Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Welcome to Natural Right and Biology.

This blog will cover a wide range of themes involving the intersection of science (and especially the life sciences) and political thought.  Most of the posts will fall under such headings as biopolitics, sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, and the philosophy of biology generally.  

As the masthead states, I believe that the writings of Plato and Aristotle are compatible with modern Darwinian biology.  I would go further to say that they are increasing converging. This is a fine example of what E. O. Wilson called consilience.  I think that the Socratic philosophers were right about a lot of very important things.  I think that modern biology is much less reductionist than is generally assumed.  I am sure that looking at each from the point of view of the other will deepen and enrich our understanding of both.  I also think that this approach sheds a lot of light on many modern problems.  

I invite any and all comments that are relevant to the themes discussed here. 


  1. I'm excited about this blog since early political philosophy was my favorite subject of yours and the Morality class that you first taught when I was in college I loved and still go through some of those books (The Moral Animal, The Origins of Virtue, etc) from time to time.

    Looking forward to seeing more!

  2. Thanks, Travis. You will like this blog, I think.

  3. Are you sure this isn't all so arcane that it has little relevance in the real world?

    How will your information, etc. compare with

    Michael Sandel?

  4. Doug: no more concerned than I was about writing a blog that a few hundred people a day looked at.

    I think that science is important. The most arcane things, like the interior design of atoms, can have very big consequences. I happen to think that biology will dominate the sciences and have big consequences for human life in the next century. There is nothing arcane about that.

    I appreciate such courses as Michael Sandel's but I also know that they rest on a lot of options that have been painstakingly worked out by philosophers over long periods of time. Someone has to do the footwork.

  5. I agree with you on the importance of science and research. For an unfortunately large part of our population, science is arcane.

    I have no idea if you will touch on this, but it seems to me that genetic research indicating that some behavior we class as criminal has a heavy genetic component. Should that impact the "lock em up and throw away the key" attitudes?

    Predicting what is or is not important is difficult. I suspect not many were predicting the economic consequences of quantum theory in the early days.

    Whatever, Good Luck with the new blog. Discussing arcane science and philosophy difficult as it is is probably easier than defending the modern Republican Party mythology.

  6. I couldn't agree more with Travis... I'm excited about this blog too! Just reading the first few posts had me feeling like I was back in class again!

  7. Douglas: I will touch on a lot of things as this blog goes along. The question of the genetic causes of criminal behavior is certain to be one of them.

    As for defending "Republican mythology", I suspect that defending the Democratic party as it resolutely resists fiscal reality would have been a lot more difficult. I may post on SDP occasionally because I can't resist that.

    I will confess that I was not looking forward to defending President Romney as he failed to bring the national budget into order.

  8. Travis and Steve: thanks for the comments. If you really like this blog, you can do me a favor. Comment from time to time. Otherwise, I get lonely.