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Beyond Evolution – Human Nature and the Limits of Evolutionary Explanation - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Beyond Evolution: Human Nature and the Limits of Evolutionary Explanation

Anthony O'Hear


The theory of evolution may be successful in explaining natural history, but it is of limited value when applied to the human world. Because of our reflectiveness and rationality, as embodied in language, we give ourselves ideals that cannot be justified in terms of survival‐promotion or reproductive advantage. Evolutionary theory is unable to give satisfactory accounts of such distinctive features of human life as the quest for knowledge, our moral sense, and the appreciation of beauty. At most, it can account for their prefiguration at some earlier stage of development than the human. In all ... More

Keywords: biological origin, cultural inheritance, Darwin, evolution, evolutionary theory, genes, memes, Anthony O’Hear, philosophy of science, rationality, self‐consciousness, sociobiology

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1999 Print ISBN-13: 9780198250043
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/0198250045.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Anthony O'Hear, author
University of Bradford
Author Webpage