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1. Sociobiology: The New Synthesis,
2. The Triumph of Sociobiology
3. Sociobiology: The Abridged Edition
4. God's Eugenicist: Alexis Carrel
5. Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology
6. Sociobiology Debate: Readings
7. Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology
8. Marx and Sociobiology
9. Ideas of Human Nature: From the
10. Sociobiology and Bioeconomics:
11. The Sociobiology Debate
12. Sociobiology and the Law: The
13. Neuropolitics: The Sociobiology
14. E.O. Wilson and B.F. Skinner:
15. Sociobiology, Sex, and Science
16. Sociobiology and the Preemption
17. The One Per Cent Advantage: The
18. A Sociobiology Compendium: Aphorisms,
19. Sociobiology and the Human Dimension
20. Listen to the animals: The fundamentals

1. Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition
by Edward O. Wilson
Paperback: 720 Pages (2000-03-04)
list price: US$48.00 -- used & new: US$36.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674002350
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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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.Amazon.com Review
E.O. Wilson defines sociobiology as "the systematic study ofthe biological basis of all social behavior," the central theoreticalproblem of which is the question of how behaviors that seeminglycontradict the principles of natural selection, such as altruism, candevelop. Sociobiology: A New Synthesis, Wilson's first attemptto outline the new field of study, was first published in 1975 andcalled for a fairly revolutionary update to the so-called ModernSynthesis of evolutionary biology. Sociobiology as a new field ofstudy demanded the active inclusion of sociology, the social sciences,and the humanities in evolutionary theory. Often criticized for itsapparent message of "biological destiny," Sociobiology set thestage for such controversial works as Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene andWilson's own Consilience.

Sociobiology defines such concepts as society,individual, population, communication, andregulation. It attempts to explain, biologically, why groups ofanimals behave the way they do when finding food or shelter,confronting enemies, or getting along with one another.Wilson seeksto explain how group selection, altruism, hierarchies, and sexualselection work in populations of animals, and to identify evolutionarytrends and sociobiological characteristics of all animal groups, up toand including man. The insect sections of the books are particularlyinteresting, given Wilson's status as the world's most famousentomologist.

It is fair to say that as an ecologicalstrategy eusociality has been overwhelmingly successful. It is usefulto think of an insect colony as a diffuse organism, weighing anywherefrom less than a gram to as much as a kilogram and possessing fromabout a hundred to a million or more tiny mouths.

It'swhen Wilson starts talking about human beings that the furor starts.Feminists have been among the strongest critics of the work, arguingthat humans are not slaves to a biological destiny, forever locked in"primitive" behavior patterns without the ability to reason past ourbiochemical nature. Like The Origin ofSpecies, Sociobiology has forced many biologists andsocial scientists to reassess their most cherished notions of how lifeworks. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Totally Awesome!
This book is, to my mind, the most important single book on social behavior in animals and humans, edging out Darwin's The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), as well as Maynard Smith's Evolution and the Theory of Games (1982). Only 30 of the book's 575 pages are devoted to Homo sapiens, but this is the part I am interested in, and the part I will discuss in this review.

I recently reread Wilson's Sociobiology because I had only a vague memory of what exactly he said about human sociobiology, but numerous writers alluded to the crudeness and inaccuracy of Wilson's analysis. It is well known that Wilson's sociobiology of our species was bitterly critiqued by liberals and Marxists for its "reductionism," and "biological determinism." It is well known that sociobiology has shed these criticisms in recent years, but some have alleged that the radical's critique of Wilson's early contribution to human sociobiology is, regretfully, well-deserved.

To my surprise, upon rereading I found this charge to be quite without merit. We may know much more about human sociobiology today than a third of a century ago, but Wilson's general exposition is virtually flawless. Wilson's central point is that human genetic development has created a species that enjoys a plasticity of social organization orders of magnitude more flexible than that of other species. Human genes, so to speak, liberate us for a panorama of cultural life-worlds. Reductionist this is not. Genetic determinist this is not. Wilson speculates that genes promoting flexibility in social behavior are strongly selected on the individual level, but he follows Darwin in speculating that group selection may have been important in making us who we are.

Of course, Wilson decisively rejects the "tabula rasa" view that the human mind can be successfully indoctrinated into any arbitrary cultural system (the devout wish of the social engineers of the political left and right)."Although the genes have given away most of their sovereignty," he asserts, "they maintain a certain amount of influence in at least the behavioral qualities that underlie variations between cultures. Moderately high heritability has been documented in introversion-extroversion measures... neuroticism... depression, and the tendency toward certain forms of mental illness such as schizophrenia." (p. 550) Wilson suggest that the field of "anthropological genetics" could lead us to a valid model of the biological foundations of human nature. Wilson describes two widely disparate methods of anthropological genetics. The first uses laboratory experiments to identify the individual units of human behavior, for instance Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs and George Homans' behavioral moral theory.The second is phylogenetic analysis, in which we compare and contrast humans with other related species. At the time Sociobiology was written, this method was popularized by Konrad Lorenz, Robert Ardrey, Desmond Morris, Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox, and others. Wilson is (rightly) skeptical of this body of research, preferring to derive genetic predispositions by establishing "the lowest taxonomic level at which each character shows significant intertaxon variation." (p. 551)

"Human societies have effloresced to levels of extreme complexity because their members have the intelligence and flexibility to play role of virtually any degree of specification, and to switch them as the occasion demands." (p554) In sociological theory, Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons had developed socialization theories in which individuals internalize social norms, and thus become "indoctrinated" with values that lead them to behave prosocially even when it is not in their material interest to do so. Wilson attributes this idea to Campbell (1972), and discusses the possibility that group selection is involved in this sophisticated aspect of human psychology. This, of course, has become a major theme in contemporary sociobiology.

"Scientists and humanists should consider together the possibility," says Wilson, "that the time has come for ethics to be removed temporarily from the hands of the philosophers and biologicized." (p. 562) Wilson's discussion of this issue is incisive and nuanced. Today we would say simply that human ethics is a central aspect of human evolution, and that morality is the product of a gene-culture coevolutionary dynamic that must be studied in a purely scientific manner. Wilson clearly understands that human culture sets the stage for human genetic evolution just as much as the converse.

