• An interrogation of the selfishness paradigm in sociobiology including its explanations of altruism and a response to its interpretation of New Testament love

      Deane-Drummond, Celia; Goddard, Lisa M. D. (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2007-11)
      This thesis is a response to the sociobiological paradigm which sees all aspects of life as fundamentally 'selfish'. This view is built upon two concepts, firstly, that the evolutionary process of natural selection leads to a world characterised by 'selfish' genes and 'selfish' individual organisms. Secondly, that all aspects of human nature, including benevolence, are defined by natural selection and are consequently selfish in motivation also. In Chapter 2, the first of these ideas is shown as inappropriate, not least, because selection favours genes that 'cooperate' and individuals that 'sacrificially' expend themselves in producing offspring. In Chapter 3, the second concept is discounted as only some aspects of human behaviour and culture can be explained in terms of natural selection. These points are central to the discussions on 'altruism' in Chapters 4-6. While sociobiologists have rightly noted that kin and reciprocal forms of 'altruism' occur in nature and in human society, their rendering of them in terms of genetic and individual 'selfishness' is again entirely misleading. The arguments of some sociobiologists for group selected forms of 'altruism' in nature and human culture are shown as unconvincing. Further, the sociobiological contention that human benevolence is constrained to the aiding of kin, reciprocal partners and group members is also countered. Humans exhibit the capacity to care for those outside of these sociobiological categories. Moreover, rather than being primarily selfish in motivation, humans are both more altruistic and more egoistic than the sociobiological view can accommodate. Chapter 7 considers the sociobiological interpretation of the New Testament (NT) teachings on love as selfishly concerned only with the care of kin, reciprocators and group members. This view is largely acceded to by the theologian, Stephen Pope, while another, Patrfcia Williams, has argued that the NT directly strives to counter such innate forms of behaviour. Chapters 8-10 investigate some of the NT teachings on love and argue for a more profound and complex altruism than any of these views. Chapter 8 contends that NT love is a deeply humble and sacrificial altruism where the needs of the other are placed before those of the self; one that is patterned after the example of Christ. It is a radical altruism, which as Chapter 9 argues, encompasses kin but also goes beyond this category in the requirement to love the new family of believers. This love of the group, the church, is itself transcended in a love for all others. Chapter 10 argues that this NT altruism is not bound by reciprocity for it prioritises the care of the weak, those who cannot reciprocate; and extends love to enemies, those who will not reciprocate. The view that such a love is ultimately reciprocal on the grounds of its heavenly reward is countered, as the NT reward of love is the promise that the believer's capacity for self-giving love will be perfected.
    • The Irish in north-east Wales 1851 to 1881

      Swift, Roger; Jones, Peter (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2002-01)
      This study derives from the interest of recent years in the Irish during the late Victorian period in the smaller towns of Britain. Much work has been done on the Irish in the larger conurbations of industrial England and Scotland, particularly in the 1830s and 1840s - work that has overshadowed the experience of the Irish elsewhere, skewing the historiography and locking the migrants into a huddled mass in a northern city. However, the 'Wild Milesians' of Thomas Carlyle, living cheek-by-jowl with Engels's pig in the slums of Liverpool and Manchester, have come to be seen as less than typical of the Irish, especially the second and third generations of the migrants living in provincial towns. Furthermore, the representation of the Irish as uniformly poor, wretched and Catholic has been revised. Again, the phenomenon of 'ethnic fade' was assumed to have occurred as the nineteenth century progressed, so that after the initial troubled years, the Irish merged with the 'host' population. However, differing rates and degrees of assimilation have been revealed; indeed, religious and political differences among the Irish themselves, frequently violent in their expression, were often defining characteristics of Irishness. Following in the footsteps of micro - studies of the Irish in the regions and smaller towns, this study aims to examine the experience of the Irish in the later nineteenth century in an area hitherto neglected in the historiography, namely, North-East Wales, with particular reference to the towns of Wrexham, Mold, Holywell and Flint.
    • Landownership and settlement change in south-west Cheshire from 1750 to 2000

      White, Graeme J; Gaunt, Peter; Bird, Polly (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2007-12)
      This work analyses the impact of landownership on the physical development and other factors affecting settlements in south-west Cheshire between 1750 and 2000, seeking to demonstrate the hypothesis that landownership was the overriding influence on settlement growth or decline. To assist in this the work also addresses the related problem of how most accurately to analyse landownership in townships. It therefore presents an original methodology using the Herfmdahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) in an historical context to determine the amount of landowner concentration in a township. The use of HHI as a measure of landownership concentration (indicating the extent of large landowner control) is presented as a more accurate, easy to use, quantifiable method of analysis than the traditional distinction between 'open' and 'closed'. Following a demonstration of HHI's superiority over the traditional terms using examples in south-west Cheshire, HHI is used to analyse the effect on settlement development of landownership trends in the area. HHI is then used to analyse the effect of dominant landowners on the main population trends, transport infrastructure, farming, enclosure and twentieth-century planning and legislation in relation to settlement development in the area. HHI supports the main conclusion that decisions made by large landowners and subsequently planners in south-west Cheshire had a continuous and profound effect on settlement patterns and development from the mid-eighteenth century up to the end of the twentieth century. The intervention and influence of the major landowners and twentieth-century planners hindered settlement growth. Landowners had both a direct influence on settlement development through the buying and selling of land and an indirect influence through their role in determining the transport infrastructure and their bequest of a prevailing pattern of land use, which in turn was preserved via modern planning decisions. Following the decline of major landowners during the early twentieth century, planning laws restricted building in agricultural areas with the aim of preserving agricultural land. Analysis of land tax records in conjunction with HHI shows that although landownership consolidation took place, the number of smaller landowners was maintained and even increased in places and such building as took place was focussed on the increasing number of smaller plots. HHI also demonstrates the discernible trend that in south-west Cheshire the settlements that were the larger, more open settlements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were those that increased in size both physically and in terms of population throughout the period while the smaller closed settlements tended to stagnate or decline. Overall the research has demonstrated that settlements flourished in low HHI townships with less control by large landowners, that settlements in high HHI townships were rarely allowed to grow, and that patterns established in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were perpetuated into the late twentieth and early twenty-first century by a conservative approach to planning.