Reconstructing Human Nature: Tuesday 11th August 2009 at 6:00pm
Refreshments in the Woolley Common Room from 5:30pm. Lecture in the Woolley Theatre N395 Woolley Building. The Common Room is on the first floor of the Woolley Building. The Lecture Theatre is on the right hand side of the entrance lobby.
The idea of human nature is the locus of longstanding disputes about the relevance of the biological sciences to the humanities and social sciences. But the ideas of "human nature", "instinct", and "innateness" are not derived from the biological sciences. They originate in intuitive, pre-scientific thought about living things, sometimes known as "folkbiology". In this lecture Professor Griffiths will present a model of the folkbiological understanding of human nature, based on empirical research conducted with biologically naive subjects in Australia and North America. This folkbiological understanding of human nature is fundamentally inconsistent with current biology. This raises the pressing issue of what a biologically credible account of human nature would look like, and he will try to address this question.
A philosopher of science with a focus on biology and psychology, Paul was educated at Cambridge and the Australian National University. He taught at Otago University in New Zealand and was later Director of the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Sydney, before taking up a Professorship in Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He returned to Australia in 2004, first as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and then as University Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney
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