In sum, I could find no hint of the reductionism and biological determinism that critiques have charged permeates Wilson's treatment of human sociality. Rather, I find a sophisticated and nuanced analysis that includes most of the theoretical tools that were to be developed over the succeeding four decades. Wilson's judgment here is deeply moderate and considered, leading me to believe that his bitter critics simply recoiled at the reasonable suggestion that there are biological foundations to human behavior and morality, and hence limits to the extent that humans can be indoctrinated into extreme anti-humanistic ideologies. The true enemies of human freedom are those who yearn for a system of totalizing culture that is capable of eliminating individual will and reducing people to cogsS in an immense social machine. Probably such enemies of freedom cannot succeed in the long run, but they certainly have the capacity to ruin the lives of millions in the attempt.

5-0 out of 5 stars As good as science can be
This book caused a lot of controversy in the 70's because it states that humans are animals and that their societies can be investigated and understood by biology. Apparently since Darwin called humans animals no other scientist had caused such anger among the ones who "think" of themselves as the reason for the existence of the Universe.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Tests of Time
Dr. Wilson's "Sociobiology," together with "The Insect Societies" and "On Human Nature" (that three volume set is essential to any thinking man's library) is sufficient to challenge and focus any perspective on Evolution and Society.These volumes, even after 30 yrs., simply do not allow themselves to be ignored.Someone without both concentration and some technical background will have a tough time with "Sociobiology."Dr. Wilson presents a very detailed argument, quite reminescent of "Insect Societies."That said, the writing style is engaging and clearly directed at the non-professional reader.The Point:I gave copies of all three volumes to my children when they left home for the university.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good read, but more like ascience textbook
Having been a science major, this book at times reminded me of reading a biology textbook. At other times though, the author does use his literary skills and story telling ability and keeping things humourous; especially when he tells of the murder, deception, treachery, intrigue and chemical warfare of his beloved ants.

There is A LOT of theory in this book. He will typically describe an organisms behavior or behavioral trends and then desrcibe the competing hypothoses for these trends, phenomena or divergance from these typical trends.

Like I said though, this book is technical. Don't attempt reading it unless you have completed 2 courses of undergrad biology and calculus, as well as chemisty (most of the chemicals used by ants and the like involve simple organic compounds I was a chem major myself.)

In other words, this is not like On Human Nature or Journey to the Ants: This is more like a 3rd or 4th year advanced biology course textbook.

5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended by a dissenter
Great read!Well written, well thought out but I disagree strongly with parallels drawn with human societies.Would recommend this wholeheartedly for every thoughtful reader. ... Read more

2. The Triumph of Sociobiology
by John Alcock
Paperback: 272 Pages (2003-05-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.97
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Asin: 0195163354
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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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 evolutionary analysis of social behavior today. ""A clear, evocative, and accurate account of the history and content on the subject, inviting to the student and the general reader alike.""--Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University.Amazon.com Review
Scientists tend to be a bit insecure about their position in society. Nowhere is this more evident than in the decades-old sociobiology debate, and behavioral scientist John Alcock tries to shore up his side against the sometimes hysterical opposition in The Triumph of Sociobiology. Inevitably, the book is somewhat defensive and apologetic, but the author explains himself and his field well and will convince most readers that studying the evolution of behavior is no more controversial than any other aspect of evolution. Between charming, engaging tales of field study and intriguing analyses of the chief arguments against sociobiology, Alcock disarms the reader's natural discomfort with the topic and makes his case clearly.

Humans have not always had all the cultural accouterments of Hutus or Englishmen. At one time not so many million years ago, our ancestors could make only rudimentary tools while surely communicating in a far less sophisticated manner than we do currently. The immense increase in brain size over the last million or so years must have had profound consequences for our capacity to learn and acquire our culture. If you accept the less-than-revolutionary assumption that brains are necessary for learned behavior, then past selection on hominids that varied in their capacity for culture is a certainty.

But doesn't sociobiology justify rape, racism, and genocide? Not so fast, says Alcock. Just because behavior has a natural explanation, that doesn't make it moral. It would seem that those who want to prevent this sort of behavior would be keenly interested in understanding why it manifests, but often the opposite case pertains. Through gentle dissection of the differences between scientific and ethical knowledge, Alcock shows that we can use them to complement each other. The Triumph of Sociobiology takes time and care to examine all the claims made against the field, both political and scientific, and ends up making a strong case for deeper research. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good book, with caveats
First let me say that I found this book interesting and convincing; I considered giving it 5 stars.

Second, let me say that if you are looking at this book because you read the highly popular book "Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea" and you are hoping that this similarly named book is similar in presentation and content, beware -- it is not.Carl Zimmer's book on evolution is a beautifully illustrated, highly readable book for the masses; this book is not.If you are not already well-versed on the mechanics of evolution, or for some reason can't accept them, then it seems unlikely that you will truly understand this book.

Third, I consider the title of this book slightly inappropriate for the book's content.Better titles might be
- In Defense of Sociobiology
- Sociobiology: the Maligned Science
A constant theme throughout the book is that detractors of sociobiology have judged the discipline unfairly.Alcock makes an excellent case for this, particularly in the chapter near the end on practical applications of the discipline.Still, this is probably the most defensive book I have ever read -- quite a lot of text is devoted to what opponents of sociobiology say and why they are wrong, so understand what this book is: a defense of the discipline in the face of harsh, even abusive criticism.Of course, Alcock explains a lot about sociobiology in the process of defending it.

If you're OK with that, and you have the appropriate background and interest to read about how natural selection appears to have shaped the behavioral mechanisms of birds and beetles, then you will find this a good read.

The controversy over sociobiology is evident in discussions about why some men rape women.Sociobiology explores, via the scientific method, the possibility that there could be a genetic influence -- i.e. that in our ancient ancestral males, genes that increased the likelihood of rape might have been more likely to be passed on to future generations.The problem many people have with this is that they feel that an argument that there is anything in our genome which would contribute to the likelihood of a man raping a woman is in effect a justification of rape, a declaration that rape is natural and therefore morally excusable.Alcock does an excellent job of dealing with this subject in his chapter on practical applications, and in fact turns the tables by explaining the harm in pretending that there is no such influence if in fact there is.

Alcock makes repeated mention of "blank slate theorists" -- those who believe that the human brain is not genetically predisposed to any behavior, instead being "programmed" by its environment.To me it seems incredible that anyone could think that humans are exempt from genetic influences on behavior.

