He is a nationally recognized trainer and speaker, has produced the "How to Start a Sex Offender Group: The Fundamentals" and "Angry Black Males: The Misunderstood Population" training DVD's, and will release the second book of this two-book series early in Beverly is committed to excellence in his pursuit of positive social change. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Here's how restrictions apply. About the Author Dr.
Xlibris December 22, Language: I'd like to read this book on Kindle Don't have a Kindle? Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 3 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Very informative, very enjoyable read. Nor am I as pessimistic about the ultimate utility of language as many contemporary critics, who insist that language inevitably incorporates a series of impossibilities and misunderstandings, and that we are all thus doomed to a life filled with miscommunication.
And for all of the incredible insights brought about by Foucaults argument that "discourses" actively shape our subjectivities and the very world that we live in, a process that clearly does occur to some extent, and Derridas pronouncement that "there is nothing outside the text," I nevertheless think that such reasoning has led to an unfortunate dismissal of the human animal and the material world in which he or she 24 Lacan for Beginners is admittedly a pretty lowbrow work, and it flattens a complex subject considerably, but it is still representative of the use of Lacan, especially by non-specialists.
In it, Philip Hill asserts: Again, Hills claim would be perfectly okay if the emphasis were reversed: Perhaps Garb doesnt intend to collapse "real Jews" into mere "masquerades of performative subjectivity," but this passage handily accomplishes the feat. In the hands of too many critics, it seems, the ideas above are combined into a reductive critical stew that, while exceptionally useful in the creation of publishable scholarship--and lets not lose sight of the economic basis of the critical enterprise as it exists in the modern university--actually ignores the physicality and biology of the subjects it professes to examine, or worse, attempts to silence those who propose the examination of a body and its attendant innate biological and psychological mechanisms that pre-exists the cultural forms written upon it.
Lacan, too, postulated a view of reality, at least the part of it that we can know, as occurring entirely within the realm of language and discourse, so one can see that the tendency by literary and cultural theorists to appropriate all areas of knowledge as their own privileged area of exploration is very widespread.
It is tempting to see in Foucaults frequent invocations of "bodies" and "pleasures" a recognition of the very things that are central to my biological examination here, and indeed he does promise that his History of Sexuality will not be "a ,,history of mentalities that would take account of bodies only through the manner in which they have been perceived and given meaning and value; but a ,,history of bodies and the manner in which what is most material and most vital in them has been invested" Still, even if he does see bodies and pleasures as some sort of a transhistorical, material substrate that is endlessly reorganized by cultural narratives into the discursive categories of "sexuality," he still winds up placing desire and sexuality entirely, at least as David Halperin reads him in How to Do the History of Homoexuality, within "historical configurations of power, knowledge, and subjectivity" This, however, is the common post-Foucauldian view, and the statements 26 I realize that Foucault has a meaning for "sexuality" here that at least partially distinguishes it from "sex" as in, sexual acts , though the distinction is not always clear in criticism following his lead.
I will argue, though, and I believe convincingly enough, that "sexuality" itself--that is, the comprehensive totality of narratives and beliefs that inform the human desire for and practice of sex--can never be divorced from its biological underpinnings without significant consequent distortion of the whole. I am not blind to the central insight here, that people experience sexuality and contemplate sexual behaviors within conceptual, subjective frameworks at least partly fashioned by the cultural context within which they occur, nor am I blind to the economies of power or political processes involved, nor the modernity of many of the prevailing "discourses" of sexuality, but I trust that the reader wont have to get very far into chapter one before he or she sees that plenty of science exists to prove that sex and sexuality follow scripts that are sometimes far more genetic and biological than cultural.
Individuals are not empty vessels into which sexuality is poured, and if Jamesons famous assertion was "always historicize," the spectacular success of his exhortation clearly makes it time to heed my own call to "recorporealize. As will be obvious in chapter two, Im no big fan of heteronormativity or any sort of sexual binaries since they seem to create a reduction of pleasurable possibilities for individual humans, and Im all for eroding these forces in any was possible.
Nevertheless, the biologically informed critic wont get very far by viewing procreative sex entirely through the lens of ideological forces. More interesting to me, as Ill discuss later, is how a general openness to prereproductive homosexual experimentation gets channeled into primarily heterosexual behavior in human adults when the possibility seems to exist for continued bisexual experiences. Although the dividing lines are sometimes blurry, one camp of scholars clearly arrived at the subject from the "science" side.
