Evolution and Empathy

The Genetic Factor in the Rise of Humanism

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About the Book

This book applies new scientific research in the fields of biology and genetics to an empirical study of the Greco-Roman civilizations and the European Renaissance. These two periods were remarkable in part because of the dominance of empathy and humanism in the philosophical thought of each era. Both periods were preceded by the influx of many populations and genetic lines, a circumstance this book treats as not coincidental but probably causative.
The author cites the expression of new genetic combinations in these periods as evidence that genetic evolution can play a large part in the development of new philosophical concepts, as manifested in these two periods. The author explains that humanistic traits seem to rise and fall in lockstep throughout human history, directly or indirectly correlating with changing genetic underpinnings.

About the Author(s)

Retired attorney Milton E. Brener has written books and numerous articles on such topics as art, opera and Judaica. He lives in New York City and New Orleans.

Bibliographic Details

Milton E. Brener
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 268
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3665-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5121-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

PART I : PRELIMINARIES

1. The Modern Synthesis      3

2. Toward a More Selfish Gene      9

3. The Nature of Empathy      22

4. Empathy and Affect      29

5. Facial Expression and Affect      33

6. Cerebral Asymmetry      36

PART II : THE PRE-GREEKS

7. Genetics and the Pre-Greeks      41

8. The Pre-Greeks and the Third Dimension      44

9. The Right Brain and Perspective      55

10. Facial Expression in Pre-Greek Art and Literature      58

11. Facial Expression and the Right Brain      65

12. Individuality and Human Sacrifice      67

13. Novelty and Innovation      72

14. The Pre-Greek View of the Natural World      80

15. Genes, Guns, Germs and Steel      84

PART III : THE PHYSIOLOGY

16. The Not So Modern Synthesis      91

17. The Taboos and the Looming Confrontation      97

18. Neurotransmitters and Temperament      106

19. Internal Tone, Eye Color and Temperament      115

PART IV : THE WAYS OF THE GODDESS

20. Greek Geography and Migrations      125

21. Population Genetics and Sexual Selection      133

22. Chinks in the Armor of the Modern Synthesis      140

23. The Baldwin Effect and Genetic Assimilation      145

PART V : HER TOOL KIT

24. Epigenesis      153

25. Genetic Accommodation      161

26. Genetic Facilitation      164

PART VI : THE GRECO-ROMAN RISE AND FALL

27. Greek Politics and Art      171

28. Greek Literature      181

29. The Romans      186

30. A Theater of Opportunity      192

31. The Dark Ages      202

PART VII : THE RENAISSANCE AND BEYOND

32. An Advance Renaissance      211

33. The Renaissance Portrait      219

34. Perspective and the New View of Nature      221

35. Epilogue      230

Chapter Notes      233

Bibliography      241

Index      251

Book Reviews & Awards

“a good read”—The Mankind Quarterly.