International Society for Philosophers

International Society for Philosophers

Wisdom begins with wonder

PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS                   ISSN 2043-0728


Issue number 176 16th November 2012


I. 'Nietzsche: The Politics of Physiology' by Martin Jenkins

II. 'Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea: Fishing, Life and Work' by Pedro Blas Gonzalez

III. Responses to Philosophy Pathways Issue 175 by Anthony Flood and Max Wilkinson



More by chance than by design, this issue of Philosophy Pathways is entirely in-house, with articles by ISFP Board member Professor Pedro Blas Gonzalez and Pathways mentor Martin Jenkins, together with responses to the articles by Kilivris and Uhall in issue 175 by Pathways mentor Tony Flood, who will be joining the Board of the ISFP, and Max Wilkinson, currently studying for the University of London BA in Philosophy via Pathways.

Martin Jenkins looks at Nietzsche's notorious charge against socialist/ anarchist analysis and critique of inequalities in society that they are merely physiological symptoms, evidence of an unhealthy psychology brought about by ingrained ressentiment resulting in fatally conflicting 'drives'. Against my better socialist inclinations, I found his exposition of Nietzsche rather persuasive, which leads me to wonder whether, ultimately, Marxist thinking might benefit from synthesis with Nietzsche's later ideas about the kind of human beings that we ought to strive to be.

The Nietzschean ideal of nobility is beautifully expressed in the study by Professor Gonzalez of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man And The Sea. If anyone thought that being 'noble' meant being a member of the ruling class or elite, then this moving testimony to the integrity of the individual in the daily struggle for physical and moral survival would swiftly disabuse them of any such notion. The paper was originally given as a public lecture.

In his robust response to Kilivris, Tony Flood points to several unexamined assumptions, chief amongst which seems to be that the humanist supplanting of the earlier, theistic view of human beings and their place in nature is seen uncritically as an 'achievement'. He also points out that, given the historical circumstances, there were rather obvious reasons why Heidegger and Adorno did not enter into 'dialogue'.

Max Wilkinson offers a knowledgeable analysis of Uhall's claims, arguing that we ought not to be distracted by the admitted logical difficulties of defining the identity and individuation conditions for genes in accepting their powerful explanatory role. We don't yet undertand all the details of how exactly genes are selected, or how they are able to 'build' a hen or a human being. This is a matter for on-going research. We can also accept that there are other influences at work without casting doubt on the gene theory.

Geoffrey Klempner



Unlike the modern ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Karl Marx where social structures and dynamics of a society are cited as creating social problems, unrest and protest, Nietzsche appears to locate the cause in the physiology of people or strata of peoples themselves. Thus he dismisses those who blame society for their ills as not knowing the real reasons as to why they suffer.[1] Consequently, Daniel Ahern calls Nietzsche a 'cultural physician' as he analyses cultures, values their values and diagnoses accordingly.[2] As known, Nietzsche analysed Western Culture as forged both by Christianity and in the Nineteenth century, by the then emerging 'Modern Ideas' of equal rights, democracy, socialism. Whilst Nietzsche is violently critical of both I will briefly analyse why, arguing that Nietzsche's conclusions are based on false premises and are therefore wrong.

Slaves, Priests & Socrates

In On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche paints an originary social picture of physiologically healthy noble warrior aristocrats and sick slave masses.[3] The aristocrats health entailed proactive, physical activity (war, adventure, hunting, dancing) and their values, perspectives of life were correspondingly affirmative. The slaves were unhappy -- not because of their situation as slaves but because of their weariness, exhaustion and the sickness that follows from this. The sickness leads them to hate their existence, hate their lives, and devalue the earth. Enabling an escape from weariness and exhaustion, the slaves vent ressentiment against the noble aristocrats blaming them for their sickness and suffering. At the same time, there has been a split away from the noble aristocrats by the Priestly caste. Once brothers in arms with the warrior aristocrats, practices Nietzsche terms the Ascetic Ideal, are adopted by the Priests to demonstrate their singular piety. Practices such as fasting, sexual abstinence, flights into the nothingness of self-hypnosis, over-refinement, diet, are not only means of piety they are also signs of something unhealthy.[4] The Priests view their suffering as evidence that are too good for this existence and long for another one, hating this earthly one and like the slaves, they blame the reigning lords of the earth for their sickness. Due to their weakened condition, they cannot physically defeat the warrior aristocrats.

Consequently, insofar as they are weak there grows a proportionally inverse hatred against the Aristocrats. Whilst such vehement ressentiment cannot be actualised in physical deeds, it is done with words and beliefs. A whole new anti-worldly metaphysical, religious perspective develops which surreptitiously undermines the aristocrats. The ressentiment of the Priest unites with the ressentiment of the slaves and he becomes their shepherd. As their shepherd, two things occur. Firstly, the revolt is completed when the values of the aristocrats are revalued by the Priest/ Slaves in what Nietzsche terms 'the slave revolt in morality'. The aristocrats values of 'Good' and 'Bad' are inverted by the hegemony of Priests/ Slaves into their values of 'Good' and 'Evil'.[5] The slave revolt in morality triumphs and the direction of culture is changed.

Secondly, at the same time, the ressentiment of the slaves towards their ex-masters is now, at the direction of the Priest, turned against themselves. No longer are the devalued aristocrats to blame for the suffering of the slaves, it is they themselves who are to blame -- for they have sinned. Their suffering is a result of sin. Atoning practices, rituals and perspectives of the priest's Ascetic Ideal are inscribed into the masses. Cultural values are now reactive, life and the earth are devalued, shackled by rancourous practices, perspectives in favour of the reality of another, worldly existence.[6]


Similar themes emerge with Nietzsche's treatment of Socrates -- who is invariably taken to be the father of Western Philosophy. Instead of eulogising him, Nietzsche also finds him, like the slaves and Priest, exhausted and weary of life. Socrates' cure for his condition is: 'superfetation of the logical'[7] Indeed this, along with his use of dialectics in bamboozling Greek aristocrats is symptomatic of ressentiment, of seeking revenge against them.[8] Although suffering from the same problem as his fellow Greeks, Socrates offered a cure:

     the old Athens was coming to an end -- and Socrates
     understood that all the World had need of him -- his
     expedient, his cure, his personal art of self preservation
     ...everywhere the instincts were in anarchy; everywhere
     people were but five steps from excess: the monstrum in
was the universal danger. 'The instincts want to play
     the tyrant, we must devise a counter-tyrant who is

The instincts were in anarchy -- more of this below -- and Socrates had a cure; not the Ascetic Ideal of the Priests but the tyrant of reason. Greeks became fanatic about being absurdly rational thereby suppressing every other instinct. Logic, Reason and Thought were hypostasised over the body, its drives and the earth.