Chapter one will introduce to the reader a vast array of researchers working within fields as diverse as cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, human behavioral ecology, and behavioral genetics, all of whom have been inching ever closer to the turf normally claimed by those of us in the humanities, for no study of the human comprehension and experience of the world--even biologically oriented ones--can proceed without tackling the issues of language and symbolic thought.
Wilson, whose brilliant work Sociobiology set off such a firestorm of protest on its publication in , pursued valuable explorations of biology and the arts, and many of his writings on the subject have been included in Brett Cooke and Frederick Turners anthology Biopoetics: Evolutionary Explorations in the Arts. I will not deny that 28 I realize that my mention of Wilsons name, especially in such glowing terms, might literally cause a physical reaction in the gut of some of my readers. Hear me out, however. I too ridiculed Wilson in the many papers I wrote about sex and gender in contemporary society, for, never having read him, all I knew about him was the cartoonish depiction available in other works in the humanities written by others, Im pretty sure, who had never read him either.
Chapter three will discuss Wilson and the reception of Sociobiology in more detail, but for now suffice it to say that I was astonished by the clarity, sensitivity, and depth of his scholarship once I actually began to read his works.
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This admittedly smacks of the sort of disciplinary takeover that humanities scholars fear the most, but in truth Wilson shows a great respect for, and understanding of, the arts. In Biophilia he states: We are in the fullest sense a biological species and will find little ultimate meaning apart from the remainder of life. The fiery circle of disciplines will be closed if science looks at the inward journey of the artists mind, making art and culture objects of study in the biological mode, and if the artist and critic are informed of the workings of the mind and the natural world as illuminated by the scientific method.
In principle at least, nothing can be denied to the humanities, nothing to science.
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Much scholarship from the science side of the divide is less philosophical and more practical, however. Out of cognitive sciences comes a strand of exploration that starts with the cognitive structure of the brain, then shows how artistic creation, and indeed the entire field of aesthetics, is indebted to basic, universal aspects of mental functioning. Biological Aspects of Aesthetics all demonstrate that aesthetic universals do exist and that they seem to be tied directly to specific cognitive features of the brain being described through modern cognitive research.
The more recent collection, Biopoetics, also contains several important essays following this approach. In "An Ecopoetics of Beauty and Meaning," Frederick Turner examines the formal aspects of art to show that the "forms of the arts are not arbitrary but are rooted in our biological inheritance" Turner goes on to speculate about several different cognitive-based "operators" that shape the forms of human artistic expression, from the "reflexive or dramatic operator" to the "narrative operator" and "representational operator," all of which exhibit the interaction of "inherited biological and learned cultural factors" In the same volume is Wayne E.
Allens important "Biochemicals and Brains: Natural Selection for Manipulators of Sexual Ecstacy and Fantasy," an article that explores the evolved brain chemistry of humans to suggest that aesthetic emotions of humans are developmentally rooted in the same biochemical processes as those involving sexual arousal, orgasm, pair bonding, and even the ingestion of psychoactive and hallucinogenic substances. The evolved roots of human aesthetic responses are also the subject of Gordon H. Orians and Judith H. Heerwagens much-cited work of environmental aesthetics, "Evolved Responses to Landscapes.
Their work is notable for being the first to trace the "savanna hypothesis"--the instinctive and near universal preferences for savanna-like environments in humans--and how such instinctive desires shape the aesthetic features of art, from architecture to paintings and photography. One book-length study of special importance due to its impeccable research and elegant prose is Mark Turners Reading Minds: What Turner pursues is a work of "cognitive" rhetoric, for he sees in the normal affairs of English departments--the generation of "ever more subtle and masterful readings of ever more texts for an ever more specialized group of readers"--a general neglect of language and literature, the very things he thinks should be at the base of literary studies 3.
His argument is sound: It is the capacities themselves that need explaining" Language and literature, he insists, are "acts of the human mind" 48 , and he spends his book analyzing how humans think and how the brain makes possible language and linguistic acts. Using the methods and language of rhetorics, Turner examines concepts like the generic projection of symmetry and different types of analogies that reflect actual "conceptual connections and patterns and activities in the mind" Ellen Dissanayake, for example, has written widely on the evolution of human artistic creation and perception, both in her books What Is Art For?