Take human obesity, for example.In the environment of our ancient (pre-human, no doubt) ancestors, it was a highly useful adaptation to be able to detect the presence of sugars and fats in vegetable matter and to preferentially eat such tissues.It is easy to imagine how individuals with such genes would be more likely to survive to pass on their genes.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, when we are less active physically but have stores chock full of foods with very high concentrations of fats and sugars.Our taste buds direct us to such foods.The result? -- maladaptive behavior, poor eating habits that lead to obesity, diabetes, and a host of other problems.Isn't it clear...
- that genes influence our behavior?
- that those influences may be maladaptive in the modern environment?
- that genomic influences on our behavior do not imply moral correctness?
If you were trying to combat obesity in the population through education, would you shy away from talking about these genetic contributions for fear that people would consider it natural and good to eat lots of sugars and fats?Or would you help people understand these tendencies in hopes that they would understand that what feels good is not necessarily good for them and ultimately exercise more control in their dietary choices?

And given that human reproductive systems come online at about age 13 but many modern cultures don't condone sex at that age, would acknowledging that there is a genetic basis for sexual desire at that age effectively condone teenage sex and make it more rampant?Should we deny that there is any such genetic foundation, instead treating teenage sexual desire as a cultural artifact -- the "in thing" -- so as not to imply its moral correctness?Would that help?

I'm making up these examples and I'm not a sociobiologist, so take them with a grain of salt, but hopefully they illustrate the point: what would it mean if there were genetic influences that contribute to behaviors that we consider objectionable?

This book, for those with sufficient background, is a good treatment of sociobiology itself and the controversy around it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Biology, Yes.Social, Triumphant? No
First, the good news.Judging from the cases reported in this book biologists have done some good field work that can help frame the study of sociobiology and answer some questions about competition.Mating is a social act because it involves two individuals.Therefore the studies in this bookwhich are mostly about reproduction are, strictly speaking, about a social aspect of biology.

But Alcock has limited his universe of discourse to only the physical acts associated with reproduction. He looks only at the competitive aspects of sociobiology. At one point he declares that 'fitness' is 'reproductive fitness' - i.e. success in reproduction. Fitness is an individual quality, not one of a population.(This is a peculiar view and one that feminists might naturally object to because if one digs deeply one sees that itoften assumes implicitly that fitness pertains only to males and that males reproduce without much help from females.) Thus any behaviors that do not increase one's number of offspring are irrellevant in reckoning fitness. (leading me to wonder how many offspring the writing of this book resulted in for the author. And if none, what its use might have been to the author. Or its reading to us?) Alcock's is alimited definition of fitness that can only be made by a person who lives in a country filled with peopleand livestock who never starve.A country bereft of any other interesting biology.Social behavior in the absence of want reduces exactly to this: copulation and production of offspring.

But all species evolve in an environment with physical limitations.If predation and emigration and disease fail to control population density, then famine will do so.Social behavior of many animals that have escaped predation has evolved to take periodic shortage into consideration. William's thought experiment that Alcock cites to dismiss population-based ideas about fitness seems not to take this idea into account.(One can in a short afternoon prove mathematically that cooperation can arise evolutionarily in species exposed to periodic food scarcity.) Since the whole of Alcock's view of sociobiology is based on the frequently false assumption of plentitude, it manages to illuminate just part of the world of sociobiology.And it happens to be the UNSOCIAL part.

The triumph of sociobiology, presumably, is that it is scientific. But Alcock's defenses againstGould's argument thatsociobiology is 'just stories' are not completely persuasive. For example, the single example of social behavior in the book that did not deal with some aspect of mating and competition for mating rites involved some insects that live on the surface of the water.They tend to congregate in groups. Why? The researchers tested the hypothesis that 'the reason' had to do with safety. The researcher did a bunch of experiments with some of these bugs and some predatory fish and discovered that the bigger the group of bugs, the higher the 'strike rate'and plots a straightline over the data which does not fit very well.The conclusion? I forget. The analysis is unconvincing. Here is an alternative analysis:

If one assumed that the bugs assembled in a circle, and that the probability of observation were related to the diameter of the circle, then the strike rate would go up with the square root of the group size. Plot this relationship on the chart and the fit is better.The resulting story is that an individual probability of loss to predation, in this case, is something like inversely proportional to the square root of the number in the group.Good, so it's predation.

Not so fast. As Wilson points out early in his book on Sociobiology, finding an explanatory model does not necessarily prove that it is the right one.He even cites the grouping example as one of these problems.Another explanation is that it makes mating more convenient, for example. In predatory animals it produces opportunities for cooperation and increases the likelihood of success in hunting.How big a role does each mechanism play? How dependent is this upon species?Diet? Animal size? Alcock's writing seems to get not much closer to the answer than Wilson was 25 years earlier, even though it implicitly claims to do so.

There are a lot of interesting observations in this book. And as a book of interesting observations in biology it is pretty good. To the extent that we wish to define all social action as being competitive in nature, the book is about sociobiology.

But the ultimate role of science is to inform those outside its prestigious circles.And sociobiology, if it is to play any role in informing our knowledge of human social interaction must take into account the forces that give rise ot cooperative behavior outside of the direct realm of copulation.If sociobiology as a science can play a helpful role in the world it cannot be only in helping us understand the role of competitive forces, but also the role of cooperative ones.And in denying a biological basis of cooperative forces, Alcock goes much further in undermining the reputation of sociobiology than Wilson ever did.In illuminating the cooperative aspects of sociobiology, "Triumph ..." is a dismal failure.Read Wilson's Sociobiology, and go from there.

5-0 out of 5 stars proximate and ultimate causes
Has sociobiology triumphed? I am afraid yes, in all its forms. Doesn't matter whether you call it sociobiology or evolutionary ecology, animal behavior, evolutionary psychology, etc., the underlying principle, the neo-Darwinian perspective to explain the evolution of organisms, including their social behavior has become paradigm. There is no more debate as it happened in the 70s and 80s. Actually this book doesn't refer much to such debate. This book is basically a review of the state of the art of animal social behavior from the neo-Darwinian perspective. In that sense the book largely succeeds in making you understand what the state of this art is.

Perhaps the best quality of this book is that it helps to clearly distinguish the meaning and differences of proximate and ultimate causes. Once you understand the division it will change the way you see your everyday life. You will be more indulgent with apparently stupid human behaviors, but also stronger to get free of the iron claw of the proximate causes.

