Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition / Edition 2

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Overview

View a collection of videos on Professor Wilson entitled "On the Relation of Science and the Humanities"

Harvard University Press is proud to announce the re-release of the complete original version of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis--now available in paperback for the first time. When this classic work was first published in 1975, it created a new discipline and started a tumultuous round in the age-old nature versus nurture debate. Although voted by officers and fellows of the international Animal Behavior Society the most important book on animal behavior of all time, Sociobiology is probably more widely known as the object of bitter attacks by social scientists and other scholars who opposed its claim that human social behavior, indeed human nature, has a biological foundation. The controversy surrounding the publication of the book reverberates to the present day.

In the introduction to this Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition, Edward O. Wilson shows how research in human genetics and neuroscience has strengthened the case for a biological understanding of human nature. Human sociobiology, now often called evolutionary psychology, has in the last quarter of a century emerged as its own field of study, drawing on theory and data from both biology and the social sciences.

For its still fresh and beautifully illustrated descriptions of animal societies, and its importance as a crucial step forward in the understanding of human beings, this anniversary edition of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis will be welcomed by a new generation of students and scholars in all branches of learning.

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Editorial Reviews

Harper's

This book enthralls and enchants...If you have this book...you can begin getting your mind ready for the illuminations about human society.
— Lewis Thomas

Scientific American

Rarely has the world been provided with such a splendid stepping stone for an exciting future of a new science.
— John Tyler Bonner

Nature

Its contents do indeed provide a new synthesis, of wide perspective and great authority...Wilson's plain uncluttered prose is a treat to read, his logic is rigorous, his arguments are lucid.
— V. C. Wymne-Edwards

Quarterly Review of Biology
This book will stand as a landmark in the comparative study of social behavior.
Times Literary Supplement
Sociobiology is an excellent book, full of extraordinary insights, and replete with the beauty and poetry of the animal kingdom.
The Atlantic

It is impossible to leave Wilson's book without having one's sense of life permanently and dramatically widened.
— Fred Hapgood

Times Higher Education Supplement

Sociobiology explores the possibility that animal social behaviour—group living, kinship, attraction and mating, reciprocity and sharing, cooperation, conflict, and cheating, to name just the most familiar—has a genetic basis and can be shaped by natural selection: genes can be shaped by natural selection: genes can code for social behaviours in the same way that they code for body parts such as hands, hooves, eyes, antlers and ears. But, in an audacious final chapter, Wilson extended the analysis to humans: biology had grabbed our kinship, cooperation, mate preferences and the rest. Some branded Wilson and his ideas fascist, others as racist or guilty of genetic determinism. They are none of these things and, two Pulitzer Prizes later, Wilson has been vindicated...Wilson's Sociobiology laid the foundations for a lifetime of meditations.
— Mark Pagel

Practical Psychology
Sociobiology, a new concept, is one with extraordinary potential value for understanding and explaining human behavior.
Contemporary Sociology

A towering theoretical achievement of exceptional elegance...Like most great books, Sociobiology is unpedantic, lucid, and eminently accessible.
— Pierre L. van den Berghe

Harper's - Lewis Thomas
This book enthralls and enchants...If you have this book...you can begin getting your mind ready for the illuminations about human society.
Scientific American - John Tyler Bonner
Rarely has the world been provided with such a splendid stepping stone for an exciting future of a new science.
Nature - V. C. Wymne-Edwards
Its contents do indeed provide a new synthesis, of wide perspective and great authority...Wilson's plain uncluttered prose is a treat to read, his logic is rigorous, his arguments are lucid.
The Atlantic - Fred Hapgood
It is impossible to leave Wilson's book without having one's sense of life permanently and dramatically widened.
Times Higher Education Supplement - Mark Pagel
Sociobiology explores the possibility that animal social behaviour--group living, kinship, attraction and mating, reciprocity and sharing, cooperation, conflict, and cheating, to name just the most familiar--has a genetic basis and can be shaped by natural selection: genes can be shaped by natural selection: genes can code for social behaviours in the same way that they code for body parts such as hands, hooves, eyes, antlers and ears. But, in an audacious final chapter, Wilson extended the analysis to humans: biology had grabbed our kinship, cooperation, mate preferences and the rest. Some branded Wilson and his ideas fascist, others as racist or guilty of genetic determinism. They are none of these things and, two Pulitzer Prizes later, Wilson has been vindicated...Wilson's Sociobiology laid the foundations for a lifetime of meditations.
Contemporary Sociology - Pierre L. Van Den Berghe
A towering theoretical achievement of exceptional elegance...Like most great books, Sociobiology is unpedantic, lucid, and eminently accessible.
Steve Sailer
Great fiction does not grow obsolete. Nor, in its own way, does great propaganda. In contrast, truly important scientific books render themselves obsolete by opening new fields for subsequent scholars to elaborate. Edward O. Wilson's 1975 landmark, Sociology which introduced neo- Darwinism to the public- and which has now been reissued to mark its 25th anniversary- is just such a book. Vast yet coherent, Sociology demonstrated in rigorous detail how Darwinian selection molded the various ways in which all animals from the lowly corals to the social insects to the highest primates- compete and cooperate with others of their own species.
National Review/ June 2000
Booknews
<:st>Reprint of the classic first published in 1975 and cited in . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
John Pfeiffer
"Wilson turns a connoisseur's eye on contemporary societies, judging them on the basis of how completely individuals work together, how effectively individuals or ego has been modified for the good of the whole...In any case,Sociobiology: The New Synthesis has much to say about what is happening to us here and now. It is devoted largely to discussion of factors favoring cooperation - defense against predators, outcompeting competitors, more effective feeding and breeding, and so on...Actually the book may be regarded as an evolutionary event in itself, announcing for all who can hear that we are on the verge of breakthroughs in the effort to understand our place in the scheme of things." Books of the Century, The New York Times, July, 1975
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674002357
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition description: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 720
  • Sales rank: 294,258
  • Product dimensions: 9.88 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 1.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward O. Wilson is Pellegrino University Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University. In addition to two Pulitzer Prizes (one of which he shares with Bert Hölldobler), Wilson has won many scientific awards, including the National Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
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Table of Contents

  • Part I. Social Evolution
    • 1. The Morality of the Gene
    • 2. Elementary Concepts of Sociobiology
    • 3. The Prime Movers of Social Evolution
    • 4. The Relevant Principles of Population Biology
    • 5. Group Selection and Altruism
    • 6. Group Size, Reproduction, and Time-Energy Budgets


  • Part II. Social Mechanisms
    • 7. The Development and Modification of Social Behavior
    • 8. Communication: Basic Principles
    • 9. Communication: Functions and Complex Systems
    • 10. Communication: Origins and Evolution
    • 11. Aggression
    • 12. Social Spacing, Including Territory
    • 13. Dominance Systems
    • 14. Roles and Castes
    • 15. Sex and Society
    • 16. Paternal Care
    • 17. Social Symbioses


  • Part III. The Social Species
    • 18. The Four Pinnacles of Social Evolution
    • 19. The Colonial Microorganisms and Invertebrates
    • 20. The Social Insects
    • 21. The Cold-Blooded Vertebrates
    • 22. The Birds
    • 23. Evolutionary Trends within the Mammals
    • 24. The Ungulates and Elephants
    • 25. The Carnivores
    • 26. The Nonhuman Primates
    • 27. Man: From Sociobiology to Sociology


  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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