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Among moral philosophers Mary Midgley has a razor sharp mind, and when she speaks I listen Her new book is The Solitary Self Darwin and the Selfish Gene As the title suggests, in the book she takes up her long standing disagreement with Richard Dawkins and his The Selfish Gene, an extremely important book which nonetheless appeals to a rather limited understanding of Darwin, according to Midgley She points out that Dawkins title is anthropomorphic and therefore off the mark.She discusses th Among moral philosophers Mary Midgley has a razor sharp mind, and when she speaks I listen Her new book is The Solitary Self Darwin and the Selfish Gene As the title suggests, in the book she takes up her long standing disagreement with Richard Dawkins and his The Selfish Gene, an extremely important book which nonetheless appeals to a rather limited understanding of Darwin, according to Midgley She points out that Dawkins title is anthropomorphic and therefore off the mark.She discusses the linkage between a rather shallow but prevalent societal view of individualism and Darwin s concerns about evolution and human morality I will add that in the USA, both the politics of economics and politics in general are based on a flawed, Spencerian understanding of human nature What do I mean In The Descent of Man, Darwin points out that humans are aware of their life as a whole and the effect of their actions, good or bad, upon the entire culture, unlike other animals This is Darwin s understanding of human nature and it does not imply modern market economics ideology in which Ayn Rand s Nietzschean and wealthy superheroes save the masses from themselves 19th Century America unfortunates have become losers in the 21st, so to distinguish them from the only other possibility, winners The Selfish Gene, Midgley argues, represents an extreme neo Darwinism She allows that Dawkins didn t invent this view, but piggy backed upon a Spencerian survival of the fittest myth prevalent in society since the Nineteenth Century These are not her words, but I am sure she would concur The success of Dawkins book stems from its resonance with post industrial myth.She challenges a reduction of human motivation to self interest Human psychology is not so neat, she says Instead, reductionist individualism can be traced to the Eighteenth Century and, before that, Thomas Hobbes contribution to Enlightenment thought Ayn Rand s Atlas Shrugged represents a heroic independence that is not a realistic aim for Homo sapiens Darwin called it right As natural selection reveals over and over, fittest does not mean strongest, but an ability to adapt, often through cooperation with other organisms We humans evolved to cooperate, to interact constantly with one another and as a dependent and tiny part of complex and huge ecosystems Too bad that aenlightened understanding of human nature has not found its way into economics and politics (((READ DOWNLOAD))) ⇪ The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene ⇣ The first title to launch a new series of books, Heretics Mary Midgley is the doyenne of British moral philosophers The book is a formidable critique of the use of Darwin s ideas in modern day accounts of human motivation, most notably in the work of evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins DNF I couldn t finish this, despite attempts to persevere over the two weeks that I tried to read this, I just couldn t despite being very interested in the subject Supposedly, the book was about Darwinism and whether we should be talking about selfish genes and selfish behaviour, or whether co operation is what we should be talking about Except Darwin never claimed to promote selfishness as the way to go, it s just an oversimplification to assume that The book ended up being page upon pa DNF I couldn t finish this, despite attempts to persevere over the two weeks that I tried to read this, I just couldn t despite being very interested in the subject Supposedly, the book was about Darwinism and whether we should be talking about selfish genes and selfish behaviour, or whether co operation is what we should be talking about Except Darwin never claimed to promote selfishness as the way to go, it s just an oversimplification to assume that The book ended up being page upon page of quotes supposedly backing up the authors rejection of what amounts to an assumption about Darwin Except the quotes don t back the author s viewpoint up I m a bit of a Darwinist, but tried desperately to read this with no preconceptions, and would like to think I was open minded However, when the book is as poorly constructed as it is, I m unlikely to be convinced to change my mind by what is written I loved this polemic against the excessive individualism and competition based model of recent Darwinianism, that was very far from what Darwin had in mind It is also increasingly undermined by recent research which suggests that natural selection is not the only process at work no not intelligent design so much as the laws of physics on what structures are possible and the same solution is often independently arrived at Also competition and synergy are as important as competitive nature red I loved this polemic against the excessive individualism and competition based model of recent Darwinianism, that was very far from what Darwin had in mind It is also increasingly undermined by recent research which suggests that natural selection is not the only process at work no not intelligent design so much as the laws of physics on what structures are possible and the same solution is often independently arrived at Also competition and synergy are as important as competitive nature red in tooth and claw Obvious when you think about it, unless you have a Social Darwinian perspective Anyway a great concise mind opening read Always interesting and worth reading You definetly do not want to be on her bad side I just wonder what Richard Dawkin s response was as she really does take him to the cleaners, and have a go at him for on the one hand not fully taking on board the complexity of Darwin s ideas and on the other hand for trying to reduce everything to rather simplistic terms She is no friend of reductionism of any sort I feel I need to read it again however as it was some of the almost throw away points Ms Mi Always interesting and worth reading You definetly do not want to be on her bad side I just wonder what Richard Dawkin s response was as she really does take him to the cleaners, and have a go at him for on the one hand not fully taking on board the complexity of Darwin s ideas and on the other hand for trying to reduce everything to rather simplistic terms She is no friend of reductionism of any sort I feel I need to read it again however as it was some of the almost throw away points Ms Midgely makes which seemed most interesting Disappointing book as Midgley spends to much time slating Richard Dawkins in a rather boorish personal way rather than offering arguments she believed she possessed.Chapter 5 and 6 were a littleencouraging as she expanded on her thoughts on the theme.Expectedfrom someone held in high regard by many.