My studies of art in crosscultural and evolutionary perspective have led me to identify what I believe is a distinctive universal human behavior that remains undescribed or inadequately acknowledged in the literature and that can serve as a meaningful common denominator of art in all times and places. I have termed this behavior "making special. A Darwinist Perspective" is an excellent examination of evolved male notions of sexual property and how they intersect with the emotional issues involved in both the creation and consumption of literary art.
Also instructive are three articles from the excellently edited issue of Poetics Today mentioned above: Steens "The Politics of Love: Reading Minds in Persuasion," the latter especially notable for the parallels it draws between Austens time and our own, for he reads Austens work within "the shift within Romantic-era discourses on mind and character from environmental to biological approaches to psychological behavior and subject formation," just as he hopes to see happen in our own time A Coevolutionary Perspective on Imaginative Worldmaking," in which he interprets "literary pleasure whatever their present contributions to our personal and social wellbeing may be as indicative of literatures past power to make its devotees more astute planners and problem solvers, more sensitive and empathetic mind readers, and more reliable cooperators than their conspecific rivals" Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, in The Mating Mind, actually postulates a role for art that is specifically tied to human reproductive behavior, for he sees art as a "biological signaling system" and fitness indicator arising through sexual selection--as opposed to natural selectionwhich advertises genetic fitness and thus desirability to possible mates.
Millers work does a great job of foregrounding the role of sexual selection in evolution, and just this would make it a significant work given the earlier neglect of this important subject, but it also provides a wonderful examination of sensory biases in humans on its way to making the more speculative claim that art and music arose both as desirable ornaments and as fitness indicators since the complexity and finesse of artistic expression indicates a healthy brain and good genes.
Sexual 30 The distinction between natural selection and sexual selection is actually from Darwins own work. Natural selection refers to the process through which features conferring differential reproductive success at the environmental level are selected for. Sexual selection, on the other hand, refers to things like male human penis size--for it is much larger than the penes of other primates--which are at least partly selected for through consistent mate preference choices of the opposite sex.
Studies using both animal populations and computer simulations have shown that sexual selection is a very powerful evolutionary force that can have extremely significant effects on populations of organisms especially through the process of "runaway sexual selection," first postulated by evolutionary theorist Ronald Fisher in his work The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection.
Although the chemical aspects of the human pleasure system are better covered elsewhere--in Victor Johnstons Why We Feel, for example, and Helen Fishers Why We Love--Millers discussion integrates the hedonic aspects of human experience back into an evolutionary perspective in an extremely coherent and believable way. There are, however, two leading scholars in the field that I have left to discuss last because I think they are very instructive as to what the motivations of many researchers pursuing a path similar to mine are, and therefore I want to draw a clear distinction between them and me here at the very beginning of my project.
The first of these is Joseph Carroll, whose book Evolution and Literary Theory stands as a foundational text in the field. In many ways Carroll got here the first of any literary scholar, and he is a truly gifted thinker with an intelligence that is depressingly acute --at least to scholars like me who are normally endowed in terms of brainpower-- and a range of learning of the sort that hardly seems possible in todays era of academic specialization.
And though I do have my disagreements with parts of his argument, I completely agree with his initial statement that literature itself, just like knowledge and 31 These book titles show that scientists have much more matter-of-fact attitudes about titles than do literary scholars! For all of the strengths of Millers book--and it is a wonderful work, and one that is accessible enough to non-biologists--his "art as fitness indicator" theory does tend to minimize the very important functional aspects of art discussed by scholars like Hernadi and Dissanayake.
Nevertheless, one quickly discovers that, more than out of an awe for the inescapable wisdom and methodology of science like mine, Carroll is writing out of the desire to discredit postructuralism, whose ascendancy in contemporary English departments he greatly resents. As far as critiques of the current critical paradigms go, Carrolls is very articulate and compelling, but ultimately he ignores the fact that the extreme form of constructionism he sets up to knock down isnt the only form of constructionism possible, for even in my biologically oriented framework there is no escaping the fact that something like sexuality, say--though undergirded by content-dependent psychological mechanisms that resulted from evolutionary pressure--is understandable only when viewed in conjunction with the discursive and symbolic forms through which it is articulated in a particular social and cultural context.
