Man, Beast and Zombie
What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us About Human Nature

Malik, Kenan
Publisher:  Phoenix
Year Published:  2001   First Published:  2000
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX11450

Drawing upon the ideas of evolutionary biology, cognitive science and artificial intelligence, Malik questions many of our assumptions about human nature.

Abstract:  Kenan Malik's Man, Beast and Zombie: What Science Can and Cannot Tell Us About Human Nature explores the scientific debates and evolutionary theories of Man from the early Renaissance to the modern day. Relying on various philosophers and scientists, Malik discusses how the relationship between nature, science and humanism has changed over time, reflecting popular paradigms of each era. The author states "One of the aims of this book is to suggest how we can integrate a scientific view of humanness with philosophical and political conceptions". Examining the rationale behind modern humanistic thought, Man, Beast and Zombie "is in part an exploration of the scientific arguments about human nature; in part is a study of cultural history, about the impact of intellectual and cultural changes on scientific conceptions of the human, and in part it is an attempt to understand the philosophical framework within which the contemporary science of Man works".

Malik provides a view into the significant events shaping scientific theories since the late 1400s, tracing how these events impacted the interaction between science and human nature. Man, Beast and Zombie "investigates the ways in which certain strands of science have constructed an idea of what it means to be human" and how each generation has defined their relationship to humanity through scientific advancements and discoveries. Discussing evolutionary biology, cognitive science and artificial intelligence, the author questions how the human relationship with our animalistic past has adjusted to meet the conceptions of specific scientific movements. Science has altered the ways in which human beings have viewed themselves in relation to nature, to the universe and to their everyday surroundings. Harnessing the theories of Aristotle's universe, Descartes' rationalism and Darwin's 'survival of the fittest', among other examples, Malik shows how science has acted as a guiding force, altering the foundation and relationship between humans, nature and their biological heritage.

[Abstract by William Stevenson]

Table of Contents

1. The Ascent of Man, the Descent of Humanity
2. Body and Soul
3. Experience and the Spirit
4. God's Will and Natures Law
5. From Ubermensch to Unesco Man
6. The Making of a Proper Science
7. Stone Age Darwinism
8. Humane Beasts and Beastly Humans
9. Ways of Designing a Mind
10. A World in Our Heads
11. Expelling the Ghost from the Machine
12. The Extended Mind
13. Subject and Object
14. Disturbing the Universe
Notes and References

Subject Headings