The Philosophy of Global Warming

If you are interested in the relationship between the human species and the rest of life on Earth, individual and collective human purpose, evolution, cosmology, the nature of reality, astrology, spirituality, and how all of this relates to global warming & the environmental crisis of modernity, then I am sure that you will like my new book 'The Philosophy of Global Warming'. In the post below I have provided the book description, the list of contents and the first two sections of the book. You can find out how to get hold of the book by clicking on this link:

The Philosophy of Global Warming

Monday, 30 January 2012

An EP Excerpt. Chapter 7: Human specialness and uniqueness

Here are two excerpts from:

"The purpose of this chapter is two-fold. Firstly, following our consideration in Chapter One of humans doubting their naturalness, I seek to consider in greater depth why this is so. I claim that the answer lies in the realm of advanced tool use because this generates a ‘sense of specialness’. This consideration is to be found in Section 7.1 – A sense of specialness. Secondly, I seek to consider all of the attributes which, it seems to me, could plausibly be believed to create a chasm between a human and all of their non-human surroundings. One can fruitfully think of this consideration as occurring within the ‘static view’ – take a human, take a non-human part of the universe, compare them: Does the human have a chasm-creating attribute? This is the subject of Section 7.2 – Do humans have a unique attribute?"

"So far we have considered a number of attributes which are widely believed to create a chasm between humans and the vast majority (or all) of their surroundings. For example, human surroundings are ‘natural’ whilst humans are not natural, human surroundings are nonminded whilst humans have minds, and human surroundings are wholly devoid of ‘what-it-is-likeness’ whilst humans have ‘what-it-is-likeness’. Furthermore, I have also sought to understand why this situation obtains. Imagine that one was told that there was a universe which was created in a Big Bang and that it had been very gradually evolving slightly different arrangements and patterns ever since, and that nothing new had been added to this universe, that that which exists now is that which had always existed. On hearing this story the most plausible thing to believe would be that there were no chasms in this universe – all parts of the universe would be qualitatively similar throughout. However, this is clearly not what one typically believes when one is a human situated within such a universe. I have explored why this might be so by exploring the way in which the human perceptual apparatus has evolved to perceive its surroundings in a particular way, and concluded that this constrained way in which perceptions arise is a central factor underpinning the creation of world views which have chasms at their core."


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

An Evolutionary Perspective

I am happy to let you know that a few days ago my latest book became available on amazon:

The amazon book page can be found by clicking on the above link.

Here is the amazon info:

What is the relationship between humans and their surroundings? In order to understand the nature of this relationship we need to take the evolutionary perspective; we need to see the universe as an evolving entity which for billions of years has been very gradually been bringing forth new arrangements, and we need to appreciate that humans are some of these arrangements. The author claims that we live in an epoch in which a violent clash exists. The interactions between humans and their surroundings typically lead to the belief that humans are radically different from their surroundings. Yet, human knowledge has advanced to the point which has revealed the evolutionary perspective. The belief that humans are radically different from their surroundings violently clashes with the belief that the entire universe is an evolving entity which very gradually brings forth new arrangements. The author explores three interrelated aspects of the relationship between humans and their surroundings. Firstly, he seeks to understand why the violent clash exists: Why do contemporary humans typically consider themselves to be radically different from their surroundings? This exploration entails a consideration of how the human perceptual apparatus works, why human perceptions are inevitably constrained, and how conceptions of their surroundings are formed within humans. Secondly, he considers the likelihood that humans could actually be very similar to their surroundings; this entails an exploration of various phenomena such as mind, consciousness, naturalness, awareness, the senses, perception and 'what-it-is-likeness'. Thirdly, he considers whether the human species has a special place in the evolutionary process.

This book takes the reader on quite a journey, covering issues such as the limits of our knowledge concerning evolution, the problem of consciousness, directionality in evolution, the location of pain, the purpose of life, how many senses a typical human has, the nature of perception, environmental science, the phantom limb phenomenon, the cosmic significance of technology, planetary astrobiology, the philosophy of biology, human uniqueness, the question of what it means to be human, the nature of the universe, the question of what a mind is, panwhat-it-is-likeness, global warming, the nature of awareness, and the need for planetary geoengineering.

Here are my comments from the start of the book:

In this book I seek to give a deeper elucidation of certain aspects of the view which I initially outlined in Is the Human Species Special?: Why human-induced global warming could be in the interests of life. There are numerous aspects and dimensions to this view. I hope that the material in this book will convince some people of the merit of the view; however, there is still much more to be said.
Some of the material in this book has been published elsewhere; for example, the material in Chapter One is a modified version of one of the appendices in Is the Human Species Special? By updating this existing material and bringing it together with new material I am able to present many diverse, but interconnected, aspects of the relationship between humans and their evolving surroundings.