Moreover, it is impossible at this point to deny the great theoretical gains made from applying the concept of textuality to events and details outside of the 32 It may seem like an overly fine distinction to draw, but I think it is important. When I encountered the growing body of data about evolution and the cognitive sciences, I wanted to see what I could make it do in the context of literary studies. One gets the feeling that Carroll, on the other hand, was waiting for any vehicle he could find to express his displeasure with the status quo and seized upon evolutionary psychology precisely because he saw its utility in that regard.
His stance on the current state of literary studies could not be more clear. In the introduction to his later work, Literary Darwinism, he asserts: In the same work he cites "the stale and etiolated rhetoric of postmodernism," which he thinks must soon crumble from within, partly, he indicates, because "radical ideology has perhaps already exhausted the range of important social groups that can plausibly be represented as oppressed minorities" xi.
This latter represents a rather flattened view of the ideological awareness fostered within contemporary criticism, but it inspires the first hundred pages or so of Evolution and Literary Theory, in which he takes on, in turn, everyone from J. He sums up his observations in the following manner: There is no doubt that Carrolls depiction of poststructuralism presents it in a very negative light, and any antipostructuralist scholar can mine Carrolls book for plenty of germaine quotations from the leading figures in the field to drop into hallway conversation, often out of context, to make the entire enterprise of contemporary criticism look pretty silly.
As a student writing about biology and human behavior, in an academic context where four of my superiors will have to sign off on my research before allowing me to receive the degree that I have worked many years to obtain, I am highly cognizant of the great divide that exists between certain strands of poststructuralist thought and my own research. Moreover, it should be clear to the reader that I too, along with Carroll, find the current decentering of the subject into the realms of discourse a less than satisfactory shorthand, for, convenient as it is for literary scholars, and politically useful as it may be, it entirely ignores the innate aspects of the individual that arise from biology and evolution.
Nevertheless, when cleansed of the seemingly unavoidable exaggeration that all scholars invest their original ideas with, one fact remains: Take queer theory, for example.
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The wonderful and important job that MTVs Real World has done in normalizing the joys of gay sex in our country is so much greater than that achieved by any academician, even of the superstar and highly compensated Sedgwick variety, that the academic discourse fades into near insignificance in the face of popular culture. Therefore, the insights fostered by postructuralism seem vital. One of these, the rediscovery and rehabilitation of Hippolyte Taine, is quite understandable, for Taines History of English Literature was indeed remarkable for its incorporation of Darwins ideas and its biological view of literature.
Taine insisted that "we ought to study the organism in connection with the medium," a call that still sounds true well over a century later qtd.
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Not a fan of modernity, Carroll, in fact, declares: Still, Carrolls discussion goes into the sort of extended, loving detail about Taines work that would only be permissible in a college-press publication, though his discussion does mostly serve to forward his own project of developing a biologically-defensible apparatus of literary theory. Carrolls other hero reveals more about the political nature of his project, for he describes Matthew Arnold as "perhaps the single most important, exemplary figure in the current debate on the canonical value of the Western cultural tradition" Evolution The standard view in most literary-critical schemes is that culture is something that exists on the outside, preserved in a series of ideologically interlocking discourses ready to do its productive work once a new potential subject appears.
As a biologically oriented critic, I tend to view the content-dependent mechanisms within the subject as radically implicated in the creation of culture and cultural discourses, and thus I see an accompanying causal flow from the individual back out, a view that runs directly counter to the literally disembodied view of culture presented in postructural theory.
I will return to this question later, for I do think it is key to conceptually blending the disciplines of biology and literary studies. I hardly see "chaos and barbarism" right around the corner, as Carroll approvingly cites from Roger Kimballs Tenured Radicals, and Ill land on the "hedonistic aesthete" side of the fence with Pater and Bloom, as Carroll describes it, over the traditionalists on Arnolds side any day.
