A significant amount of philosophy is clarified when viewed through the lens of Darwinian evolution.
It will take a few readings to see this connection, so you'll just need to trust me for now that learning
some biology will be useful.
The first readings in the subject are from Richard Dawkins. Begin by reading the the second section here,
then the first section here. Finally, read a short selection from Daniel Dennett.
Answer the following questions in 600 words.
1. Atoms bump into each other and randomly form molecules all the time. What was so special about the
formation of the "replicator" molecule?
2. In what ways can a replicator "compete" with other replicators?
3. Darwinians are often accused of favoring a dog-eat-dog society because of the inherently competitive
nature of evolution. This is called an appeal to nature. What is Dawkins' response to this?
4. How does Dawkins define a selfish behavior? An altruistic behavior?
5. Why does an animal behaving altruistically seem contradictory to Darwinian evolution?
6. According to Dennett, why does the currently fashionable theory of Intelligent Design beg the question?
Why doesn't Darwinian evolution beg the question?
7. What is Dennett's view of faith? Is this a legitimate criticism?