The Human Condition
Existentialism is a term applied to the work of certain late 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. In existentialism, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience. Definitional issues and background There has never been general agreement on the definition of existentialism. The technological term is often seen as a historical convenience as it was first applied to many philosophers in hindsight, long after they had died.
Aesthetics (also spelled æsthetics) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature." More specific aesthetic theory, often with practical implications, relating to a particular branch of the arts is divided into areas of aesthetics such as art theory, literary theory, film theory and music theory.
Mathematical beauty Mathematical beauty describes the notion that some mathematicians may derive aesthetic pleasure from their work, and from mathematics in general. They express this pleasure by describing mathematics (or, at least, some aspect of mathematics) as beautiful. Sometimes mathematicians describe mathematics as an art form or, at a minimum, as a creative activity. Comparisons are often made with music and poetry. Bertrand Russell expressed his sense of mathematical beauty in these words:
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences is the title of an article published in 1960 by the physicist Eugene Wigner. In the paper, Wigner observed that the mathematical structure of a physical theory often points the way to further advances in that theory and even to empirical predictions. The miracle of mathematics in the natural sciences Wigner begins his paper with the belief, common to all those familiar with mathematics, that mathematical concepts have applicability far beyond the context in which they were originally developed. Based on his experience, he says "it is important to point out that the mathematical formulation of the physicist’s often crude experience leads in an uncanny number of cases to an amazingly accurate description of a large class of phenomena." He then invokes the fundamental law of gravitation as an example. The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences
Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century in response to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory and B.F. Skinner's Behaviorism. With its roots running from Socrates through the Renaissance, this approach emphasizes an individual's inherent drive towards self-actualization and creativity. It typically holds that people are inherently good. It adopts a holistic approach to human existence and pays special attention to such phenomena as creativity, free will, and human potential. It encourages viewing ourselves as a "whole person" greater than the sum of our parts and encourages self exploration rather than the study of behavior in other people.
Absurdism is very closely related to existentialism and nihilism and has its origins in the 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, who chose to confront the crisis humans faced with the Absurd by developing existentialist philosophy. Absurdism as a belief system was born of the European existentialist movement that ensued, specifically when the French Algerian philosopher and writer Albert Camus rejected certain aspects from that philosophical line of thought and published his essay The Myth of Sisyphus. The aftermath of World War II provided the social environment that stimulated absurdist views and allowed for their popular development, especially in the devastated country of France. Overview "... in spite of or in defiance of the whole of existence he wills to be himself with it, to take it along, almost defying his torment.
An interpretation of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.
Basic principles The notion of Logotherapy was created with the Greek word logos ("meaning"). Frankl’s concept is based on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. The following list of tenets represents basic principles of logotherapy:
Self-determination theory In the 1970s, research on SDT evolved from studies comparing the intrinsic and extrinsic motives, and from growing understanding of the dominant role intrinsic motivation played in an individual’s behavior but it was not until mid-1980s that SDT was formally introduced and accepted as a sound empirical theory. Research applying SDT to different areas in social psychology has increased considerably since the 2000s. Key studies that led to emergence of SDT included research on intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to initiating an activity for its own sake because it is interesting and satisfying in itself, as opposed to doing an activity to obtain an external goal (extrinsic motivation). Different types of motivations have been described based on the degree they have been internalized. Internalization refers to the active attempt to transform an extrinsic motive into personally endorsed values and thus assimilate behavioural regulations that were originally external.
I'm going to attempt to define a useful and rational moral system that can handle any moral question. Here goes! Nature of goodness: I believe that all statements about goodness (or about good things or actions) can be explained using three types of goods. Preferential: "Good" and "bad" are sometimes just shorthand for stating preferences or emotions (eg/ "a good movie"). Practical: Something is good if it is fit for a certain purpose (eg/ "a good hammer"). Moral: Something is morally good if it helps fulfill at least one basic human need for at least one person without impeding or reducing the fulfillment of any basic human need for any person. A Rational Moral System
Human evolution is the evolutionary process leading up to the appearance of modern humans. While it began with the last common ancestor of all life, the topic usually covers only the evolutionary history of primates, in particular the genus Homo, and the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of hominids (or "great apes"). The study of human evolution involves many scientific disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, ethology, linguistics, evolutionary psychology, embryology and genetics.
De Waal Traces Human Behavior to Apes Humans may have more in common with monkeys, chimpanzees and other non-human primates than they think, according to Frans de Waal, C.H. Candler professor of primate behavior. De Waal, whom TIME magazine designated as one of “100 People Who Shape Our World,” described the uncanny similarities between human and ape behavior in the inaugural lecture of the Life of the Mind lunchtime lecture series on Wednesday. De Waal’s lecture, “Our Inner Ape: What Primate Behavior Teaches Us About Human Behavior,” focused on shared behaviors such as social reciprocity, communication and cultural transmission, which the primatologist likened to certain politicians’ behaviors.
Evolution of Language: Chomsky & Dennett Jenny Cai Professor Grobstein March 14, 2011 Evolution of Language: Chomsky & Dennett Most conscious stories are told through the use of language and have been recorded in text and orally through time.
Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships. Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group.
Universal grammar Universal grammar (UG) is a theory in linguistics, usually credited to Noam Chomsky, proposing that the ability to learn grammar is hard-wired into the brain. The theory suggests that linguistic ability manifests itself without being taught (see the poverty of the stimulus argument), and that there are properties that all natural human languages share. It is a matter of observation and experimentation to determine precisely what abilities are innate and what properties are shared by all languages. Argument If human beings grow up under normal conditions (not conditions of extreme deprivation), then they will always develop a language with property X (for example, distinguishing nouns from verbs, or distinguishing function words from lexical words) and therefore property X is a property of universal grammar in this most general sense (here not capitalized). There are theoretical senses of the term Universal Grammar as well (here capitalized).