Link to a free download of Standards for Behavioral Commitments: Philosophy of Humanism. Topics covered include chemistry, biology, genetics, neuroscience, epistemology, the history of Western philosophy, cultural evolution, theory of cognition, ethics and much more.
The following is a brief outline:
The book is divided into four sections, less perfunctory and more forward-looking as it unfolds, though with many innovative surprises throughout. The first three sections are primarily meant to prepare the reader for the fourth, which is much larger and generally more original, by outlining theoretical fundamentals as a common fund of basic fact and concept, along with introducing universal vocabulary interchangeable between philosophies of the main academic departments.
Some of the models set forth are difficult to render clearly without diagrams, but a quick online search will compensate for the entirely verbal descriptions, and uncertainty about the meaning of terms can be resolved online as well, in addition to the likelihood that an incomplete elaboration in one spot is consummated somewhere else.
Subject matter is often addressed in an iterative way, with multiple discussions of the same material, but either in more detail, or from a variant perspective, or in support of a different thesis. Much of the content is not meant to be definitive, though there are indisputable facts and solid arguments, rather serving as a springboard for contemplation in numerous areas, proposing hybrid hypotheses that begin to integrate strands of knowledge without always tying the loose ends together. The book is tightly reasoned, logical in overall structure, intended to be as speculative as it is informative, and will hopefully stimulate the reader to productive thought on a host of topics at the leading edge of modern knowledge.
1. “Section 1: Behavioral Functions and Scientific Models”
Subsection i., Behavioral Functions, frames the intersection of life science and human values within the context of seven categories of biological process: reproduction, metabolism, attack and defense, perception of the environment, communication, development, and health. It is a brief introduction to main themes around which the book is organized.
Subsection ii., Scientific Models, provides succinct explanation of some empirical theory that much of the book’s reasoning draws from. It begins with quantification’s role in the evolution of science, touching upon major developments between the origin of civilization and our contemporary age. This is followed by a synopsis of physics, chemistry, cellular biology and genetics as applicable to subsequent chapters. It ends with a primer on the theory of evolution along with a narrative of evolutionary history from the origin of our universe and solar system to the origin of civilization, including some analysis of the ecosystemic mechanisms by which life arose and how researchers acquired experimental and naturalistic data the theory is based on.
2. “Section 2: The Perceptual Foundations of Cognition and Reason in the Psyche”
Subsection i., Basic Theory of Perception, defines some terms and explains the fundamentals of psychology and neuroscience.
Subsection ii., The Intersection of Qualia, Our First Person Experiences, with Theory and Cultural Development, is a narrative of human history with particular focus on some of the social issues surrounding qualitative perception. It begins with a delineation of the mind/body problem in philosophy, going on to describe the dynamics of population development, subcultural distribution and socioeconomic class, the origins of political systems, some of the challenges involved in the first attempts to integrate scientific theory into culture, the transition from art as a recreational niche to its status as a primary force within the modern world’s infocentric way of life, and the historical sequence of events that led to some especially prominent conflict between demographics in the 19th and 20th centuries. It does not propose solutions to the dilemmas presented as much as show how many of our presumptions about human nature are misguided or pernicious.
Subsection iii., First Person Experience: Universal Characteristics, proffers a philosophy of the intersection between qualitative experience and external reality, an interfacing which takes the form of various types of basic pattern.
3. “Section 3: An Introduction to Conception, Our Faculty of Reason”
Subsection i., Reasoning Instincts, discusses the foundations of reasoned thought in common intuition, as well as fallacies that arise as the prehistoric trait profile of reason operates within a civilized setting. It goes on to talk about the nature of belief formation and the impact of reasoning on prejudice, utilizing examples from science, economics, politics, education, and daily life.
Subsection ii., Applied Reason, gives an account of reason’s contextualization in historical and contemporary practices of theoretical analysis, along with crafting a terminology adequate for metatheorizing theory itself. Practical reasoned analysis is divided into two main types – intrastructurality, reasoning’s spatial component, and inferentiality, its chronological component – with the nature of each limned in detail by referencing some of their most influential incarnations within philosophy and science. Intrastructural reasoning is mostly covered in terms of modern theory, for it is in large part a derivation from post-17th century analytic geometry, while inferential reasoning, with its close ties to prehistoric language capacities, is approached from a more historical angle. The new field of quantum biology is presented as an example of the modern intersection between theory and experimental science, with this factual content a prelude to advanced hypothesis about the nature of perception later in the book. The subsection ends with an introduction to the evolution of anatomically modern, enculturated human thought, contrasted with alternate biological forms.
