Ideas of Edmund O. Wilson, by Theme

[American, b.1929, Born in Birmingham, Alabama.]

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7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 3. Levels of Reality
If observation goes up a level, we expect the laws of the lower level to remain in force
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 5. Universals as Concepts
A child first sees objects as distinct, and later as members of groups
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / a. Beliefs
Beliefs are really enabling mechanisms for survival
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / e. Altruism
Pure hard-core altruism based on kin selection is the enemy of civilisation
We undermine altruism by rewarding it, but we reward it to encourage it
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / d. Ethical theory
Philosophers study the consequences of ethics instead of its origins
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / d. Biological ethics
Genetic behaviours that have enhanced human success include aggression, rape and xenophobia [Okasha]
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / e. Human nature
The rules of human decision-making converge and overlap in a 'human nature'
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 1. Contractarianism
The actor is most convincing who believes that his performance is real
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 1. A People / c. A unified people
The biology of societies: kin selection, parenting, mating; status, territory, contracts
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose / c. Purpose denied
The only human purpose is that created by our genetic history
27. Natural Reality / G. Biology / 3. Evolution
Over 99 percent of human evolution has been in the hunter-gatherer phase
Cultural evolution is Lamarckian and fast, biological evolution is Darwinian and slow
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / a. Religious Belief
It is estimated that mankind has produced 100,000 religions