A Disclaimer: I am not spreading any social gospel of minimalism or primitivism; nor am I making any moral statement about the merit of culture with my blog's title. Tis a dramatic catch phrase which more or less represents a correct attitude, driven to fierce scrutiny of our own formative enculturation.I’m Kenneth. There are letters which occasionally precede me, but I find it a clumsy existence with them under foot. You may call me Ken or Lippy, unless you plan to disagree--.
In that case, I prefer my dissent with the honorific.
When I began my schooling I did so at a liberal arts focused institution, fancying for myself a future writer/adventurer of sorts in the tradition of Hemingway. I dove upon and fiercely devoured the Classics, poring over Thales and Euclid with the same literary thrill. I did not realize at that time how very precisely I was briefing myself on a plan of attack, not seeing until years later that an academic alignment with the “hard sciences” was in fact the best for my chosen trajectory toward a contribution to human knowledge.
My observations of social systems as well as the behavior of individual animals has led to a politically unfortunate affiliation with sociobiology, in which I simply insist on ignoring disciplinary partitions.
Many academics most certainly practice an ethic of personal isolationism in collegial relations. I myself do not apologize for any reduction of biology or culture to their smallest useful component in order to understand how the dynamic pressures between all of those components gives rise to the prevalence of some phenotypic traits over others .
Let's be very clear that the occasional ten dollar word is not merely vanity. Such discourse between mutually respectful parties is a categorically philosophical exercise not long after the first step away from straight-edged naturalistic empiricism. For my part, if I haven't heard any numbers after a sentence or two, it seems prudent to back away from the specific cases or trends of a study, even perhaps back out of your own field and assess the topography. Do not mistake my choice to distinguish between philosophy and science as a qualitative indictment of either.
On the other laurel, it is this very discourse - engagement of our inferences, apprehensions, and dead-end reasoning which is for the academic an opiate both palliative and therapeutic—that serves as conduit for science's impact on culture at large. If academics are truly concerned about the fidelity of the scientific information which reaches the general public, then it is high time to become personally involved in its dissemination.
For the biologist and philosopher of biology alike the real goal is the development of a language for clearly describing the relative influence of selective pressures on life’s formation. While of course a attempt to explain the phalanx of variables necessary for a population algorithm to approach predictive accuracy would be a hopeless effort, and quite useless, in any case, for those with no need or desire to begin applying them in their livelihood. What is needed is a vernacular, and the University has so often acted with disingenuous snobbery in adhering to the canonical vulgate with an air of Episcopal paternalism.
I am not suggesting a comprehensive revision of disciplinary nomenclature. Rather, I merely wish to propose that scientists and scholars are in fact quite accustomed to the practice of acting as interpreter for their own conclusions between fields. Campuses are scholastically segregated not because of an ontological difference among specialties but in the poor translation of heuristic discrepancies.
These distinctions are necessary, even between sub-fields (organic versus inorganic chemistry, for example). Naturally we should continue to employ the atomism which for any particular field's context of relevant information effectively divides phenomena--and while manipulating data fora graduated travel between lecture and hall and lab, we might consider and pause in the public interest of science, and take own stab well-intentioned populism.
Irrespective of any academic heuristic for predictive modeling, it is observationally evident that sociality is far too complex to settle on the meme, gene, molecule, quanta, domain, module, or other as a cultural Planck's unit for our descriptive language allows us to keep from abandoning all to solipsistic "so says you ," cognitive biases."
As for consciousness, transcendence, and the limitations oof inter-subjectivity, I've never seen with my eyes nor heard any very complete description of this "self."
I see no reason to be overly agitated about the issue of its existence,
Thank you for reading this first post. Please look for my meta-review article of a recent exchange over the evolutionary function of epigenetic factors.
Ken the Cognitive Ethologist (and aspiring King of the Forest)