theories is hampered by a lack of a mathematical unifying theory and a belief that anything in words alone must be suspect.

What Does It Mean To Live The Good Life?

One of the weaknesses of the sociological approach is that it tends only to seek confirmatory examples from among the huge diversity of animal behavior. Dawkins did not deviate from this tradition. As an example, see Thompson. The Selfish Gene further popularised sociobiology in Japan after its translation in With the addition of Dawkins's book to the country's consciousness, the term "meme" entered popular culture.


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In , the ecologist Arthur Cain , one of Dawkins's tutors at Oxford in the s, called it a "young man's book" which Dawkins points out was a deliberate quote of a commentator on the New College, Oxford [a] philosopher A. Ayer 's Language, Truth, and Logic Dawkins noted that he had been "flattered by the comparison, [but] knew that Ayer had recanted much of his first book and [he] could hardly miss Cain's pointed implication that [he] should, in the fullness of time, do the same.

As to the unit of selection : "One internally consistent logical picture is that the unit of replication is the gene, It is the gene, the unit of heredity.

Nietzsche as Affirmative Thinker | SpringerLink

Dawkins' later formulation is in his book The Extended Phenotype , where the process of selection is taken to involve every possible phenotypical effect of a gene. Stephen Jay Gould finds Dawkins' position tries to have it both ways: [32]. The view of The Selfish Gene is that selection based upon groups and populations is rare compared to selection on individuals. Although supported by Dawkins and by many others, this claim continues to be disputed.

The conflict arises in part over defining concepts:. Wilson contends that although the selfish-gene approach was accepted "until [when] Martin Nowak, Corina Tarnita, and I demonstrated that inclusive fitness theory, often called kin selection theory, is both mathematically and biologically incorrect. He criticises earlier approaches to social evolution, saying: " The proven best way in evolutionary biology, as in most of science, is to define a problem arising during empirical research, then select or devise the theory that is needed to solve it. Almost all research in inclusive-fitness theory has been the opposite: hypothesize the key roles of kinship and kin selection, then look for evidence to test that hypothesis.

Experiments conducted over many years by social psychologists have revealed how swiftly and decisively people divide into groups, and then discriminate in favor of the one to which they belong. Some authors consider facets of this debate between Dawkins and his critics about the level of selection to be blather: [37]. Other authors say Dawkins has failed to make some critical distinctions, in particular, the difference between group selection for group advantage and group selection conveying individual advantage. A good deal of objection to The Selfish Gene stemmed from its failure to be always clear about "selection" and "replication".

Selfish or Selfless?

Dawkins says the gene is the fundamental unit of selection, and then points out that selection doesn't act directly upon the gene, but upon 'vehicles' or 'extended phenotypes'. Stephen Jay Gould took exception to calling the gene a 'unit of selection' because selection acted only upon phenotypes. The word 'cause' here is somewhat tricky: does a change in lottery rules for example, inheriting a defective gene "responsible" for a disorder 'cause' differences in outcome that might or might not occur? It certainly alters the likelihood of events, but a concatenation of contingencies decides what actually occurs.

Dawkins thinks the use of 'cause' as a statistical weighting is acceptable in common usage. However, from a comparison with Dawkins' discussion of this very same point, it would seem both Gould's and Dover's comments are more a critique of his sloppy usage than a difference of views. The distinction is as follows: [43] [44]. Hull suggests that, despite some similarities, Dawkins takes too narrow a view of these terms, engendering some of the objections to his views.

According to Godfrey-Smith, this more careful vocabulary has cleared up "misunderstandings in the "units of selection" debates. Behavioural genetics entertains the view:. This view from is still espoused today, [46] [47] and conflicts with Dawkins' view of "the gene as a form of "information [that] passes through bodies and affects them, but is not affected by them on its way through"".

Gene activation depends upon the cellular milieu. An extended discussion of the contrasts between enactivism and Dawkins' views, and with their support by Dennett , is provided by Thompson. In Mind in Life , the philosopher Evan Thompson has assembled a multi-sourced objection to the "selfish gene" idea. Thompson objects that the gene cannot operate by itself, since it requires an environment such as a cell, and life is "the creative outcome of highly structured contingencies".

Thompson quotes Sarkar: [47]. Thompson follows with a detailed examination of the concept of DNA as a look-up-table and the role of the cell in orchestrating the DNA-to-RNA transcription , indicating that by anyone's account the DNA is hardly the whole story. Thompson goes on to suggest that the cell-environment interrelationship has much to do with reproduction and inheritance, and a focus on the gene as a form of "information [that] passes through bodies and affects them, but is not affected by them on its way through" [52] is tantamount to adoption of a form of material-informational dualism that has no explanatory value and no scientific basis.

Thomson, p. Another criticism of the book is its treatment of morality, and more particularly altruism, as existing only as a form of selfishness:. The philosopher Mary Midgley has suggested this position is a variant of Hobbes' explanation of altruism as enlightened self-interest , and that Dawkins goes a step further to suggest that our genetic programming can be overcome by what amounts to an extreme version of free will.

Papers Presented at the Fifth Jerusalem Philosophical Encounter, April 1983

Dawkins' major concluding theme, that humanity is finally gaining power over the "selfish replicators" by virtue of their intelligence, is criticized also by primatologist Frans de Waal , who refers to it as an example of a " veneer theory " the idea that morality is not fundamental, but is laid over a brutal foundation.

More generally, the objection has been made that The Selfish Gene discusses philosophical and moral questions that go beyond biological arguments, relying upon anthropomorphisms and careless analogies.

The Selfish Gene was first published by Oxford University Press in in eleven chapters with a preface by the author and a foreword by Robert Trivers. This edition added two extra chapters, and substantial endnotes to the preceding chapters, reflecting new findings and thoughts. It also added a second preface by the author, but the original foreword by Trivers was dropped. The book contains no illustrations.


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The book has been translated into at least 23 languages including Arabic, Thai and Turkish. In , a 30th-anniversary edition [20] was published with the Trivers foreword and a new introduction by the author. In , Oxford University Press published a 40th anniversary edition with a new epilogue, in which Dawkins describes the continued relevance of the gene's eye view of evolution and states that it, along with coalescence analysis "illuminates the deep past in ways of which I had no inkling when I first wrote The Selfish Gene From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Book by Richard Dawkins. For other uses, see Selfish gene disambiguation. Evolutionary biology portal. Createspace Press. The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 15 June Retrieved 6 January The Guardian. Princeton University Press. Updated Preface by the author. Hamilton II" PDF. Journal of Theoretical Biology. September—October The American Naturalist. Edward N. Zalta ed. The Extended Phenotype Daniel Dennett prefaced ed. Bandagi Nama denounces slavery and attempts to explain the spirit behind the fine arts of enslaved societies. Here as in other books, Iqbal insists on remembering the past, doing well in the present and preparing for the future, while emphasising love, enthusiasm and energy to fulfil the ideal life.