4. “Section 4: Instincts and Social Constructs”
Subsection i., The Historical Development Towards Empirical Objectivity, begins by discussing how antinomies can materialize in theoretical discourse, focusing in particular on the confrontation between determinism and nondeterminism, explained with reference to neuroscientific models of emotion. This sets the stage for some arguments much later in the book and segues to a narrative of philosophy’s history, the progression from analytical reasoning of early civilization to our contemporary culture of scientific objectivity and information technology, touching upon the main threads of continuity between antiquity, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Early Modern period, Enlightenment era, seminal 19th century historicity, and the rapidly modernizing and globalizing 20th and 21st centuries with their unprecedentedly technical theorizing.
Subsection ii., An Introductory Analysis of Behavior and Social Theory, outlines the basic biochemistry and physiology of cognition-driven behavior, then frames the issues to be treated of in subsequent chapters, an elucidating of humanity’s material, memetic and conceptual history in conjunction with seven categories of behavioral function.
Subsection iii., Healing, Nutrition, Combat, and Reproduction, gives an analysis of these four modules in their theoretical, cultural, political, economic and historical dimensions, elucidating physiology, evolution, the origins of civilization, the causes of modern institutions and social dynamics, the nature of the human psyche in comparison to other species, and more.
Subsection iv., A Closer Look at Representational Modeling, is an overview of the issues that present themselves as we deal with theoretical uncertainty, ensued by a model of scientific theorizing along with a narrative of how language and theory became inextricably bound during the evolution of analytical thought.
Subsection v., Advanced Theory of Perception, proposes a new theory of the intersection between reality and human perceiving. It initiates by covering the relevant essentials of current neuroscience along with some of the discipline’s unique issues, then elaborates the parameters of a theoretical framework for understanding the nature of apparent matter in terms of quantum effects. A detailed narrative exposits the progression from early European civilization’s mind/matter concepts to modern forms, along with their impact on culture, ranging from antiquity in ancient Greece to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, the 19th century Romantic period, and the highly technological 20th and 21st centuries. A narrative of perception’s origin and evolution in organic matter is formulated, together with a model of how the phenomenon of mind arises in the brain. The subsection ends with a hypothesis of how qualia and qualitative experience of all kinds, amounting to the essence of ineffability in awareness, may be an emergent property of quantum effects in matter, with potential to account for more phenomena than traditional models of neuromaterial dynamics which are based solely on the thermodynamic paradigm in chemistry.
Subsection vi., The Ethics of Cultural Change, starts by explaining the root of ethics in phenomena of distinctly human motivation, and then moves on to a narrative of how these motivational dynamics have gone awry to an extent in contemporary American culture, leading to a less moral society. The basic parameters of ethical reasoning are presented, proceeding to a narrative of the origin and development of civilized ethics, and then an argument is made for ethics’ universality as well as the essential compatibility of scientific theory with an ethical society. Examples are provided of how ethical behavior emerges organically in social settings as basic norms and then the broader, more persisting norms we call customs, followed by a narrative of Europe’s political modernity demonstrating the deep dilemmas involved in instituting ethical customs. An argument is made for how ethical progress via a philanthropic culture may be not only workable but indispensable to the long-term maintenance of contemporary civilization. In conclusion, examples of how corruption has taken shape in institutions are touched upon, with consideration of the social dynamics underlying these degenerations.
Subsection vii., Advanced Theory of Conception, is a comprehensive model of human intelligence’s evolution. It embarks with an explication of the episteme’s foundations in rationality, hybridizing psychology, phenomenology, anthropology, evidence from ancient Greek literature, and the quantum theory of perception fashioned by this book. It delves more deeply into prehuman cognition in particular, treating of the complications in deriving an all-encompassing theory of life’s comparative phenomenology, and then setting forth just such a theory to the extent which seems possible at our current stage of knowledge. Parameters in the evolution of communication and language are set out along with the way these factors converged to produce the uniquely linguistic properties of human thought. Insights into perception and conception so far enumerated are combined in a phenomenology of the anatomically modern human psyche, coupled to a narrative of humanity’s evolution from prehistoric lifestyles to civilization of the historical period. Some of the many complications characteristic of integrating rational knowledge into a civilized episteme are detailed, followed by a narrative of Western discourse’s evolution away from essentialist illusion and towards more versatile perspectivism.