The Brown University Book Award is awarded to an outstanding high school or preparatory school junior who best combines academic excellence with clarity in written and spoken expression.This year (2018-2019)
, the Brown University Book Award is The Human Instinct
by Kenneth R. Miller, '70.
Kenneth Miller's new book offers a radical, optimistic exploration of how humans evolved to develop reason, consciousness, and free will.
Lately, the most passionate advocates of the theory of evolution seem to present it as bad news. Scientists tell us that our most intimate actions, thoughts, and values are mere byproducts of thousands of generations of mindless adaptation. They claim that we are just one species among multitudes, and therefore no more significant than any other living creature.
However, Kenneth Miller makes the case that this view betrays a gross misunderstanding of evolution. In The Human Instinct
, he rejects the idea that our biological heritage means that human thought, action, and imagination are pre-determined, describing instead the trajectory that ultimately gave us reason, consciousness and free will.
Equal parts natural science and philosophy, The Human Instinct
is a moving and powerful celebration of what it means to be human.
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