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Being human, being Homo sapiens

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Agnes Bolinska.

Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism attempts to characterise human moral goodness as a natural phenomenon. It posits a substantive, essentialist, normative concept of human nature as an explanatory primitive. Human nature, according to neo-Aristotelianism, is an instance of a generalised organismal nature. Opponents object that no such concept of organismal nature is sanctioned by best scientific practice. I offer a roundabout defence of the naturalistic status of neo-Aristotelianism. I argue that the concept of an organismal nature required by neo-Aristotelians can be found Aristotle’s notion of Bios, a central feature of his theory of the organism. I next argue that something quite like Bios is required in contemporary evolutionary biology in order to explain the fit and diversity of organismal form.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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