Alcock's narrative is clear and comprehensible, and you don't need any strong background in biology to understand the contents. If you happen to have such background you won't find yourself bored with redundancies.

Chapters eight and nine, dedicated to human culture and the practical applications of sociobiology have some wonderful parts. For instance, I was especially delighted reading about the effect of eye-contact-policies by checkout workers in a big supermarket chain and the too-positive response of male clients.

At the end you will find an interesting list of selected references. I find it a really good selection, and I also liked that is a short list, only the most interesting books from the field.

This was a necessary book, and Alcock did it well. I recommend you read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Clarity and common sense
The main characteristic of this work is the laudable clarity with which Alcock explains some difficult ideas--even this novice achieved a distinct feeling that he had assimilated a valuable method for understanding human behavior. In a field whose rivals such as theology, Marxism, deconstructionism, and such pseudo-sciences as psychoanalysis, which are governed by an unquenchable thirst for obscure jargon and a perverse interest in counter-intuitive concepts, Alcock shows that ordinary language can be used to explicate a powerful scientific theory that can be understood by anyone ready to reject the politically correct dogmas that are so forcefully projected by the mass media and the relics of the past, such as Stephen Jay Gould.

The book is well organized, and gives a clear picture of where the methods and findings of sociobiology stand today.It covers many interesting case studies that are good examples showing how it is a scientific field, with all the trappings of fresh insights, tested hypotheses, voluminous data, clearly stated methods, and all the excitement that comes with a field progressing rapidly through the research of hundreds of honest investigators.

Alcock is perhaps at his strongest when he responds to the attacks on the field in a measured and powerful cadence of common sense.Understanding human behavior is a field that everyone believes himself to be expert in, but is unfortunately filled with a baggage of historical nonsense and politically inspired biases.It is at once "the proper study of man" and the playground of charlatans.Seeing the progress that the science of sociobiology has made in the last thirty years, generates a feeling that must be much like that experienced by the people of the late 18th century, who saw chemistry replace alchemy.

4-0 out of 5 stars What it is and isn't
A short introduction to what sociobiology is (the search for evolved adaptations in behavior) and equally what it is not. A useful antidote to the misrepresentations of sociobiology that abound in some areas (Gould, Angier, most to the popular press). Interesting examples and up to date. ... Read more

3. Sociobiology: The Abridged Edition
by Edward O. Wilson
Paperback: 378 Pages (1980-03-12)
list price: US$43.50 -- used & new: US$42.00
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Asin: 0674816242
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this text, Wilson's work on the biological basis of social behavior in all species from amoeba colonies to human societies has been trimmed to its essential argument and most compelling examples.Amazon.com Review
E.O. Wilson defines sociobiology as "the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior," the central theoretical problem of which is the question of how behaviors that seemingly contradict the principles of natural selection, such as altruism, can develop. Sociobiology: A NewSynthesis, Wilson's first attempt to outline the new field of study,was first published in 1975 and called for a fairly revolutionary update tothe so-called Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology. Sociobiology as anew field of study demanded the active inclusion of sociology, the socialsciences, and the humanities in evolutionary theory. Often criticized forits apparent message of "biological destiny," Sociobiology set thestage for such controversial works as Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene andWilson's own Consilience.

Sociobiology defines such concepts as society, individual,population, communication, and regulation. It attempts to explain,biologically, why groups of animals behave the way they do when findingfood or shelter, confronting enemies, or getting along with one another.Wilson seeks to explain how group selection, altruism, hierarchies, andsexual selection work in populations of animals, and to identifyevolutionary trends and sociobiological characteristics of all animalgroups, up to and including man. The insect sections of the books areparticularly interesting, given Wilson's status as the world's most famousentomologist.

It is fair to say that as an ecological strategy eusocialityhas been overwhelmingly successful. It is useful to think of an insectcolony as a diffuse organism, weighing anywhere from less than a gram to asmuch as a kilogram and possessing from about a hundred to a million or moretiny mouths.

It's when Wilson starts talking about human beings that the furor starts.Feminists have been among the strongest critics of the work, arguing thathumans are not slaves to a biological destiny, forever locked in"primitive" behavior patterns without the ability to reason past ourbiochemical nature. Like TheOrigin of Species, Sociobiology has forced many biologistsand social scientists to reassess their most cherished notions of howanimals work. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sociobiology: The Abridged Edition
I believe this is an excellent book but right now I am not ready for such a heavy book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive
Wilson really is one of the "twentieth centuries greatest thinkers."This is a dense and demanding publication requiring a scientifically literate audience.It covers basic concepts from altruism, selfishness, and spite; including communication, aggression, social roles, sex, and parenting from "invertebrates" to vertebrates.

Now, in 2007, this is really more of a 'classic'.For intro students, I'd first recommend getting your footing with "Animal Behavior" by Alcock, and *then progressing into more technically written publications like this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars must read if intrested in zoology or evolution
an excellent book. although alot of parts may be hard to understand it is relatively easier than the unabridged version.

get this if your intrested in biology ... Read more

4. God's Eugenicist: Alexis Carrel And the Sociobiology of Decline (Monographs in French Studies)
by Andres Horacio Reggiani
Hardcover: 268 Pages (2006-12-15)
list price: US$80.00 -- used & new: US$7.34
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Asin: 1845451724
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The temptations of a new genetically informed eugenics and of a revived faith-based, world-wide political stance, this study of the interaction of science, religion, politics and the culture of celebrity in twentieth-century Europe and America offers a fascinating and important contribution to the history of this movement. The author looks at the career of French-born physician and Nobel Prize winner, Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), as a way of understanding the popularization of eugenics through religious faith, scientific expertise, cultural despair and right-wing politics in the 1930s and 1940s. Carrel was among the most prestigious experimental surgeons of his time who also held deeply illiberal views. In "Man, the Unknown" (1935), he endorsed fascism and called for the elimination of the "unfit." The book became a huge international success, largely thanks to its promotion by Readers' Digest as well as by the author's friendship with Charles Lindbergh. In 1941, he went into the service of the French pro-German regime of Vichy, which appointed him to head an institution of eugenics research.His influence was remarkable, affecting radical Islamic groups as well Le Pen's Front National that celebrated him as the "founder of ecology." It includes a foreword by Herman Lebovics. ... Read more

5. Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature
by Philip Kitcher
Paperback: 472 Pages (1987-03-13)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$39.99
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Asin: 0262610493
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Co-Winner, 1987 Lakatos Award in Philosophy of Science sponsored by the London School of Economics & Political Science.

