Friday, 28 Aug 2015 6:30 PM
IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A CROSS POST FROM GREATER RIVERSIDE SKEPTICS FORUM. DO NOT RSVP HERE. GO TO THE SKEPTICS FORUM MEETUP TO RSVP. These speakers are on TED Talks that we watch together and discuss afterwards. The speakers are not live.
“A Darwinian theory of beauty” Denis Dutton was a philosophy professor and the editor of Arts & Letters Daily. In his book The Art Instinct, he suggested that humans are hard-wired to seek beauty.
Why do humans take pleasure in making art? In his 2009 book The Art Instinct, philosopher Denis Dutton suggested that art is a need built into our systems, a complex and subtle evolutionary adaptation comparable to our facility for language. We humans evolved to love art because it helps us survive; for example, a well-expressed appreciation of art can — even in modern times — help us to find a mate. It’s a bold argument to make, bolstered by examples from the breadth of art history that Dutton kept at his fingertips.
Dutton taught philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and was the editor of Arts & Letters Daily, a three-column compendium of culture news from all over the web. (His own homepage is another storehouse of tidbits from his wide-ranging explorations in philosophy and culture.) He was on the advisory board of Cybereditions, a publisher specializing in ebooks and print-on-demand editions of nonfiction works. And he was an editor of Climate Debate Daily, a lively blog that takes a skeptical view of some climate-change arguments.
Dutton died from cancer in December 2010.
“The evolution of compassion” Robert Wright uses evolutionary biology and game theory to explain why we appreciate the Golden Rule (“Do unto others…”), why we sometimes ignore it and why there’s hope that, in the near future, we might all have the compassion to follow it.
The best-selling author of “Nonzero,” “The Moral Animal” and “The Evolution of God,” Robert Wright draws on his wide-ranging knowledge of science, religion, psychology, history and politics to figure out what makes humanity tick — and what makes us moral.
Author Robert Wright thinks the crises the human species now faces are moral in nature, and that our salvation lies in the intelligent pursuit of self-interest. In his book Nonzero, Wright argues that life depends on a non-zero-sum dynamic. While a zero-sum game depends on a winner and loser, all parties in a non-zero-sum game win or lose together, so players will more likely survive if they cooperate. This points to an optimistic future of ultimate cooperation among humans — if we recognize the game.
Well-respected for his erudition and original thinking (Bill Clinton hailed him as a genius), Wright draws from multiple disciplines — including science, religion, history and politics — in his search for big-picture perspectives on today’s problems, particularly terrorism, while offering guarded hope for where we might be headed. A Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, Wright also hosts an interview series with celebrated thinkers atMeaningoflifetv.com.
Wright’s newest book, The Evolution of God, explores the history of the idea of God in the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A CROSS POST FROM GREATER RIVERSIDE SKEPTICS FORUM. DO NOT RSVP HERE. GO TO THE SKEPTICS FORUM MEETUP TO RSVP.