A Trans-Species Perspective on Nature

A trans-species perspective is an all-encompassing stance towards nature that embraces the continuity and comparability of all species’ lives. It shapes the way we view ourselves in relation to other animals and involves changing our current model of those relationships from one of separation and condescension to one of communalism and respect. Given the mass extinctions, global destruction of habitat, environmental degradation, and continued mass exploitation of other animals, nothing short of a shift in human psychological perspective is needed to turn things around.

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Morals without God?

I was born in Den Bosch, the city after which Hieronymus Bosch named himself.1 This obviously does not make me an expert on the Dutch painter, but having grown up with his statue on the market square, I have always been fond of his imagery, his symbolism, and how it relates to humanity’s place in

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Moral Camouflage or Moral Monkeys?

In “The Metaphysician’s Nightmare”, Bertrand Russell described a Hell in which there is a special torment for practitioners of each branch of scholarly inquiry. In the place in Hell reserved for statisticians, for example, a pack of monkeys walk aimlessly and endlessly on typewriters, each time creating a perfect rendition of a Shakespearean sonnet. Our

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Empathic Concern and Altruism in Humans

We humans spend a remarkable amount of time, money, and energy to benefit others, including family, friends, and strangers. Why do we do it? Do we ever care about others for their sakes and not simply for our own? Is our ultimate goal always and exclusively self-benefit, or are we capable of caring about another

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Does Evolution Explain Our Behaviour?

Does evolution explain our behaviour? The short answer is: No. And you may well concur with that answer but ‘out there’ there is an increasing constituency of thinkers claiming quite otherwise. Along with the claims that the brain explains the mind and activity in one bit of brain or another corresponds to love, joy, conscience,

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How Humans Became Such Other-Regarding Apes

I am an anthropologist and primate sociobiologist who seeks to understand, step by Darwinian step, how apes could have evolved to imagine and care about what the lives of others might be like. I believe that such questing for inter-subjective engagement laid the foundations for significant later developments such as language and cumulative culture. My

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