Arguably, Jewish Theology synthesised with post-Socratic Greek Philosophy. It's values and perspectives subsequently dominated Western civilisation for the next two thousand years. In the nineteenth century, its values and perspectives emerge in 'modern ideas'.

Modern Ideas

Nietzsche proclaimed that God died in the later Nineteenth century. Christianity paved the way for the 'modern ideas' of democracy, socialism and its extremes of anarchism. As all were equal before God there being no privileged exceptions, the ressentiment that fuelled equality continues under secular guises.

     The 'equality of souls before God', this falseness, this
     pretext for the rancour of everything low-minded, this
     explosive concept which becomes revolution, a modern idea
     and the principle of the decline of the whole social order
     -- is Christian dynamite.[10]

Although Christian in origin, equality is one of the key themes proffered by modern ideas. For 'the democratic movement is the heir to Christianity'.[11] Like the slaves before them, Anarchists and by implication, socialists and democrats, are dismissed as a declining strata who, when they demand rights, justice, equal rights are seeking revenge for their suffering.[12] Whereas the Christian denigrates this world, seeking revenge in the judgement of the next world, the socialist worker denigrates society and seeks revenge in triumphant revolution. Both are decadents united in their need to appropriate blame for their suffering.

Why do they suffer? Why do the slaves, Socrates and the advocates of modern ideas suffer according to Nietzsche? He declares them degenerates, decadents: less than what a human being ought to be. Why are they decadents? Because of their physiological sickness. This sickness is attributable to a internal anarchy of the drives where each drive -- as a manifestation of will to power -- is combating every other drive. Allowing each pathological drive to express itself expends energy. The person becomes unfocussed and the expenditure of power vented now this way and now that, depletes their vitality. They become weary, exhausted, depressed and sick.[13] Hence they seek respite from their sickness, this is found with the active distraction of ressentiment -- 'I am suffering, someone else is to blame'. This conclusion employs a causality that concludes their suffering as an effect of someone else's actions. Nietzsche challenges such erroneous thinking when he states that an effect is not attributable to an efficient cause, it a matter of physiological immanence. That for example, some one is healthy is not an effect of diet, it is attributable to their physiology.[14] So in seeking to blame an external cause such as the prevailing social order, the advocates of 'modern ideas' are missing the real physiological source of their suffering -- themselves. The cultural physician alone has discovered the real, physiological basis of specific cultural valuations underneath Christianity and Modern Ideas.

And what of the values borne of this depleted life -- vitality of the suffering and sick? Principally, these are equality and pity. The 'herd' recognises neither god nor master: they suffer, the privileged are to blame for this and will be subject to the ressentiment fuelled, revenging, levelling blade of equality. Nietzsche opposes equality as it is contrary to the essential nature of life -- which is will to power. Healthy expressions of will to power as the very dynamic of life will naturally entail inequality between people. There will be differences between 'man and man, caste and caste' imbuing a pathos of distance, an order of rank, commensurate with the will to power that one is. Flowing from the top will be the new philosopher/ creators. In other words, a pyramid-like hierarchy is synonymous with a healthy society.[15] In negating this, equality negates health and affirmative life.[16]

Modern Ideas of Justice are also based on Pity but a pathological pity expressive of weakness and sickness. It wants to abolish all suffering -- which is contrary to the nature of life.

     We think that harshness, slavery, violence, danger in the
     streets and in the heart, concealment, stoicism, the art of
     experiment and devilry of every sort; that everything evil,
     tyrannical, predatory and snakelike in humanity serves just
     as well as its opposite to enhance the species

Struggle, hardship, problems, enhance humanity just as well as it's opposite of happiness, peace and ease. Modern Ideas eschew the former for the latter. Pity further makes the already suffering worse. Pity is the opposite of 'the tonic affects that heighten the energy of vital feelings'.[18] It is a contagious depressive which makes the sickness worse and the hatred of earthly life worse. Further, Nietzsche condemns Christian Pity as keeping alive all that would otherwise have perished.[19]

Challenges by which humanity grows, develops and enhances itself, will be avoided as they involve suffering and this has been abolished by pity.[20] Equality will prevent differences -- principally those of strong, daring, creative individuals from developing. All that will remain, according to Nietzsche, is a timid, uniform herd animal, the ideal of modern ideas which regards itself as the justification and culmination of history. This type of life does not want to grow, it wants a quiet, green pasture happiness. All this has developed from decadence, now universalised and valorised as the norm, as good.

So we find that according to 'the cultural physician' Nietzsche, the growing demands for universal suffrage, the development of a labour movement, the protests of socialist and anarchist politics found in many European countries were a response not to 19th century capitalist, industrial development and the corresponding conditions they created; they are valuations, perspectives borne of a ressentiment from the labouring masses and their weariness, exhaustion, their suffering with life. Their suffering, symptomatic of real, physiological causes of disaggregated drives.

Wrong Diagnosis?

I will examine Nietzsche's diagnosis for the problem of 'Modern Ideas' another time. Here I would like to ask, Is his contention that modern decadent humanity and not social structures are the cause of social unrest, protest convincing? Firstly, I think Nietzsche's opposition to Socialism predates any physiological explanation for it. From at least Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche evidences his disdain of Socialism.[21] His physiological justifications can be seen as pretexts for already established opposition.

Secondly, even discounting the point made above, the veracity of the physiological explanation relies on dubious biological premises. According to Gregory Moore, Nietzsche was familiar with Darwinian and pre-Darwinian theories of evolution.[22] In particular, that of Carl Nageli. Nageli held that evolution moves towards perfection, this understood as a greater degree of organisational complexity and division of labour. Hence the more complex and ordered the interior drives of an individual/ species, the higher they are.[23] As with the masses, the physiological inner anarchy of their drives makes them lesser in this evolutionary sense; the motivation of greater complexity being Will to Power. The influence of these views on Nietzsche's accounts of modern ideas and Christianity is clear. I would maintain, it is also wrong. It rests on teleology, and evolution, arguably, does not.

