The Triumph of Sociobiology / Edition 1

The Triumph of Sociobiology / Edition 1

by John Alcock
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195143833

ISBN-13: 9780195143836

Pub. Date: 06/28/2001

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

In The Triumph of Sociobiology, John Alcock reviews the controversy that has surrounded evolutionary studies of human social behavior following the 1975 publication of E.O. Wilson's classic, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Denounced vehemently as an "ideology" that has justified social evils and inequalities, sociobiology has survived the assault.…  See more details below

Overview

In The Triumph of Sociobiology, John Alcock reviews the controversy that has surrounded evolutionary studies of human social behavior following the 1975 publication of E.O. Wilson's classic, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Denounced vehemently as an "ideology" that has justified social evils and inequalities, sociobiology has survived the assault. Twenty-five years after the field was named by Wilson, the approach he championed has successfully demonstrated its value in the study of animal behavior, including the behavior of our own species. Yet, misconceptions remain--to our disadvantage.

In this straight-forward, objective approach to the sociobiology debate, noted animal behaviorist John Alcock illuminates how sociobiologists study behavior in all species. He confronts the chief scientific and ideological objections head on, with a compelling analysis of case histories that involve such topics as sexual jealousy, beauty, gender difference, parent-offspring relations, and rape. In so doing, he shows that sociobiology provides the most satisfactory scientific analysis of social behavior available today.

Alcock challenges the notion that sociobiology depends on genetic determinism while showing the shortcoming of competing approaches that rely on cultural or environmental determinism. He also presents the practical applications of sociobiology and the progress sociobiological research has made in the search for a more complete understanding of human activities. His reminder that "natural" behavior is not "moral" behavior should quiet opponents fearing misapplication of evolutionary theory to our species. The key misconceptions about this evolutionary field are dissected one by one as the author shows why sociobiologists have had so much success in explaining the puzzling and fascinating social behavior of nonhuman animals and humans alike.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195143836
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
06/28/2001
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction3
Ch. 1What Is Sociobiology?7
Ch. 2What Sociobiologists Study23
Ch. 3Sociobiology and Genes41
Ch. 4Sociobiology and Science57
Ch. 5Science and Reality81
Ch. 6What Have Sociologists Discovered?93
Ch. 7The Problem with Cultural Determinism129
Ch. 8Sociobiology and Human Culture149
Ch. 9The Practical Applications of Sociobiology189
Ch. 10The Triumph of Sociology217
Appendix225
Citations231
Selected References245
Illustration Credits247
Index249

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