What philosophers can do is stand between evidence based knowledge and cultural/personal beliefs/intuitions expressed in everyday language. Philosophers can analyze the disconnects – just that alone is useful. Maybe. Worth a try.
The medical facts are in. Like all other animals, humans behave reactively, completely unconsciously and instantly – 140ms. All subjective experience, including feelings, consciousness, deciding, thinking, etc. are probably just epiphenomenal. Continue reading
The core (false) promise of all magical beliefs is everyday language-based “Mind over matter.” and “Action at a difference.” Praying, to some god, is just subjective reports of individual experience. So is voodoo, belief in the tooth fairy, belief in free will, philosophy, etc.
Well, philosophy is just more of the same. It presumes that words and everyday language matter to human behavior and explain the world. Well, it doesn’t and never really has. But, it is a very popular marketing/sales promise – look at religion! VERY profitable. Economists make the same false promise.
God lord almighty!? The ad hominem fallacy is alllll over the “serious” blogs. Philosophers ooze personal attacks gleefully and with full support of moderators….and atheists can sling the personal attacks well indeed. What a complete waste of time. We are talking about ideas – not people….PEOPLE!!?? duuuh…
In a recent Why Evolution Is True post on and ad hominem attack on Neil Degrasse Tyson. It’s pointless to copy and paste the attacks, but it devolves into prissy comments about NDT’s answer to an email from Pigliucci!!? Who cares how anyone answers an email!? Well, apparently philosophers and some other academics do….it’s silly and unprofessional….grrrrr…
Disclosure: My comments have been blocked from the Why Evolution Is True Site from the beginnings pretty much. Also, banned on many other sites and censored on Maestro Pigliucci’s site Scientia Salon, the master himself moderates my comments and requests for me to stop posting occasionally. All in good humor.
Although I did make a dry ironic comment about JC’s shirt once, I just post on the latest brain science research I read. That’s it. I also ask probing questions of other statements. I am direct and professional at all times, never an ad hominem or intemperate comment – wastes of time.
My experience is that website folks simply cannot tolerate the challenges to cultural and personal myths that just reporting brain research triggers. Continue reading
Brains science, animal ethology and biology have proven our subjective sense of self and Felt experiences, including consciousness, decision making, values, thinking, deciding, etc are mere cultural constructs and myths. Yet, the Western value of the primacy of individual experience still dominates cultural and academic thinking are work. Continue reading
The research also shows some of those traits have a neurobiological basis, and that those traits vary according to the biological sex of the individual chimpanzee.
“Our work also demonstrates the promise of using chimpanzee models to investigate the neurobiology of personality processes…The analysis showed that:
- the most fundamental personality trait for chimpanzees is dominance
- that is, whether an animal is a generally dominant and undercontrolled “Alpha,”
- or a more playful and sociable “Beta.”
But those two big categories can be broken down statistically into smaller personality traits in ways that echo the personality structures researchers have repeatedly found in child and adult human subjects.
- Alpha personalities, for example, statistically break down into tendencies toward dominance and disinhibition.
- Beta personalities, on the other hand, show low dominance and positive emotionality.
Further analysis shows these lower order traits also can be statistically broken down into their constituent parts. The research team identified five personality factors that combine differently in each individual chimpanzee:
This echoes a well-known five-factor model of the human personality, although the specific factors are slightly different.
Now, for the neurobiology: many of those chimpanzee traits statistically correlate with the function of a neuropeptide called vasopressin. Chimps who were born with a common variant in the genes that control vasopressin behaved differently than their peers, the males showing more dominance and more disinhibition, but the females less of both.
This research shows:
- not only a neurobiological basis for personality
- but an evolutionary basis as well.
The neurobiological bases of personality can vary according to the biological sex of the subject, at least in chimpanzees. Chimpanzee personality appears to have almost the same ingredients as human personalities, and that similarity seems to arise from the species’ similar neurobiology.
“These results are particularly significant in light of the striking parallels between the major dimensions of personality found between chimpanzees and humans,”