In sum, the premises on which Nietzsche's conclusion rest concerning Modern Ideas etc. are unsound. Rather, to paraphrase Nietzsche, they reveal the prejudices of the philosopher. When, as today, peoples throughout Europe and beyond are protesting at their socio-economic circumstances, it is not because they are malcontents due to an intrinsic physiological sickness caused by chaotic drives; it is due to public, external socio-economic conditions themselves. Nietzsche's prejudices blind him to this.


1. #34. Skirmishes of an Untimely Man. Friedrich Nietzsche. Twilight of the Idols. Cambridge University Press 2005. #44. Friedrich Nietzsche. Beyond Good & Evil. Cambridge University Press 2002.

2. Chapters 1 & 2. Daniel A. Ahern. Nietzsche as Cultural Physician. Pennsylvania State University Press. 1995.

3. First Treatise: 'Good & Bad', 'Good & Evil'. Friedrich Nietzsche. On the Genealogy of Morality. Hackett. 1998.

4. I perceive ambiguity concerning the issue of the sickness that Nietzsche claims the slave masses and the Priests suffer from. Some places in his text, he writes that adopted practices inculcate the sickness; in others the sickness is innate due to the inner turmoil of the drives. Obviously if adoptive and social practices incur sickness then this is contrary to Nietzsche's thesis and social factors are to blame for the ills of the many. [For example see GM1 #6 cf gm GM3 #11]

5. #7 Genealogy of Morality op. cit.

6. #17, 18. Third Treatise. On the Genealogy of Morality

7. #4. The Problem of Socrates. Twilight of the Idols.

8. #6, 7. ibid.

9. #8. Ibid.

10. #62. Friedrich Nietzsche. The Anti-Christ. Cambridge University Press 2005.

11. #203. Beyond Good & Evil. op. cit.

12. #34. Skirmishes of an Untimely Man. Twilight of the Idols.

13. #6. What the Germans Lack. #1,2,4,6,7,9. The Problem of Socrates #37 Skirmishes of an Untimely Man. Twilight of the Idols. #13,14,15,16,17. Third Treatise. Genealogy of Morality. P. 21. et alibi. Ahern. op cite above.

14. #1,2. Four Great Errors. Twilight of the Idols.

15. See my essay Nietzsche and Will to Power. https:---

16. #37, 48 Skirmishes of an Untimely Man. Twilight of the Idols. #258. Beyond Good & Evil. #125. Friedrich Nietzsche. The Will to Power. It is clear that Nietzsche conflates equality with being identical.

17. #44. Beyond Good & Evil.

18. #7. The Anti-Christian.

19. #62. Beyond Good & Evil. Compare this with BGE #225 where Nietzsche counterposes pity for the Creator with pity for the Creature. The former being a 'tough love' approach as opposed to the latter Christian/Modern Ideas concept of pity.

20. #44 Beyond Good & Evil.

21. See #98, 446, 451, 452, 473 480. Friedrich Nietzsche. Human, All Too Human. Cambridge University Press 2000.

22. Gregory Moore. Nietzsche, Biology, Metaphor. Cambridge University Press 2002.

23. P.29 ibid.

(c) Martin Jenkins 2011




  Besides, he thought, everything kills everything else in some way.
  Fishing kills me exactly as it keeps me alive.

  -- The Old Man and the Sea

Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is an uncommon mid twentieth-century literary masterpiece. This is a novel where the hero is a working man of deep emotion who is content with his lot in life. The Old Man and the Sea is a deceptively simple novel that employs a straightforward and uncomplicated narrative. This short work develops about half a dozen timeless themes that are worthy of comparison with classical epic texts.

Given Hemingway's use of lyrically poetic imagery and his description of the passage of time in one man's life, it is not difficult to view this inspired work as an epic tale. Yet The Old Man and the Sea is epic in vital stature and the spice-of-life manner in which the author describes Santiago's struggle to avoid becoming objectified by human reality, and not due to its modest length. The Old and the Sea is a novel marked by detail and nuance. Hemingway wastes no time telling the reader about the protagonist and his circumstances.

Consider that Santiago, the protagonist, is an old man. Let us also take into account that this individual makes his living, an honest and dignified subsistence, from deep sea fishing. It is also fruitful to realize that every time that Santiago goes out fishing, he is in fact going out for a day's work. Santiago prefers to fish alone. Fish or no fish, success or, as is more often the case, mounting failure, the solitary fisherman embraces work as a form of temporal salvation. Santiago couples the necessity for work with pride and a profound sense for the sublime. Idleness can be the devil's work, as the saying goes. Because he has gone eighty-four days without catching a fish, Santiago has had to modify his expectations and come to embrace human contingencies that he cannot control. Of course, one would be remiss to imagine that a man his age, one who has made his living from the toil of his own hands for so long, would be shocked by the flagrant realization that human life is not a bed of daisies. Santiago knows that life is difficult. This is partly why he shows such respect for the marlin, his adversary. Every form of work has its own demands, whether this has to do with materials, degree of difficulty or the need to respond to unforeseen circumstances. Fishing for a living presents Santiago with its own form of resistance. In fact, throughout the novel Santiago's existential struggle vindicates his aforementioned wisdom. He does not succumb to the marlin, the sea or the sharks that attack his skiff because he is a man of deep convictions. That is precisely the point of The Old Man and the Sea. Once, while talking to a small bird that settled on his skiff, Santiago tells the bird to get a good rest. Then he tells the bird to go and take his chances like any other man, fish or bird.

Santiago's struggle with the sea -- and the marlin -- cannot be separated from his condition as an individual. His daily toil at sea has physically marked him as a man. He is a master fisherman who possesses the required technique to bring in grand fish. There can be no doubt of his ability and know-how as a fisherman. Hemingway was himself a champion angler. But we ought not to focus too much attention on the technical aspect of catching large fish in the novel. That would be simplistic. Instead, The Old Man and the Sea is about how a man embraces some of the problems inherent in the human condition. Most importantly, we should also avoid the reductionist, theoretical and over-intellectualizing agenda of demythologizers. Men like Santiago have always earned their keep by beating tremendous odds, for as long as man has existed. Santiago is a vivid reminder of this. Hence, it seems comical for some intellectual critics to debunk Hemingway's attitude toward life and the credibility of his characters as being less than real.

Santiago's love of the marlin that he catches demonstrates the great bond that exists between him and the fish that has dragged him dangerously close to the current of the Gulf Stream. In a passage that can easily be construed as Hemingway's rebuttal to his academic critics, the marlin is viewed as noble given its ability to put up a great fight. Hemingway balked at people who failed to give life a good fight. About the marlin, Santiago says, 'But, thank God, they are not as intelligent as we who kill them; although they are more noble and more able.'[1] Sometime later, because of the valiant struggle that the marlin puts up, Santiago comes to view the fish as being much too noble for most people to eat.

