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Why are people often so unpredictable? Why do they do things which can cause great personal harm even whey they know this to be the case? Chaos and Intoxication seeks to address these and many other enduring questions through a detailed discussion of the chaotic nature of human existence. Chaos and Intoxication explores three general areas, the first of which is neurobiology and genetics. The evolution of the mind is examined from a Darwinian perspective, drawing attention to the way chance and uncertainty in development are structured by natural selection. Key findings from current biological and medical research are reviewed, the interrelationship between genetics and experience is explored, and Gerald Edelman's theory of the evolution of the mind through natural selection is discussed. The second theme, cognition and collective action, is considered in the light of evidence indicating that the way we think is also subject to natural selection. Furthermore, it is argued that there is a meaningful distinction between reason (adaptive rationality) and formal rationality.
Finally, recent research into chaos theory, order and complexity is reviewed and the preceding discussions of biology, psychology, the role of society and collective action into a general theory of chaos and human nature.
Alan Dean is Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Hull.