Vaulting Ambition is the first extensive and detailed evaluation of the controversial claims that sociobiologists have made about human nature and human social behavior. It raises the "sociobiology debate" to a new level, moving beyond arguments about the politics of the various parties involved, the degree to which sociobiology assumes genetic determinism, or the falsifiability of the general theory.

Sociobiology has made a great deal of noise in the popular intellectual culture. Vaulting Ambition cuts through the charges and counter-charges to take a hard look at the claims and analyses offered by the sociobiologists. It examines what the claims mean, how they relate to standard evolutionary theory, how the biological models are supposed to work, and what is wrong with the headline-grabbing proclamations of human sociobiology. In particular, it refutes the notions that humans are trapped by their evolutionary biology and history in endlessly repeating patterns of aggression, xenophobia, and deceitfulness, or that the inequities of sex, race, and class are genetically based or culturally determined. And it takes up issues of human altruism, freedom, and ethics as well.

Kitcher weighs the evidence for sociobiology, for human sociobiology, and for "the pop sociobiological view" of human nature that has engendered the controversy. He concludes that in the field of nonhuman animal studies, rigorous and methodologically sound work about the social lives of insects, birds, and mammals has been done. But in applying the theories to human beings—where even more exacting standards of evidence are called for because of the potential social disaster inherent in adopting a working hypothesis as a basis for public policy—many of the same scientists become wildly speculative, building grand conclusions from what Kitcher shows to be shoddy analysis and flimsy argument.

While it may be possible to develop a genuine science of human behavior based on evolutionary biology, genetics, cognition, and culture, Kitcher points out that the sociobiology that has been loudly advertised in the popular and intellectual press is not it. Pop sociobiology has in fact been felled by its overambitious and overreaching creators. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Difficult to navigate.
I bought this book to do a term paper containing the subject of sociobiology.I did not have time to read it page-to-page; and I was disappointed in 1) the abbreviated index (very slight); and 2) the the silly chapter names, like:"A Bicycle is Not Enough; From Nature Up; The Rules of the Games..." You get the picture--I could not find anything!This book is very difficult to navigate.Forget it.

I do not recommend anyone purchase this; it is old and difficult.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outdated in Detail, Still a Telling Critique in Broad Outline
Edward O. Wilson's great work Sociobiology unleashed a furor of vitriolic criticism from mainstream social scientists, who preferred purely cultural models of human behavior, and from politically progressive crusaders who believed that the appropriate socialization processes could overcome the selfishness and mean-spiritedness inculcated by the possessive individualism fostered by modern capitalism. Both groups were deeply offended by the attempt to give biological explanations for human behavioral propensities. The ensuing steamy controversy is reviewed admirably by Ullica Segerstrale in her book, Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Philip Kitcher's Vaulting Ambition may well be the only contribution to this debate that remains of scientific interest today, although Stephen Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin probably deserve a place with their famous paper, "The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme", Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 205 (1979):581-598. Sociobiology has come a long way since this book, however. Kitcher mentions but does not deal with Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman's seminal work, Cultural Transmission and Evolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981), and does not mention the equally great Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson, Culture and the Evolutionary Process (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985). The important contributions ofEvolutionary Psychology were still some years away, in the form of Jerome H. Barkow, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby (eds.) The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). Similarly, most of the great evolutionary anthropological works of the behavioral ecologists had yet to be written in 1985. For this reason, Kitcher's book is outdated. But some of its broad arguments remain cogent today, and this book is well worth reading by anyone interested in the topic.

The basic critique is summed up in the Postscript (p. 435): "Sociobiology has two faces. One looks toward the social behavior of nonhuman animals. The eyes are carefully focused, the lips pursed judiciously. Utterances are made only with caution. The other face is almost hidden behind a megaphone. With great excitement, pronouncements about human nature blare forth." Kitcher's point is that the sociobiology of non-human animals is carefully integrated into the research scholarship of animal behaviorists, where it is subject to minute scrutiny. There, Kitcher recognizes that evolutionary theory has had great impact. He would be much more impressed today, I suspect, since the evolutionary game-theoretic approach now dominates the field. In human sociobiology, by contrast, there were a few high-profile books that captured the attention of the public, but did not engage in the painstaking gathering of experimental and field data that would turn speculation into scientific fact.

The scientific basis for sociobiology is immeasurably advanced over its state two decades ago. While the great public debate was in progress, researchers like Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman, Boyd and Richerson, Cosmides and Tooby, Daly and Wilson, Boehm, Hawkes, Kaplan, Wiessner and many others have established the biological foundations of human behavior as a fruitful field of study. Nevertheless, debates based on highly speculative assertions rage in the popular science press, fueled by the considerable expository skills of Robert Wright, Stephen Pinker, Mat Ridley, and others. Moreover, modern-day sociobiologists, who are more likely to call themselves "evolutionary biologists," continue to exhibit two traits which are major subjects of attack by Kitcher. The first is to see every human characteristic as a biological adaptation with a genetic basis, and the second is to consider biological adaptations as aspects of human nature that are basically immutable through cultural intervention. Neither of these is reasonable. On the first count, human characteristics are the product of gene-culture coevolution, not genes alone, and the cultural elements are often dominant. For instance, in human society, increased longevity and wealth has led to a decrease in family size (the so-called "demographic revolution"), which is directly fitness-reducing by definition. Our species is, indeed, the only known species to which the Malthusian population mechanism does not apply in full force. To call this behavior a biological adaptation is absurd. On the second count, while sociobiologists are doubtless correct in asserting that there are genetic differences between men and women that lead to consistent behavioral differences, it is likely that egalitarian institutions and gender-neutral cultural norms can promote a high degree of gender equality in modern societies.

Kitcher's critique of E. O. Wilson (p. 181ff) on this count is very telling. Kitcher notes that sociobiologists have pointed to the failure of the Israeli kibbutzim as an example of the immutability of the sexual division of labor. He suggests, quite rightly, that there are many alternatives to the kibbutz besides the patriarchal family. And so there are!

