Archive for ‘Evolution’


Short Review: Kirchhofer KC, Zimmermann F, Kaminski J, Tomasello M (2012) Dogs (Canis familiaris), but Not Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), Understand Imperative Pointing.

A short review of an article  Kirchhofer KC, Zimmermann F, Kaminski J, Tomasello M (2012) Dogs (Canis familiaris), but Not Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), Understand Imperative Pointing by P. Urbanczyk.



Normativity according to Hayek

Herein you will find the text for the next seminar on Friday. The text is a ‘working paper’ . It lacks complete footnotes and the language requires to be reviewed and corrected. Please note that it is my first text in English:)


Comments on Wojciech Załuski’s paper ‘On the Applicability of Evolutionary Anthropology in Legal and Moral Philosophy’

1. In his characteristically lucid and skillfully grounded paper Wojciech claims (1) that evolutionary anthropology (understood as a nontrivial view of human nature mainly based on evolutionary psychology) can be used fruitfully in the analysis of some questions of legal philosophy, and (2) that the relevance of evolutionary anthropology for moral philosophy is very limited. These claims strike one as being quite counterintuitive: after all, the issue of how natural selection has shaped our sense of morality, moral behavior, and moral intuitions is a rather heatedly debated topic, at least among philosophers and evolutionary psychologists. The prevailing view on this problem is that homo sapiens possesses at least a minimal innate moral competence, which is of an evolutionary origin. On the other hand, positive law, conferred by an act of legislation, seems to be of a much more conventional nature than morality. It follows that our sense of legality, legal behavior, and legal intuitions do not rest upon some hard-wired dispositions shaped by evolution. They seem to be influenced by the necessity to resolve in an efficient way some important issues which were absent in ancestral environments (e.g. legitimacy of state coercion, limitations of public power, contractual obligations).

read more »


Wojciech Załuski – On the Applicability of Evolutionary Anthropology in Legal and Moral Philosophy

Zapraszamy do zapoznania się z tekstem Wojciecha Załuskiego pt. “On the Applicability of Evolutionary Anthropology in Legal and Moral Philosophy“.


read more »


B. Brożek, The ontology of law from a biological perspective (draft version)

We warmly invite you to pursue the draft version of the paper The ontology of law from a biological perspective by Bartosz Brożek.


Ponura nauka

Niniejszym zamieszczam tekst na najbliższe seminarium pod znamiennym tytułem Ponura nauka Zachęcam do krytyki. Tekst jest odtwórczy i opisuje historię myśli ekonomicznej na wybranych przykładach ze szczególnym naciskiem na spór co do przedmiotu ekonomii i stosowanych metod. W rozdziale wykorzystałem też uprzednio przygotowany tekst nt. ekonomii behawioralnej i neuroekonomii. MG


Lukasz Lazarz Emotions Worth Good Beauty

LLazarz emotions worth good beauty

Instead of usual txt hereby I attach a presentation aiming at throwing light on crucial concepts of Emotions, Worth, Good, Beauty (till now reserved for old fashioned philosophy) from point of contact of AI and cognitive psychology (cognitive architectures). In the first pages I put the plan of presentation which might be helpful in understanding of the particular slides. LL.


Konspekt referatu ‘The theory of meaning in communication as a game theoretical incentive for coordination’

W załączeniu tekst na piątkowe seminarium: konspekt fp


Short Review: Naturalising Ethics: The Implications of Darwinism for the Study of Moral Philosophy. Cartwright, J.

Naturalising Ethics: The Implications of Darwinism for the Study of Moral Philosophy

John Cartwright, Springer

Attempts to place Darwinism and evolutionary ethics as an indispensible aid to ethical deliberations. Offers a considerable amount of useful research in support of evolutionary theory’s explanatory power while admitting that our initial reactions have evolved into something more. Attempts to rebut charges of the naturalistic fallacy with varying degrees of success.


