Posted in Reader's Responses

“Dangers of Certainty” & “The Riddle of the Human Species”

Critchley’s idea that the pursuit of knowledge is a moral issue brought up a point that I have never really heard discussed in depth. Normally, when we hear about morality versus science, science is cold and distant, yielding hard facts that don’t bend based on what we believe to be right or wrong. When we step back and look at science from a moral standpoint, however, it puts it in a whole new light. According to the author’s principle of tolerance, even science can never give us true facts, yet we still pursue knowledge through these means, because we, as humans, feel obligated to further our understanding of the world around us.

“The Riddle of the Human Species” relates back to this in many ways. If we look at the human anomaly of eusociality, by which Homo Sapiens was able to evolve at a shockingly fast pace, we can see a showcase of the two evolutionary theories presented later in the essay. One of these describes rising through the “ranks” of evolution through competition with other species, while the other describes cooperation in order to evolve. With only two such theories, how is it that eusociality occurs so rarely? Did the human race find some sort of perfect balance between these two methods? Perhaps the answer to this question is driven by the human pursuit of knowledge as a facet of morality.

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