Fishing may be Santiago's form of subsistence, but this is hardly an easy living, a quiet day out in the sun. Hemingway refers to Santiago as someone who is 'salao.'[2] In Cuban Spanish, this word depicts a profound sense of bad luck, an unbecoming destiny. Salao suggests bewitched determinism. More so, salao also symbolizes a form of fatalism that paralyzes a person's capacity for action. This is not the case for Santiago, however. The protagonist confronts the many difficulties and dangers that fishing alone poses for him headlong. He fishes in a small skiff that he rows perilously close to the Gulf Stream. Santiago is a rugged individualist. We can liken him to a rancher who must mend fences and do battle with coyotes on a daily basis. Fishing, Santiago shows us, requires perseverance and imagination. His meals consist of a bottle of water and some raw fish, preferably tuna. The sail of his skiff is made from sacks of flour, which the narrator describes as a flag denoting permanent defeat.

It is a critical aspect of the story that Santiago does not think that he is salao, though. It is the narrator that makes this observation. In fact, it is the parents of his fishing mate, Manolin, who refer to Santiago as being unlucky to such a fatalistic degree. The boys' parents order him to go fishing with other fisherman, on luckier boats. One aspect of being salao that the boys' parents understand is that being destined to have such bad luck can also turn fatal.[3] They are trying to protect the boy. This is understandable. The boy recognizes that his father does not have much faith in Santiago. Santiago first took the boy fishing when he was five years old. The boy has learned much from him and loves the old man for teaching him. The boy is sad to see the old man come in empty handed after a long day out at sea. Santiago's friendship with the boy is important because the boy allows Santiago's wisdom to be communicated.

The boy is the beneficiary of a great lesson. Besides teaching the boy about reaching old age with dignity, Santiago also imparts a great respect for work on the young boy's work ethic. The boy loves Santiago not only because he has taught him how to fish, but also because he has helped the boy become useful and to have a purposeful life. Manolin repays him handsomely with genuine and lasting fidelity, the likes of which children excel at, and which radical ideologues find suspicious and are quick to rebuke. Manolin genuinely cares for Santiago.

Santiago is a practical man. He mentions this at the height of his struggle with the marlin. Like any truly self-respecting outdoorsmen, Santiago also teaches Manolin to respect the sea and its bounty. Santiago demonstrates profound respect -- even love -- for the marlin that he wants so desperately to catch. He considers the mammoth fish his friend.

Santiago struggles with the sea in the same manner that the Spanish philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset, argues that everyone must do battle with their respective existential circumstance. Santiago's circumstances include his age, the size of his skiff and his willingness to fish by himself. This set of circumstances is part of Santiago's responsibility to the degree that he is willing to accept them. This is a form of tacit consent that the old man welcomes: 'His hope and his confidence had never gone. But now they were freshening as when the breeze rises.'[4] This, of course, makes Santiago a free man, existentially speaking. The narrator continues: 'The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck.'[5] The old man, the reader is informed, also had deep-creased scars on his hands, cuts made by the fishing line. Santiago is the sole witness to the difficulty he encounters while fishing alone. When he gets a strong cramp -- a calambre -- in one of his hands, he utters: 'But a cramp humiliates oneself especially when one is alone.'[6] This signals the interior reflection and monologue of a solitary sojourner.

The sea has served as the backdrop of countless literary and artistic sagas that showcase man's battle with the human condition. The sea has served as the arena for man's battle between his intrinsic worth as an existentially autonomous entity and the demands made on us by chance and destiny. We encounter this theme in Odysseus' encounter with the six-headed Scylla and the whirlpool, Charybdis; Melville's mythic white sperm whale in Moby Dick and the hubris of Captain Ahab; Samuel Taylor Coleridge's depiction of the cross that everyone must carry in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and in William Carlos William's poem 'Seafarer.' Pictorially, the sea has perhaps never seemed so awe inspiring, freighting and yet sublime as in J.M.W. Turner's Fishermen at Sea and Winslow Homer's The Gulf Stream.

Most of The Old Man and the Sea is a soliloquy. What else can one's man's fishing adventure be? Santiago's sense of self is communicated to the reader mostly through his actions. Of course, the inherent trouble 'with show me, don't tell me' philosophy, in literature or life, is that in order to convey one's virtues to another, both parties must possesses the same values. Otherwise, one might as well bark at the moon. This is a classic problem that simply will not go away. For instance, the narrator tells us as much about Santiago: 'He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no less of true pride.'[7] Santiago heads out to sea on his eighty-fifth day without taking in a fish with enthusiasm and hope. When Manolin reminds him that his personal record without a fish is eighty-seven days, Santiago is certain that that cannot happen again. This is the same resoluteness that allows him to secure the massive marlin that he eventually catches, even though at a great cost to his health.

Undoubtedly, the destructive force and violence that a great deal of twentieth-century literature has shamelessly put on display post 1960s, and which continues into our own age, is motivated by social-political demands on reality. Hemingway's work is untainted by this fashionable malaise. Ironically, the man of action, whether highlighted by Hemingway's fictional characters or in the author's own life, has not been improved upon by the modish intellectual-ideologue caricatures that have come to dominate western culture. Instead, The Old Man and the Sea is a sincere slice-of-life look at human life from the only perspective worth writing about: those who engage life as a vital, existential force. Like in Unamuno's work, action and reflection are synonymous in Hemingway's view of human reality.

The Old man and the Sea brings into play several dominant themes that make it an inspired work of literature. Hemingway achieved this without the affected fanfare that one encounters in bestsellers, and many of those books that, in our time, are awarded the Noble Prize for 'their commitment' to this or that popular cause. There is nothing phony or affected about Santiago going out to sea by himself in a tiny skiff in order to earn a living. The most innovative of Hemingway's literary devices is clarity and readability. The moving storytelling quality of The Old Man and the Sea is obvious to discerning readers. Hemingway writes for readers, not committees responsible for dispensing literary awards. Could this be a reason that that novel set the author on new popular and critical footing, after the elite literati had written him off? Can it also be the case that Santiago's story, a tale of courage, prudence and perseverance, one which is mostly told to himself in monologue form, resonates with readers who read the novel for pleasure and enjoyment? There can be no denying Santiago's nobility and his embrace of work as a form of temporal salvation. After all, we cannot forget that he is not a sports fisherman. Santiago fishes for a living. During one of the monologues that allow the reader to penetrate into the essence of this man, he reflects on the value that his marlin will bring in the marketplace. Yet he also wonders how many people it will feed. The latter is the disinterested essence of sincere art.