Its not that I dislike Arnolds writing; in my graduate student classes, I often got the idea that I was the only person enjoying reading his prose, which I found deliciously funny. Still, I see little in him to preserve in terms of a culturalist paradigm intended to enhance human civilization, and Im a little suspicious of anyone who does. I have little interest in the intrinsic "rightness" of morals, which to the evolutionary oriented theorist should be obvious as mere adaptive mechanisms codified into prescriptive form, or cultural formulations meant to control other adaptive mechanisms, the whole prescriptive edifice paradoxically outdated at the time that it is most rigorously enforced witness modern religion and its quaint view of sexual propriety, so clearly formulated in the era before modern reproductive technologies, or consider homophobia, or a host of other regressive beliefs that are unfortunately extremely difficult to dislodge.
Nor do I have any interest in "tradition. A recent advertisement proclaims: As a society, we reap the consequences of the unquestioned acceptance of the belief in evolution everyday. The second foundational critic in the field that I think deserves closer examination is Robert Storey, whose Mimesis and the Human Animal: He titles the first section of his work "Pugnacious Preface," and in it he, too, grounds his own explorations in the desire to overturn the ascendancy of postructuralism in the academy.
He describes the prose he was forced to read as a practicing scholar: Everyone was a philosopher, giddy, in J. Austins words, with the ,,ivresse des grands profondeurs and turgidly propounding the gospel according to Derrida or Kristeva or Foucault" xiii.
Like Carroll, he caricatures contemporary criticism as "mere tub-thumping for this or that special-interest group" xvii and proposes biology as a way to reestablish criticism on surer terms with the object it is intended to study. Storey, however, spends more time than Carroll on contemporary scientific research, and in this his approach is closer to my own, and he is especially worth and reduces human beings from being ,,made in the image of God to merely being players in the game of survival of the fittest" Weekly Standard, October 16, , Accompanying the caption is a two-page picture of a gun barrel pointed right at the reader.
Science does, Im happy to point out, seem to break down calcified categories of "correct" behavior, so the conservatives do have a point, so Im actually less understanding of the conservative impetus for Carrolls scholarship. With my free-wheeling social politics and genuine love of ever more perversion and diffraction, I doubt Id ever be inducted into the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. Wilsons Sociobiology in The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science will provide even a reader with relatively basic science skills with plenty of howlingly funny bits of scientific nonsense promulgated by non-scientists--often very well-known ones-- whove stumbled a little beyond the boundaries of their own knowledge.
Nevertheless, Gross and Levitts rhetoric is often arrogant and over-the-top, obviously suited to stirring up the troops, but not particularly suited to the general reconciliation of scientific pursuit informed by ideological awareness that is, I think, the future of both disciplines. As an anthropology student in the s, my teachers were all participating in the backlash against functionalism, so I learned that being a functionalist was the one thing no one wanted to be.
Indeed, not very far into my project I had to immerse myself in anthropological texts again as I worked out a neo-functionalist theoretical paradigm to follow in order to assuage my natural fear of pursuing anything remotely functionalist, which my study most certainly is. Simply put, functionalism--as the school of anthropological theory founded by Bronislaw Malinowski and A. Radcliffe-Brown in the early twentieth century--tended to view cultures as existing in a state of equilibrium that developed in response to the cultures inhabitants precultural needs, so that culture fulfilled the function of creating social stability Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown actually had differences in their theoretical paradigms, but my broad definition remains true for both.
Functionalism clearly had its problems, perhaps most significantly in its valorization of the status quo and in its teleological and tautological underpinnings in other words, the function that a cultural variant fulfilled was defined by the very need that was postulated to define the function.
Functionalism was also criticized by social interactionists, psychologists, ecologists, and psychologists as ignoring the central concerns of their own fields of study. Neo-functionalism, as I will use it, is a more modern compromise in which outside forces, both evolutionary and ecological, are recognized in the construction of systems-level models that take into account genetic fitness and differential reproductive success in order to avoid the tautological shortcomings of old-fashioned functionalism.
That subject is a seeker and maker of meaning first of all--not because it is a bourgeois capitalist, or a hegemonic sexist, or even a benightedly retrograde humanist, but ultimately because it is a genedriven organism that has evolved to live by its wits" The body itself also, I think correctly, resumes a place at the center of the processes shaping cognition and human experience, for Storey observes of the human subject that "always its cognitive compass is the body, that brittle and vulnerable gamete-bearer for which its huge brain anciently evolved: Although Storeys lengthy consideration of Iris Murdoch is great reading, the heart of his study consists of his treatment of the genres of tragedy and comedy.
