Authors Archives: Joseph Carroll

A Darwinian Revolution in the Humanities

Abstract

Impressionistically delineating intellectual change from Darwin’s time to our own, I compare poststructuralism with traditional humanism and set both in contrast to an evolutionary perspective on human nature. I also offer psychological and ideological explanations for the cultural constructivist fallacies that shaped thought in the humanities and social sciences through much of the twentieth century.

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Guest Editor's Introduction to the Special Evolutionary Issue of Politics and Culture

Introduction to the Special Evolutionary Issue of Politics and Culture

I’m grateful to Michael Ryan for inviting me to serve as guest editor to this special evolutionary issue of Politics and Culture. Michael and I share an interest in integrating evolutionary research with literary and cultural theory. While discussing our shared interests, we have identified a number of important points on which we do not see quite eye to eye. So, Michael should not be held responsible for any of the ideas I express, though of course, he can be held responsible for giving me this opportunity to express them. Similar considerations apply to the relations between the guest editor and the contributors to this volume. We are all independent thinkers working in complex theoretical areas that have not yet been reduced to precise measurement. The chance that we would all agree on every main contention is vanishingly small. Even so, most or all of us would agree that humans have evolved in an adaptive relation to their environment and that as a result they share many species-typical dispositions that constrain their political and cultural behavior. Within that broad area of consensus, the essays here offer a good many divergent and sometimes conflicting ideas. Clearly, not all these ideas could be correct. Nonetheless, in my own judgment, all the essays are serious, well-informed, and thoughtful. They should richly reward the reader’s attention.

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