There are several reasons why The Old Man and the Sea can be considered an epic work. For one, the novel explores universal human concerns, such as facing strife, old age, the passage of time, heroism and the nature of friendship. Friendship is particularly important to the novel because Santiago serves as a mentor to Manolin, as far as fishing is concerned. More importantly, Santiago is a friend to the young boy. Manolin looks up to Santiago much as Santiago looks up to legendary baseball players like the 'great' Joe DiMaggio. The friendship between Manolin and Santiago keeps Santiago rooted in the kind of innocence that only a child can supply. On the other hand, the boy views Santiago as a model of manhood and an ambassador of good will and virtue.

While Manolin has fished with other fishermen on other boats, he respects Santiago's irresolute commitment and responsibility in taking care of himself. The old man is a widower who lives alone in a very modest seaside shack. Curiously, Hemingway's hero has no contact with the other fisherman. An old form of Cuban wisdom conveyed by older people has it that 'it is better to be alone than in bad company.' Is this perhaps one contributing factor to Santiago's solitary ways? Either way, Santiago's solitude falls in the category of the hero as a rugged, silent type. Santiago's main concern is not the brightness of the sun, the current of the Gulf Stream or the danger of being capsized. He is not afraid of the sea. He respects it. What he fears most, however, is remaining clear-headed. This, of course, is the prerogative of one who has been responsible for himself throughout his life.

Santiago's heroism has very little relation to other townspeople. Santiago's epic heroism, I will contend, is self-contained. Only the boy knows of Santiago's battles with the sea, with the life and death contingencies that fishing large fish presents him with. Yet his greatest sense of pride is dictated by his own knowledge of the events that he undertakes. His fight with the gigantic marlin is more ironic than it is cathartic. Santiago does not need to purge himself of corrosive emotions. Thus, his fight with the marlin cannot be seen as cathartic. Instead, his condition is heroic because it is dominated by irony. He has no fish tales to tell, for Santiago is a man of few words. Yet he does have a fish to display, if only the skeleton that the sharks have left him with. What is lost to the townspeople upon his return is the grandeur and scale of his fight with the marlin. The novel ends with the skeleton of the marlin left on the beach. The indecipherable remains of the animal can't even be called a carcass. The large fish skeleton incites the imagination of casual onlookers. Passersby can only imagine the size of the mammoth fish. Santiago takes solace in the tremendous odds he overcame during his two-day sojourn at sea.

Santiago's heroism is instructive because it is replete with hope. Throughout his struggle with the marlin, the lines cutting his hands, his drifting out to sea or his concern not to run out of drinking water, Santiago makes use of his skills as a fisherman and his will to outlast the marlin. Not content to simply cut the line and return home, he does not allow his struggle with the fish to diminish his will to live. Because Hemingway's protagonist in The Old Man and the Sea does not have much interaction with others besides the boy, the hero of the story has a great deal of time alone to contemplate his station in life.

The Old Man and the Sea is not a tragedy, though. Santiago is not defeated by the marlin, and he is not destroyed by his experience. Santiago does indeed catch the marlin. His long spell of eighty-four days without catching a fish comes to an end. It is the sharks, those hyenas of the sea, which shamelessly steal his hard-earned pay. The sharks remind Santiago of at least one aspect of the human condition: parasites abound. Yet he is not completely caught by surprise. Remember, he is truly a wise old man. After landing the marlin, Santiago hopes that the sharks stay away. Santiago knows that he hopes against hope. Doing sincere battle, that is what is at stake for Santiago. The Old man and the Sea is not a tragic story but rather an honorific tale. Santiago cannot be defeated as long as he remembers that he met his objective -- to catch the marlin -- with honor and courage. Whatever happens, he understands, is not truly in his control. This is one reason why Manolin respects and loves the old man.

Equally important to the novel is the understanding that because Santiago does not share the events of the last two days with others, except the boy, his tale remains pure in his understanding of the events that he lived. Hemingway takes the reader on a journey that requires diligence on the reader's part. How many readers of The Old Man and the Sea have reflected on the task that Santiago has set for himself? How many of these readers appreciate the fury of a stormy sea, the ruthlessness of the sun with nowhere to hide or the view of the vast ocean from a small skiff with no land in sight? None of these considerations faze Santiago. The latter would be, as W.B. Yeats writes, to dwell on pointless, 'foolish things that live a day.'[8]

Santiago embodies a quiet, timeless form of heroism which is best characterized as the unity of understanding and life. Santiago's life is not fragmented by abstractions and false, affected notions of reality. His life retains the purity and simplicity of life that people enjoyed a long time ago. These elements of the continuity of life are very obvious in The Old Man and the Sea. Santiago's life is felt as continuity, or what philosophers of existence call the lived experience. Because he lives his life with great regard for the natural rhythm of a twenty-four hour period, his life is framed by vital possibilities. Santiago enjoys the unity of life. This allows him to better understand the reality of human contingencies. He does not make demands on reality. He is one who, having learned his craft well, remains mindful that life can be agreeable.

Santiago's lived-experience is an important aspect of the novel. This is why it is left up to the narrator and Manolin to offer the reader a more comprehensive picture of the man, his dreams, fears and aspirations. The author tells us that Santiago is too simple and noble to do so himself. Perhaps this is why Santiago places so much stress on the inspiration that he receives from man like Joe DiMaggio. To Santiago, the game of baseball reads like the book of life. There are the heroes, the fallen men, crushing surprises and unsung players who rise to the occasion. Santiago looks up to DiMaggio even though the Yankee Clipper is a much younger man. He tells Manolin, 'The Yankees cannot lose... Have faith in the Yankees my son. Think of the great DiMaggio.'[9] DiMaggio serves as inspiration for Santiago because the baseball player went about his business with a reserved and dignified demeanor.

