The Biophilia Hypothesis / Edition 1

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<p>"Biophilia" is the term coined by Edward O. Wilson to describe what he believes is our innate affinity for the natural world. In his landmark book Biophilia, he examined how our tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes might be a biologically based need, integral to our development as individuals and as a species. That idea has caught the imagination of diverse thinkers.<p>The Biophilia Hypothesis brings together the views of some of the most creative scientists of our time, each attempting to amplify and refine the concept of biophilia. The variety of perspectives - psychological, biological, cultural, symbolic, and aesthetic - frame the theoretical issues by presenting empirical evidence that supports or refutes the hypothesis. Numerous examples illustrate the idea that biophilia and its converse, biophobia, have a genetic component: <ul> <li>fear, and even full-blown phobias of snakes and spiders are quick to develop with very little negative reinforcement, while more threatening modern artifacts - knives, guns, automobiles - rarely elicit such a response <li>people find trees that are climbable and have a broad, umbrella-like canopy more attractive than trees without these characteristics <li>people would rather look at water, green vegetation, or flowers than built structures of glass and concrete </ul> The biophilia hypothesis, if substantiated, provides a powerful argument for the conservation of biological diversity. More important, it implies serious consequences for our well-being as society becomes further estranged from the natural world. Relentless environmental destruction could have a significant impact on our quality of life, not just materially but psychologically and even spiritually.

This book brings together the views of some of the most creative scientists of our time, each attempting to amplify and refine the concept of biophilia. Contributors to this volume include Jared Diamond, Aaron Katcher, Richard Nelson and others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The editors draw together a collection of scholarly essays both supporting and refuting the biophilia concept, a term coined by Pulitzer Prize winner Wilson to describe humankind's innate affiliation with nature. June
Library Journal
This timely collection of essays represents a first attempt to substantiate the biophilia hypothesis--the theory that humans have an innate affiliation with other living organisms--introduced by Wilson in his earlier book Biophilia (Harvard Univ. Pr., 1984) and further considered in his recent The Diversity of Life ( LJ 3/1/93). In the opening section, the editors categorize the different aspects of human behavior through which biophilia may be expressed. In the following chapters scientists from various disciplines review the relevant research, including scenic preference studies, evidence of therapeutic benefits from contact with animals and natural settings, and studies of cognitive functioning and language development in children and in hunter-gatherer cultures. Most of the contributors are committed conservationists concerned that our species will in its headlong rush for technological affluence discover too late how dependent the human personality is on biodiversity for emotional and spiritual health. Recommended for academic science collections and public libraries with a high interest in environmental studies.-- Joan S. Elbers, formerly with Montgomery Coll., Rockville, Md.
A collection of invited papers exploring Edward O. Wilson's biophilia hypothesis, which declares humanity's innate affinity for the natural world to be a biological need, integral to our development as individuals and as a species. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559631471
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 720,094
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Prelude: "A Siamese Connexion with a Plurality of Other Mortals"
PART I. Clarifying the Concept
Chapter 1. Biophilia and the Conservation Ethic
Chapter 2. The Biological Basis for Human Values of Nature
PART II. Affect and Aesthetics
Chapter 3. Biophilia, Biophobia, and Natural Landscapes
Chapter 4. Humans, Habitats, and Aesthetics
Chapter 5. Dialogue with Animals: Its Nature and Culture
PART III. Culture
Chapter 6. Searching for the Lost Arrow: Physical and Spiritual Ecology in the Hunter's World
Chapter 7. The Loss of Floral and Faunal Story: The Extinction of Experience
Chapter 8. New Guineans and Their Natural World
PART IV. Symbolism
Chapter 9. On Animal Friends
Chapter 10. The Sacred Bee, the Filthy Pig, and the Bat Out of Hell: Animal Symbolism as Cognitive Biophilia
PART V. Evolution
Chapter 11. God, Gaia, and Biophilia
Chapter 12. Of Life and Artifacts
PART VI. Ethics and Political Action
Chapter 13. Biophilia, Selfish Genes, Shared Values
Chapter 14. Love It or Lose It: The Coming Biophilia Revolution
Chapter 15. Biophilia: Unanswered Questions

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