  • Holds that the role of Darwinism has been overlooked by moral philosophers, possibly (and understandably) as a result of earlier misconceptions.
  • Outlines a number of interesting examples of the explanatory power of evolutionary theory, including: morality being species specific; kin altruism; tragedy of the commons; mirror neurons and the avoidance of incest.
  • Makes a number of claims concerning the naturalistic fallacy, some of which are more convincing than others. These include:
  • T1: The fact that early Social Darwinists “confused the consequences of natural processes with their values” i.e. that the fact that “unbridled competition” played a role in the formation of some of our ethical sentiments does not mean that it has any influence on them nowadays.
  • T2: That Hume was misunderstood and that he actually maintained that “moral truths are inherent facts about human nature”.
  • T3: Ethical reasoning must somehow take natural facts into account
  • T4: All ethical theories must, to some extent, rely on natural facts.
  • He also sketches the main viewpoints of leading Darwinists, presents an outline of the teaching implications posed by Darwinism (although this feels somewhat superfluous and contrived) and a brief segment of the Kantian Categorical Imperative, again somewhat misplaced.


  • An interesting combination of useful scientific data on the impact/explanatory power of evolutionary theory and a critique of the naturalistic fallacy. The remainder of the article is somewhat superfluous.
  • T1 is a valid point and well justified- obviously he argues that contemporary Darwinists would never leap to such conclusions.
  • T2 is an intriguing notion and follows Walter. Combined with T3 and T4, we do have a convincing argument for considering the findings of evolutionary theory yet the questions remains as to exactly how. Furthermore, whilst they clearly have powerful explanatory and descriptive force, they do not address 2 key points: firstly, in the sense that whilst they provide a clear is about human nature i.e. we tend to protect our family more than strangers, there is no clear ought – we no longer enjoy the same kind of kinship groups that led to the development of such capabilities and they are frequently a source of injustice. Secondly, they offer little for the understanding of how moral and ethical concepts have themselves evolved – mirror neurons play a role in both face to face contact and also when we watch, for example, a televised appeal for aid in Haiti.

Short Review: F. de Vignemont, T. Singer, The empathic brain: how, when and why?, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 10. (October 2006), pp. 435-441.

Short Review: F. de Vignemont, T. Singer, The empathic brain: how, when and why?, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 10. (October 2006), pp. 435-441.


1) Empathy is not a purely automatic reaction to exposure to emotional state of others. Authors propose a new contextual approach. According to it, empathic brain responses are modified by “modulatory” factors.

2) Empathy plays two different roles: (1) an epistemological role and (2) a social role. In the first case, empathy provides information about the future actions of other people and important environmental properties. In the second case, empathy is understood as a source of the motivation for cooperative and prosocial behavior.


Authors question the assumption that the empathy should be understood as an automatic mechanism which become active every time when we observe others displaying emotion. They start from the presentation of various definitions of empathy, and chose one which is more narrow than others (there is empathy if: (1) one is in an affective state; (2) this state is isomorphic to another person’s affective state; (3) this state is elicited by the observation or imagination of another person’s affective state; (4) one knows that the other person is the source of one’s own affective state). Empathy as understood is a subject to contextual appraisal and modulation. This modulation needn’t necessary be a function of our conscious thought. Contrary to this intuition, modification of our empathic responses can be also fast and implicit. Therefore, we have two separate routs of modification our empathic response. Variables which can have impact on magnitude of our empathic response are – for example – as follows: age, personality, empathizer’s past experience, situational context (when we are exposed to more than one, and different form each other, emotional states of others). Also, as authors point out, people more easier empathize with primary emotions (fear, sadness) than with secondary emotions (jealously). Apart from describing ways in which empathy works, authors also propose an evolutionary answer for the question: why empathy evolved? It fulfills two major roles: (1) epistemological, which allows us to predict subsequent behavior of other members of society, and (2) social, because empathy is one of the source of the motivation for cooperative behavior. Authors, don’t claim however that possession of empathic brain responses is condition sine qua non for having morality.


Empathy as understood as in the paper becomes a very interesting mechanism, crucial for our social communications, and cooperative behaviors. Argument against understanding brain empathic responses in the purely automatic manner fits well in more broader way of argumentation which is present in contemporary neuroscience and philosophy.