There is also one extremely important difference between the politics of sociobiology today and yesteryear. Kitcher takes it as axiomatic that sociobiology is profoundly conservative, racist, sexist, and intolerant of diverse life-styles (e.g., homosexuality). I have my doubts about this characterization of the sociobiologists of the period, but there can be no question but that this is how they were perceived by the public and their intellectual enemies. This is no longer the case. While dyed-in-the-wool Marxists still rant about the conservatism of contemporary sociobiology, by and large its proponents have shed this image and are widely appreciated for creative insights in promoting racial and gender equality, tolerance of diversity, and opposition to senseless violence.

Kitcher asserts there is no general sociobiological theory (p. 118), so there is no overarching critique of sociobiology, but only piecemeal critique of each of its many assertions. This critique was doubtless correct, although I now think that gene-culture coevolutionary theory is an encompassing framework for contemporary sociobiology (others believe that Evolutionary Psychology holds this position).

The later chapters of the book are less successful. Kitcher's critique of Lumsden and Wilson,Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981) is correct, but his time would have been better spent dealing with a better book; e.g., the Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman book published in the same year. Kitcher's critique of the "Panglossian" tendency of sociobiology is mostly wrong, and certainly out of date. Of course, the idea that natural selection leads to optima is generally fallacious, but this has little to do with sociobiology. Finally, Kitcher's defense of traditional philosophical approaches to ethics (altruism, free will, morality), is interesting and spirited, but I think it is just wrong. Philosophers would do well, I believe, to take an evolutionary approach to ethics, rather than the Platonic, axiomatic approach that they tend to take.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Critique of Sociobiology
In a field of much debate and little substance, this is one of the most useful and cogent critiques of sociobiology of Lumsden and Wilson, with a very detailed examination of the limitations in their mathematical modelling. ... Read more

6. Sociobiology Debate: Readings on Ethical and Scientific Issues
 Hardcover: 514 Pages (1979-01-26)

Isbn: 0060106336
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7. Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate
by Ullica Segerstrale
Paperback: 512 Pages (2001-05-31)
list price: US$17.95
Isbn: 0192862154
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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When Edward O. Wilson published Sociobiology, it generated a firestorm of criticism, mostly focused on the book's final chapter, in which Wilson applied lessons learned from animal behavior to human society. In Defenders of the Truth, Ullica Segerstrale takes a hard look at the sociobiology controversy, sorting through a hornet's nest of claims and counterclaims, moral concerns, metaphysical beliefs, political convictions, strawmen, red herrings, and much juicy gossip.The result is a fascinating look at the world of modern science.
Segerstrale has interviewed all the major participants, including such eminent scientists as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard C. Lewontin, Richard Dawkins, John Maynard Smith, Nobel Laureates Peter Medawar and Salvador Luria, and of course Edward Wilson. She reveals that most of the criticism of Wilson was unfair, but argues that it was not politically motivated. Instead, she sees the conflict over sociobiology as a drawn-out battle about the nature of "good science" and the social responsibility of the scientist. Behind the often nasty attacks were the very different approaches to science taken by naturalists (such as Wilson) and experimentalists (such as Lewontin), between the "planters" and the "weeders." The protagonists were all defenders of the truth, Segerstrale concludes, it was just that everyone's truth was different.
Defenders of the Truth touches on grand themes such as the unity of knowledge, human nature, and free will and determinism, and it shows how the sociobiology controversy can shed light on the more recent debates over the Human Genome Project and The Bell Curve. It will appeal to all readers of Edward O. Wilson or Stephen Jay Gould and all those who enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek at modern science.Amazon.com Review
How do scientists separate their politics from their work--oris such a distinction even possible? These questions frame the twolevels of sociologist Ullica Segerstrale's analysis of thesociobiology controversy, Defenders of the Truth. FromE.O. Wilson's 1975 publication of Sociobiology to his1998 release of Consilience, he hasconsistently been the often-unwilling center of the vitriolic debateover human nature and its scientific study. Heavy hitters like RichardDawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, and John Maynard Smith have lined up toattack and defend the scientific, political, and moral interpretationsand implications of Wilson's synthesis, and Dr. Segerstrale tells acompelling story of their battles on multiple fronts. The author knowsher science, having trained extensively in biochemistry before turningto sociology. While she distances herself from assessing the validityof the various claims, Segerstrale is clearly sympathetic to Wilson,who seems almost naïve at times when his ideas are interpretedideologically rather than scientifically.

That, of course, is the heart of the contention surroundingsociobiology. The political left, well-represented among evolutionarybiologists, has long considered any genetic influence on humanbehavior anathema--such theories are believed to support racistpolicies, even in the unlikely event that they were not merelyreflections of racist attitudes. To their credit, many scientists heldmore complex beliefs, but some used the ideological argument as a backdoor to introduce their own neo-Darwinian scientific theories. Thestruggle for understanding has been eclipsed for some time by thestruggle for political and academic survival and dominance, andSegerstrale reports and scrutinizes both with humor, intelligence, andaplomb. The end of the controversy--if there can be one--is far off,but a careful reading of Defenders of the Truth will giveinsight into the forces influencing our scientificself-examination. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Science and ideology
By dissecting painstakingly the sociobiology wars, Ullica Segerstråle exposes fundamental discussions about the nature of and the relationship between science, society, morality and politics.
The violent clash of egos revealed the deep chasm between the British and US scientific community. While in Great-Britain (R. Dawkins) science was considered as an autonomous activity (only the facts), the US scientists had a scientific-cum-moral agenda (no barrier between facts and values). This agenda set the ideologues (R. Lewontin, S. Gould) against the biologists-adaptionists (E.O. Wilson).

Sociobiology is the systematic study of the biological basis of social behavior and the organization of societies in all kind of organisms. It considers that human sex role divisions, aggressiveness, moral concerns or religious beliefs can be linked to man's evolutionary heritage and underlying genetic disposition.

Aim of the biologists-adaptionists
E.O. Wilson's main aim was to force the social sciences to take biology seriously. He wanted to provide a genetically accurate and fair code of natural ethics for man, thereby showing that Christian theologians should not impose arbitrary moral codes which could generate unnecessary human suffering.