Santiago highlights the reality of the external world through the use of an internal monologue. This is another example of Hemingway's use of irony in the story. The Old Man and the Sea is perhaps the best example of the author's conviction that it is more important to make readers see and feel the story than it is to tell them about it. The concrete experience that the protagonist undergoes, what he lives, is made doubly real through a process of feeling and internalization that pays tribute to objective reality. The difficulty of fishing alone makes his life more fluid than, say, those who merely theorize about living. This is Santiago's form of Quijotismo. Fishing by committee would not improve the plot and themes of The Old Man and the Sea. What significance can there be in a novel about a committee of fishermen that goes out to sea to aid Santiago? That would be an aberration, not great literature. The validity and significance of the concrete, existential situation is Hemingway's way of suggesting that, well, life is what it is and that sometimes things cannot be helped.

Santiago's struggle with the marlin is a vital example of life-in-a-flash. His fight is as colorful and lyrical in scope as it is in content. This is gallantry at its best. This is also an example of the hunt displaying its most primal and vital reality. There are passages in The Old Man and the Sea where the hunter becomes the hunted. Santiago's epic fight with the sharks, galanos he calls them, is hair-raising. Between the weight of the marlin, which is estimated to be over 1,000 lbs and that of the sharks that tug on it, Santiago is in imminent danger of capsizing. His fight with the sharks turns out to be a street fight where everything is allowed. After a while of fighting the sharks, the focus of the old fisherman actually turns to his wellbeing. To capsize means certain death. Santiago does not want to lose his fish, and potentially his life to predatory and parasitic opportunists.

Santiago takes offense at the sharks stealing his marlin, a bounty that they have not worked for and thus have not earned. This indignation is enough to bring out the fighter in him. The same cannot be said about the marlin, for the marlin fought for its own wellbeing. Santiago respects the marlin for its nobility. Santiago has choice words for the sharks: 'They were hateful sharks, bad smelling, scavengers as well as killers, and when they were hungry they would bite at an oar or the rudder of a boat. It was these sharks that would cut the turtles' legs and flippers off when the turtles were asleep on the surface, and they would hit a man in the water, if they were hungry, even if the man had no smell of fish blood nor fish slime on him.'[10]

It is significant that Santiago's fight with the sharks should come at the end of the novel. Technically speaking, this encounter between fisherman and predator serves as a form of resolution to the story. This is clear to see. The novel comes to an end with Santiago having to deal with the unexpected. This is a kind of sub-plot to the novel. Yet this too simplistic an ending to this carefully crafted work cannot stand on its own as a viable interpretation of the events therein. What would Santiago's epic struggle with the marlin signify in light of what essentially appears to be a distraction -- his fight with the sharks -- at the end of the novel? The attack that the sharks unleash on Santiago makes him reflect on the reason why he is a fisherman and about his stage in life. He tells himself: 'You were born to be a fisherman as the fish was born to be a fish. San Pedro was a fisherman as was the father of the great DiMaggio.'[11] Santiago's struggle with the marlin is courageous, respectful and even elegant in its degree of difficulty, patience and skill that this encounter demands of the fisherman. The marlin too is patient and diligent.

However, Santiago's decisive moment in his fight with the sharks comes when he tells the shark that sharks are parasites who would not have dared take on the marlin when the latter was alive. In fact, Santiago celebrates the marlin's courage by commending it on its ability and resolve to fight sharks. While the sharks are beginning their assault on his once in a lifetime catch, the narrator says, 'But you enjoyed killing the dentuso, he thought. He lives on the live fish as you do. He is not a scavenger nor just a moving appetite as some sharks are. He is beautiful and noble and knows no fear of anything.'[12] Santiago's battle with the sharks is Hemingway's exclamation point as to the meaning of the story: a man struggles valiantly and with little acclaim to earn an honorable living, only to have his livelihood and pride stolen by predators. Of course, Santiago has always known the threat of parasitic sharks. He fights the sharks with the oar of his skiff and a small knife. The sharks succeed in stripping him of his prized catch. He even apologizes to the noble marlin for allowing it to be dismantled so viciously by parasitic sharks. In fact, Santiago blames himself for going out too far. He knows that the return trip hauling a big fish would draw the attention of the hyenas of the sea. He really didn't imagine that he would land such a large marlin. Hemingway's answer to this eternal human dilemma -- which is a staple of the perennial philosophy -- is that the more virtuous one becomes, the greater the scurvy that such success attracts from the envious and resentful Other.

The final and most poignant irony in The Old man and the Sea, one that makes the reader admire the inner fortitude of Santiago's will, takes place on the last page of the novel. A group of foreign tourists is sitting on The Terrace, a beachfront eatery, where the skeletal remains of Santiago's marlin is seen gently bobbing up and down in the gentle surf. A woman asks the waiter what kind of large fish that is. In broken English, the waiter tries to tell her that sharks ate the fish. The woman thinks that the skeleton belongs to a shark, and utters, 'I didn't know sharks had such handsome, beautifully formed tails.'[13]

The conclusion of The Old Man and the Sea allows the reader to reflect on the longstanding human tragedy of confusing appearance for reality. Santiago is not a tragic hero, for he sees through the veil of appearance that taints so much of the human condition and which has destroyed so many lives. Santiago struggles mightily not to become objectified and thus dehumanized by the daily give-and-take of contingencies.


1. Ernest Hemingway. The Old Man and the Sea. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952), p. 63.

2. Ibid, p. 9.

3. Ibid, p. 10.

4. Ibid. p. 13.

5. Ibid, p. 9.

6. Ibid, p. 62.

7. Ibid, p. 13.

8. William Butler Yeats. Selected Poems and Three Plays. Edited and Introduction by M.L. Rosenthal. (New York, New York: Collier Books, 1986), p. 6.

9. The Old Man and the Sea, p. 17.

10. Ibid, p. 107.

11. Ibid, p. 105.

12. Ibid, p. 105.

13. Ibid, p. 127.

(c) Pedro Blas Gonzalez 2012




An eclectic affinity for proximities? a reaction to Michael Kilivris' paper' by Anthony Flood

In juxtaposing the thought of Martin Heidegger to that of Theodor Adorno, Michael Kilivris presupposes not only working knowledge of what these men wrote -- which he acknowledges is rare -- but also interest in the fortunes of the 'deep ecology' movement. As these are three 'deep' subjects, I fail to see how Geoffrey Klempner could come to the conclusion that it was 'useful as a starting point for students exploring this controversial and highly topical issue' (Philosophy Pathways, No. 175, 8 October 2012).