Both contain extensive histories of the subjects as well as biologically informed corrections of earlier critics, all in a text dense with the usual signs of scholarship. His chapter on "Comedy and the Relaxed OpenMouth Display" is especially important, for Storey locates humor anatomically, in the right side of the brain; evolutionarily, in the facial expressions and behaviors of primates; and descriptively, as involving "the presence of a masterable discrepancy or incongruity, whether of a social or of a cognitive kind" italics in original, But above all, in fitting with his central thesis, he argues that laughter seems to confer "phenotypic advantages"--that is, advantage to the specific individual laughing, for modern science 38 More accurately, he believes selection to occur at the level of the gene, as postulated in Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene as do I, actually--I will describe the importance for the distinction in chapter three.
Still, since the individual is the phenotypic expression of those genes, it makes a useful shorthand to say that selection occurs "at the level of the individual. Storeys evolutionary approach is convincing and novel, and Mimesis and the Human Animal remains one of the most accomplished works in the field to date, although it does exhibit a distinct blindness to ideological forces as they function in the contexts Storey discusses throughout his work.
Even after such a lengthy summary of extant related works and my own clearly stated intentions at the outset, I realize that some readers might still be asking the very sensible question, "so how exactly does one do biologically oriented criticism? Were I a cannier scholar, or one with greater ambition, I would clearly gain from the sort of critical exaggeration that we as scholars see all around us, the disbelief at others ignorance, the feigned joy at ones own miraculous discovery.
Rather, I am aiming more for the sort of Geertzian "thick description" that entranced me so as a young anthropology student, though much "thicker" this time, and thus I cant separate myself so far from contemporary historicist and feminist criticism. As I think the reader will agree in the coming pages, despite their seemingly antithetical natures, my evolutionary approach and existing methods of both textual and extra-textual scholarship actually fit together surprisingly well.
If, as Camille Paglia famously observed, Foucault took "a very little research a very long way," Im afraid I might accomplish the opposite, taking a lot of research a little way, but I promise significant new insights in the process. Whenever a scholar heads into relatively new terrain, the first steps are bound to be a little tentative, but I trust that I will achieve a significant degree of conceptual integration in my quest for a critical method able to participate in the exciting progress made in the cognitive sciences in this new era of genetic research. Heres how I will do it.
I envision a simple organization for my topic, perhaps distressingly simple given the academic context, but for this project I will take my cue from the many fine science writers who appear to value clear, lucid prose far more than we do in the humanities. This is especially important, I think, since no concise introduction to evolutionary thought exists within the 39 The real shame of the current ignorance of science in the humanities is that the current advances in scientific thought are available to scholars working within the "arts" half of "arts and sciences," for unlike literary critics, whose intellectual style often accentuates the cultishness and exclusionary nature of their pastime, the scientific field possesses innumerable writers who can write extremely engaging prose in a manner that describes the concepts involved to any reader of reasonable intelligence.
I will follow the lead of my favorite science writers and endeavor to avoid my well-honed penchant for opacity, carefully nurtured through a long career as a graduate student. The second chapter will first deal with the biology of human perception. Were this a book aimed at a popular audience, Im sure I would title the chapter "why is sugar sweet, why does shit stink, and why does sex feel so good?
In this chapter, I will examine the basic biological universals governing both the human perception of the external world and human behavior. I will start with the pleasure and rewards system in the brain, and show how humans--as well as many other animals--have evolved an internal mechanism that, through chemicals like dopamine, creates pleasure in the presence of things beneficial to survival and reproductive success and displeasure in response to actions or events that might prove deleterious to these pursuits.
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Building upon the research of psychologists like Viktor Johnson and David Buss, I will argue that "sweetness," or even "beauty," are not essential qualities inherent in any given object; rather, the human rewards system has evolved to experience pleasure in response to them because such a response proved beneficial to differential reproductive success in the past environment of evolutionary adaptedness EEA.
Beauty will be of special interest to my study since I am examining pornography and mate-selection later, and large numbers of cross-cultural studies show that, far from having been "invented" in ancient Egypt as Camille Paglia insists, beauty is a comprehensive, universal, and fairly reliable system of signaling reproductive fitness. For Paglias rather fanciful argument, see Sex, Art, and America pages Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Get to Know Us.
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