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EGENIS seminar: “Social Practices as Biological Niche Construction”, Prof Joseph Rouse (Wesleyan University)

Egenis seminar series

This talk introduces central themes from a forthcoming book that seeks to overcome the conceptual bifurcations between human animality and sociocultural persons that are built into our academic disciplines and intellectual life. This re-conception draws on recent developments in evolutionary biology--- ecological-developmental biology, niche construction, and work on early hominin evolution. It also reworks the social theory of practices as the basic makeup of human social life into a “naturecultural” conception of the evolution of practice-differentiated human developmental environments.

Event details

After reviewing this background, the talk emphasizes three consequential outcomes of this project: a recognition of the normativity of human ways of life as a biological phenomenon; an understanding of language and other conceptual practices as forms of niche construction; and an expressivist conception of power as an aspect of our practice-differentiated way of life. A coda to the talk highlights the significance of our socioecological interdependence with other organisms.

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