Hegel's comment to the effect that true ignorance is total unawareness of ignorance surfaced as I read the article. The relevant ignorance here concerns the worldview and epoch that were replaced by the Enlightenment and modernity (which form Dr. Kilivris' horizon), at least in Europe. The Christian theistic worldview and what we provincially call 'the Middle Ages' boasted a rather robust theology of nature as declaring the glory of God, in Whose image man was created, according to that worldview, and to whom God gave dominion over nature. Why not recover that? There is no nonarbitrary reason either to do so or not to do so, for all Dr. Kilivris has to say about it. He tells us that 'humanism' is one of 'the crowning achievements' of the Enlightenment, as though Erasmus and his colleagues never existed.

Indeed, apart from a passing reference to Heidegger and Adorno's several 'proximities' to each other, Dr. Kilivris' paper is fatally abstract in its treatment of a few sentences of these fatefully situated thinkers. His opening sentence about Heidegger and Adorno's failure to 'enter into dialogue' with each other struck me as a bad joke, given that the latter had to flee the country hijacked by the party that the former joined. It is the kind of ahistorical (and arguably obscene) howler that gives philosophy a bad name and for which no amount of research can compensate. It goes downhill from there: Dr. Kilivris later assures us that Heidegger 'does not thereby dismiss the 'dignity of man.''

In a footnote, Dr. Kilivris stipulates that the meaning of 'nature' will be 'take[n] for granted as meaning non-human nature conventionally understood.' That convention remained unidentified, and so I don't know whether I subscribe to it. Is it matter in motion? The totality of stuff that exploded once upon a time and is scheduled for heat-death, which provides the ultimate backdrop for our philosophizing? Now there's a modern ontology for you. The billion or so Christians who are still around do not take it for granted.

Neither the Heidegger nor Adorno of Dr. Kilivris' paper is intellectually an compelling character, and the dialectical dance the author has them do only further dilutes that interest. As he no more illuminated for me Heidegger's insight into Being than did anything else I've read, the concern that something might be 'blocking' that insight leaves me cold. Dr. Kilivris' political motive for writing -- as evidenced by references to the 'transfiguration of social relations' or the writings of Murray Bookchin or those of Arne Naess -- is not hard to discern. There are several references to modernity's 'destructive' relationship to nature, but as nature is still around, the use of that modifier exaggerates the current state of affairs.

Dr. Kilivris cites Deborah Cook's 'explanations' without comment. Since she seems to favor the Adorno side of Kilivris' equation, however, his insinuation that they are in fact genuine explanations, and not just her opinions piled on his, is tendentious. Let's take just one: if reason, as Cook cites Adorno, 'just serves the purpose of [biological] adaptation more effectively, turning human beings into 'animals with more far-reaching powers',' then there is little reason to read another word of Adorno, or Cook, or anyone else. Remaining unexplored is how Adorno (or Dr. Kilivris) relates 'reason' to brain states, which are 'adaptive' only if they contribute to the survival and reproduction of their 'owners' -- regardless of the cognitive reliability of those material states. If, however, Adorno non-naturalistically supposes that reason transcends brain states -- that is, the former is not exhaustively explicable in terms of the latter -- then squaring such a view with materialism is the problem. Or perhaps there is no problem, but Dr. Kilivris just burkes the whole issue.

Dr. Kilivris does not explicate why evolved by-products of an explosion allegedly ought to 'remember nature in the subject.' Or why nature shouldn't appear as alien. Or why we shouldn't we feel like aliens on this planet -- or 'one' with it for that matter. The goal of 'reconciliation' -- or 'quasi-reconciliation' -- of man and nature is rather arbitrarily presupposed. In 'enlightened modernity... nothing... counts as intrinsically valuable or worth of protection,' says Espen Hammer, whom Dr. Kilivris quotes. Aquinas, informed by his Christian faith, would have had a systematic reply to Hammer. Behind Dr. Kilivris' slight favoring of one late Enlightenment thinker over the other is but an act of Enlightenment faith.

I couldn't tell whether Adorno's 'prioritizing' of nature referred to chronological or also axiological priority; or understand what it means for nature to 'preponderate' (Adorno's ponderous term); or how one can 'focus' upon that preponderance; or why Adorno drapes on the shoulders of one 'type' of materialism (the kind in which universals are figments) the mantle of 'science' (which unfortunately cannot do without numbers); or what it would mean for 'a social transformation' to 'displace instrumental reason.' (Is instrumental reason merely a ladder we will throw away after the revolution is achieved?)

It occurred to me that the thought of these ostensibly 'opposite' thinkers might be dialectically related on a higher level -- so that there may one day be such things as Heidegger's latent humanism and Adorno's latent anti-humanism -- would have made for an interesting essay for those who are not versed in their writings and a challenge to those who are. But that fascinating possibility apparently did not occur to Dr. Kilivris. No, his essay's coda is a bland 'perhaps there is a way to take the best of both worlds' and an ode to 'all life.'

Nothing in the foregoing, it should go without saying, is directed at Dr. Kilivris personally. Let our theories die in our stead, as Karl Popper so nobly heralded! I look forward to being shown by Dr. Kilivris how badly I have misunderstood everything, if he would favor me with such criticism.

(c) Anthony Flood 2012



'Uhall's ontological problem with the selfish gene: a reply' by Max Wilkinson

In his essay in Philosophy Pathways Issue 175, Michael Uhall claims that the selfish gene theory is flawed because the gene is not well defined and because the same gene appears to have different effects on the growth of body parts depending on a cell's environment. He claims there is an 'ontological' problem with the gene as commonly understood and suggests that selection at the level of the group or, more probably, at multiple levels (the cell, the individual and the group) may provide a better explanation of evolution. I do not find his arguments convincing, although there might be something in his conclusion for reasons different from those that he states.

Philosophers need to be cautious about pronouncing on scientific theories, especially theories such as inheritance and natural selection which are supported by a vast body of data. Time and again, from Aristotle onwards, the world has turned out to be unlike what philosophers said it should be. For example, philosophers might easily show that it is impossible for particles to exist and not exist at the same time. Is that an ontological proof that quantum theory is wrong? Or, to paraphrase Nils Bohr, does it just show that the world is stranger than we thought? We should remember John Locke's caution about a philosopher's ability to understand the natural world. We are made of corpuscles (atoms), Locke said, but how they cohere into all the intricate parts of the body, God only knows.