Vision of the ideologues
For the ideologues, scientific and political questions were inextricably linked. For them, sociobiologists tried to demonstrate that nature optimizes and that they thereby defended a social statu-quo: what exists is adaptive, what is adaptive is good, therefore what exists is good. The social inequalities, like race, gender, ethnicity, class, status, wealth, power, domination, are then seen as reflections of a natural order.

Richard Dawkins
Towering above the verbal wrestlers, Richard Dawkins stated rightly that values cannot be derived from nature. There is a fundamental distinction between science (how the world is) and politics (how the world ought to be).
The Lyssenko affair demonstrated clearly what happens when scientific objectivity is abandoned.
R. Dawkins rightly insulted the postmodernists as hypocrites for their vision of science (it represents only one way of knowing among others) and rightly attacked viruses of the mind, like religion, which had (and has) the ambition to explain the same things as science.
For a devastating verdict on postmodernism see G.G. Preparata.

(Science and politics)
Contrary to what S.A. Luria pretends, science is very important for politicians. It permitted them to drop atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The more man knows how the world works, the more he can take action to improve life for everyone. As the great American scientist G.C. Williams stated: `natural selection, albeit stupid, is a story of unending arms races, slaughter and suffering. It is a law of nature and its immorality has to be accepted and, at least, to be thought about. `

While the extremely detailed scientific arms wrestling in this book will mostly appeal to scientists, I nevertheless recommend it highly to all those who want to understand the (scientific) world we live in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitive
Ullica Segerstrale has written the definitive account of the sociobiology debates. This book is meticulously documented, exhaustively researched, and persuasively unbiased. With that said, I would be remiss not to point out that it is also dryer than the sahara and goes down like tacks in tepid water. In short, this is serious and scholarly stuff.

Segerstrale lays out the course of the sociobiology debates, with some deference to chronology (starting with Wilson and so on), and some deference to topicality. Ullica believes that, sans political motives, the heart of the controversy lies in seperate conceptions of how to do science. I do not know if I agree with this hypothesis, but it is of no matter. The book is so detailed and rich that any disagrements are waves in a tea cup.

One particlular amusing tidbit described by Segrastale concerns the the sociobiology study group. Apparently, they had invited Noam Chomsky, that preternatural freak of intelligence and left-wing street credit. The expectation was that he would produce some writing which would utterly destroy sociobiology. Why? Well, this was the guy who had seemingly destroyed the edifice of behaviorism with his famous 1959 review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior! However, despite the buzz and anticipation that greeted this meeting, Chomsky dissapointed. He did not see anything wrong with attempting to discover the foundations of human behavior, and thought the blank slate marxist view of human nature was dead wrong. Now, this is not to say he agreed with Wilsonian Sociobiology. He certainly did not. He just didn't care that much about it. This was one guy these academic vigilantes could not say anything about: He was the left! This amusing vignette illustrates everything that was and is wrong with those who attack evolutionary theories of human nature.

If you wish to understand what drives the freakish paranoia against sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, you could do no better than reading this terrific book. Do not just read it, absorb it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Totally captivating
It is difficult to find anything more to add to the positive reviews already posted. Segerstrale has produced an excellent description and fascinating analysis of the sociobiology debate. It naturally centers on E O Wilson who, though she is not overtly biased, emerges as Segerstrale's hero. At least, that is my strong impression at the very end of the book where she says emotion and belief are important in science, and Wilson both has these and his arguments have benefitted from the emotions and beliefs that inspired his major critics. I'm still considering this conclusion.

I confess that I have not read E O Wilson, though I have read many of the others involved in this whole controversy. I also confess that I still do not feel the need to read Wilson, at least not as a priority. For me this book's excellence is in the background and context of the arguments and actors. For those fairly new to the arguments it provides an excellent basis for further reading while for myself, already involved, the many references provide potentially more avenues to information and perspectives waiting to be explored.

While I (as more of a Dawkins supporter) might not be too eager to agree with Segerstrale's underlying approval of the role of emotion and belief in science and its inevitability, this does not detract from the totally captivating nature of this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Planters and Weeders
This book succeeds on three levels.

First, as others have noted, it is indeed a real page-turner.(I actually read several chapters ALOUD to a friend on a long drive.)

Second, this is an excellent history of one of the most important controversies of 20th Century American culture.History will not record this controversy as a turning point in science.Wilson made no great discovery.His distinguishing characteristic was the simple willingness to think and speak freely.

However, in a hundred years, what has been called the "Triumph of Sociobiology" will be seen as a crucial event in the intellectual history of the United States.This book is the first draft of that history.

Those reviewers who believe that the author is biased should remember that the author is, above all, a sociologist of science -not a biologist.She has far more in common with T.S. Kuhn than with any of the biologists she profiles.I am not convinced that she takes the work of ANY of these scientists at face value.If, at the end of the book, sociobiology appears ascendant, that may be because Wilson's camp has won the battle of public opinion.

Finally, this book succeeds as a case study in scientific epistemology.The author -ever the social scientist- metaphorically divides scientists into two categories: "planters" and "weeders."

"Planters" are risk-tolerant.They interpret evidence to support highly-speculative hypotheses -hypotheses that often turn out to be wrong.They provide the building blocks of science.The believe they are doing "good science."

"Weeders" are fundamentally skeptical.They interpret evidence in the strictest possible manner, in search of certainty.By eliminating the rotten wood, they keep the ediface of "science" standing.They also believe they are doing "good science."

In my view, both of these viewpoints are helpful to the ecology of human knowledge.Planters generate needed diversity; weeders enforce conformity.Each should appreciate the systemic value of the others' function; the tragedy here -in my view- was that neither side did.

The author, however, would disagree with me.She seems to suggest that such partisan zeal makes for good scientists, if not for good science.Maybe, she suggests, objectivity in the process of science is an OBSTACLE to the production of knowledge.Maybe we are doomed to (and blessed with) a perpetual sociobiology controversy, since fairminded people like myself can only muster the will to write book reviews.

This is perhaps the most interesting insight in this book, and alone worth the price of admission.

3-0 out of 5 stars Terribly biased, but the best we have
Ullica Segerstrale was perhaps the only outsider to carefully follow the landmark debate over sociobiology first-hand, sitting in on meetings and interviewing the participants. Thank goodness she was willing to write it all down. Too bad she was such a blatant partisan.

