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The ecoDarwinian Paradigm By Richard Ostrofsky
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The ecoDarwinian paradigm replaces our traditional explanatory metaphor of a supreme author and king with scientific concepts of evolution and ecology. Rather than explain Nature top-down by asking... More > who wanted something and for what purpose, it seeks a dynamic bottom-up explanation, by asking how and under what influences a system configured itself along the lines observed. Today we begin to understand the mind itself as an outcome of self-organizing firing patterns in a highly evolved brain. To many, these new ideas will seem far more dangerous (once grasped) than our kinship with the apes. This book uses dialog format to review our emerging theory of mind, and to discuss its human implications.< Less
Second Thoughts By Richard Ostrofsky
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The essays and short pieces in this collection were written over a period of eleven years while the author and his partner Carol Motuz ran Second Thoughts Bookstore on Sunnyside Avenue, in Old Ottawa... More > South. The Gods at Play offers a provocative approach that rejects the notion of revelation, but takes religion seriously as myth. It features a partly (but only partly) tongue-in-cheek defense of polytheism. The Idea of the Self and At the Limits of Agency use perspectives from Zen and recent neuro-psychology to re-consider what it means to be a human person acting in the world. The last essay, Shalom Father, is a letter from the author to his deceased father, discussing their troubled relationship and attempting to make a posthumous peace. The short pieces (70 of them) are selected columns that Richard wrote for OSCAR, the neighborhood's community newspaper.< Less
Sharing Realities: Toward an Epistemology of Conversation By Richard Ostrofsky
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Our senses do not take in the world as it is. Rather the mind construes an intelligible world for human and personal purposes. What remains of reason, truth and knowledge when this post-modern... More > insight is accepted? This book draws a sharp distinction between responsible pluralism and anything-goes relativism, arguing that Nietzsche and his followers are correct that all cognition depends on willful acts of interpretation, but wrong in concluding that discourse between interpretive cultures can be nothing more than a power struggle. It responds to the post-modern "scandal of interpretations" by showing how public truth may be construed, and deployed in policy making, as a structure of argument among conflicting strategies of understanding.< Less