Today, Locke might have made a similar remark about the relation of genes to the growth of bodies. We know the general picture but not all of the intricate details. In this spirit, I shall address Uhall's central observation: that 'genes seem to be functional packages that change the role they play depending on their positioning... [and on] environmental influences'. There is indeed a mystery as to how identical copies of DNA in every one of the body's cells contrive to produce organs as diverse as brains, bones and eyes. We can seek to understand this without being diverted into speculations about the ontology of the gene. It is enough to know that spirals of the DNA molecule include nucleotides that form four 'letters' (ATGC). These letters are grouped into 'words' which are part of the code for producing new proteins. The gene is the name given to a stretch of the DNA which codes for a particular protein. It is known that in the presence of different chemicals, genes will be switched on or off to manufacture particular proteins. This sequential switching (and cell division) create the complexity of living things. Exactly how the cumulative differentiation of cells results in organisms as different as monkeys and men is the subject of research. That it happens is hardly doubted.

So, to address Uhall's point: our basic understanding of how DNA works does not depend on the precise definition of a gene. Uhall is also wrong to build his argument on the suggestion that we do not completely understand how molecular codes in DNA are switched on and off sequentially to create bodies. Uhall alleges that a special and confusing definition of the gene is used in the 'selfish gene thesis'. He says: 'According to the... thesis... genes are redefined as any reasonably short sequence of DNA on a chromosome' (my itals). He appears to think that such a gene refers to 'an arbitrary string of letters'. Uhall says: 'Due to the apparently high volume of counter-examples to simplistic definitions of the gene, I would conclude that the gene, rather than being an ontologically discrete entity, is instead a family of concepts' (my itals). Consequently, he claims, it would be 'invisible to selection'. But that is simply not how most molecular biologist understand the gene[1]. Uhall's conclusion can be true only if the gene is redefined in such a way that it doesn't do the job that professionals think it does, namely code for a specific protein. But even if definitions of the gene might differ, the underlying theory of how the nucleotide letters of DNA make codes for proteins would remain intact.

Moreover, as Uhall records in a footnote, genes aren't really selfish. That notorious adjective has put a lot of people off neo-Darwinian theory. But the 'Selfish Gene' is not so much the description of a theory as a popular metaphor[2]. It emphasises a near tautology. Those genes that happen to survive are the ones that happen to confer survival values on the bodies they give rise to. Samuel Butler famously said: 'A hen is an egg's way of making another egg'. He might have added that an egg will make more eggs than other eggs make if it can make a hen that does more laying than other hens. And the new eggs will, in turn, make more eggs if they inherit the ability to make more productive hens, There is nothing selfish about eggs. Making good hens is just what they do -- at least the ones whose chickens survive.

In these simple terms, genetic selection seems pretty obvious. Nor does Uhall completely deny it. He says: 'It is even possible that genes can be units of selection, since according to the multi-level selection model, there need not be one single unit of selection' (my itals). He does not explain how inheritance via groups or individuals might contribute to natural selection. What are the possible candidates, other than the transmission of DNA?

First, for individuals: The main competitor to gene theory is the Lamarkian idea[3] that acquired characteristics, such as developed muscles, might be inherited. But that has been largely disproved.[4]

Second, for groups: Uhall rightly concedes that the theory of group selection (between races or tribes) has little support. The main reason is that groups cannot have sex, at least in the sense of begetting other groups. The only way that inherited characteristics can be passed to the offspring of group members is by sex between individuals[5]. The difficulty is that qualities, such as loyalty and co-operation, which can help the group. may not give a selective advantage to individuals within it[6]. Think of bankers.

But might group cultures favour the survival of individuals and hence of their DNA? Possibly. Richard Dawkins proposed the idea of 'memes' as units of cultural selection[7]. But even if whole cultures were subject to a kind of natural selection via memes, there is a residual certainty that every cell manufactured by an individual's body is coded by inherited DNA. And the manufacturing process depends on the cells' differing chemical environments, not on the cultural environment.

So Uhall espouses a compromise[8], that selection takes place at a 'multi-level', including cells, groups and individuals. Provided the basic mechanism of gene selection is accepted, it is easy to agree that groups might be important. For example, if one inbred tribe were to share warrior genes, it might wipe out tribes with inbred genes for weakness. Genes for cooperativeness or morality, if they existed and if shared in a group, might similarly confer an advantage. This is uncontroversial. Indeed, William D Hamilton[9] explained how 'selfish' genes might promote altruism in a group, a question that bothers Uhall. If there were a gene that simultaneously coded for green beards and for being kind to green-bearded people, the Green-Beards would thrive, multiply and be good neighbours. Serious disagreement arises only if it is suggested that a group can itself select for altruism. Much work has been done on the conditions that might make it advantageous for a selfish gene to promote altruism, even towards those who did not share the same (green-beard) gene.[10]

That leaves room for plenty of discussion about the relationship between gene selection, nature versus nurture, altruism, cultural norms, group survival and individual survival. There is a vast literature on these topics. But they are not, I suggest, illuminated by questioning the ontology of the gene, 'selfish' or otherwise.


1. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica the gene is a 'unit of hereditary information that occupies a fixed position (locus) on a chromosome... Genes achieve their effects by directing the synthesis of proteins... Experiments indicate that one gene is responsible for the assembly of one polypeptide chain' (gene. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2010). Similarly. the The Human Genome Project says the gene is 'a segment of DNA that tells the cell how to make a certain protein'.
http:--- If Uhall's looser definition were accepted the Human Genome Project could hardly have succeeded.

2. Used by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (OUP 1976). He drew on George C. Williams's Adaptation and Natural Selection (Princeton 1966) and other works.

3. Proposed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1800.

4. Prof. Richard W. Burkhardt writes In the Encyclopaedia Britannica: 'In the 20th century, since Lamarck's idea failed to be confirmed experimentally... it became thoroughly discredited.' (Article on Lamarck 2010.

5. We'll forget parthogenesis.

6. Williams, G.C., ed. Group Selection. (Aldine-Atherton, Chicago 1971). For a summary of the argument see Christopher Baddock, PsychoDarwinism, Chapter 2 (HarperCollins 1994) or Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene pp 8-11).

7. Although the methods of transmission are necessarily imprecise. See Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene Chapter 11 and The Blind Watchmaker p158 (Longman 1986).

8. proposed by David Wilson Sloan and Elliott Sober Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. University of Harvard Press, 1998.

9. Hamilton W D The genetical evolution of social behaviour (July 1964). The Idea is also explained by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene.

10. For excellent overviews, see Robert Wright The Moral Animal (Little, Brown 1994) or Matt Ridley The Origins of Virtue (Penguin 1998) or The Selfish Gene chapter 10.

(c) Max Wilkinson 2012


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