Most books have endorsements on the back cover from other authors. This one only features an endorsement from Segerstrale herself. And the featured reviews on Amazon are hardly from disinterested parties -- Sarah Blaffer Hrdy is a well-known sociobiologist herself, who receives extensive favorable treatment in this book.

The book was well-written and interesting, but the reader must work to subtract Segerstrale's overwhelming bias from every quote and conclusion. Such questions of scientific fact do have right and wrong answers. It's too bad Segerstrale consistently gets them wrong and then feels she has to distort the positions of her opponents to mask this fact. ... Read more

8. Marx and Sociobiology
by George A. Huaco
Paperback: 144 Pages (1999-10-27)
list price: US$48.00 -- used & new: US$38.68
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Asin: 076181535X
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Provocative in content, this book is the only one of its kind to evaluate Marx's work in light of recent theories in sociobiology. Huaco identifies several dynamic aspects of Marx's socio-cultural model and uses current research concerning the genetic basis of certain human behaviors to determine their validity. Specifically, he examines issues surrounding ownership relations, surplus transfer and economic exploitation, class struggle, and the development of high culture. In addition to arguing that innovation and competition are necessary to prevent a stagnant economy, Huaco contends that stopping surplus transfer will not eliminate poverty as Marx maintained. Instead of retaining surplus, society can develop ways to recover surplus that will put an end to poverty and the social problems that stem from it. Sociologists and other scholars interested in socio-economic theory will find this thought provoking work stimulating. ... Read more

9. Ideas of Human Nature: From the Bhagavad Gita to Sociobiology
by David P. Barash
Paperback: 294 Pages (1998-02-07)
list price: US$61.60 -- used & new: US$57.34
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Asin: 0136475876
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Unique in both scope and organization, this book presents an intriguing yet challenging introduction to the world's great ideas concerning the nature of human nature — with a sampling of different approaches. The selections are drawn from religious writings, academic treatises, nonfiction, fiction, etc. — enabling readers to encounter the great thinkers through their own words.Organizes selections into intellectually coherent topics— Religious/Mythic Views, The Mind, The Social Setting, The Human Animal? — and then subtopics — e.g., The Role of Reason, The Limits of Reason, People Are Basically Nasty, People Are Basically Good, Animals as “Human,” and Vice Versa, Sex and Gender, etc. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Reading
I have taken two classes with Professor Barash and thoroughly enjoyed them both.This book is an excellent compilation of a wide range of sources reflecting on the human condition, no easy task to achieve.From Dostoyevsky to Darwin, from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita, Barash demonstrates an impressive knowledge of writing and literature across many fields.This book has definitely opened up my mind to some new ideas and filled up my wish list with some new books.Thanks Professor Barash!

5-0 out of 5 stars A respectable collection!
I am taking a class with the editor this summer, and it is a whole lot of fun! ... Read more

10. Sociobiology and Bioeconomics: The Theory of Evolution in Biological and Economic Theory (Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy)
Paperback: 341 Pages (2010-11-02)
list price: US$155.00 -- used & new: US$155.00
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Asin: 3642084702
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The theory of evolution and Neo-Darwinian biological theory extend their analysis in sociobiology from the life sciences and the animal societies to human societies. Sociobiology as a unifying theory of the social interaction within and between species has led to an integration of economic analysis into biology. The economy of nature has become the subject of bioeconomics which in turn transferred biological analysis to the human economy. Evolution, competition, selection, and cooperation are phenomena common to the economy of nature and human economy. The inclusion of economic and cultural theory in evolution theory raises the question whether the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis with its exclusive concern with somatic heredity is able to incorporate developmental systems of the human economy and of cultural heredity. A new synthesis of the natural and the social sciences is in the making. ... Read more

11. The Sociobiology Debate
Paperback: 284 Pages (1979-02)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$11.99
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Asin: 0060906278
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12. Sociobiology and the Law: The Biology of Altruism in the Courtroom of the Future
by John H. Beckstrom
 Hardcover: 160 Pages (1985-03-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$43.75
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Asin: 0252011716
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13. Neuropolitics: The Sociobiology of Human Metamorphosis
by Timothy Francis Leary
Hardcover: 160 Pages (1977)

Isbn: 0915238187
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars Timothy Leary thought we'd become "immortal" by now
Timothy Leary, who died back in 1996, wrote in this book published in 1977 that we would have attained "immortality" or "eternal life" through scientific means by now. He even speculates that we could have pulled this off by the 1980's if we had wished hard enough. What a pile of nonsense on stilts. ... Read more

14. E.O. Wilson and B.F. Skinner: A Dialogue Between Sociobiology and Radical Behaviorism (Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects)
by Paul Naour
Hardcover: 138 Pages (2009-03-19)
list price: US$129.00 -- used & new: US$111.46
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Asin: 0387894616
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Reviewers have characterized Paul Naour's A Dialogue Between Sociobiology and Radical Behaviorism, which includes brief introductions by E.O. Wilson and B.F. Skinner's elder daughter,Julie Vargus, as an idea book. The work will undoubtedly have a significant academic market and provide students and scholars in biology, ethology, psychology, anthropology, sociology and economics a strong foundation in twentieth century history and systems.

Praise for A Dialogue Between Sociobiology and Radical Behaviorism:

- E.O. Wilson says of the book: ". . . excellent, an outstanding addition to the history of ideas. It will put Fred Skinner back in the pantheon and, providing context, serve as an excellent introduction to the content and central truths in radical behaviorism. Needless to say, I'm also grateful to have my work following Sociobiology given proper attention." 

-David Sloan Wilson, author of Darwin’s Cathedral writes: "E.O. Wilson and B.F. Skinner agreed that the human capacity for change is both a product of genetic evolution and an evolutionary process in its own right. Yet, the paradigms of sociobiology and radical behaviorism went in very different directions. Paul Naour's insightful analysis of a taped conversation between Wilson and Skinner goes beyond the historical significance of the conversation and helps to integrate the two paradigms for the future." 

-Carl Haywood writes: "The present question is whether evolution by natural selection is a useful set of concepts for the development of psychology.  Naour’s proposed confluence of radical behaviorism and sociobiology suggests not only that it is, but also that radical behaviorism shares with sociobiology a debt and an allegiance to Darwinism." 

... Read more

15. Sociobiology, Sex, and Science (SUNY Series in Philosophy and Biology)
by Harmon R. Holcomb III
Paperback: 466 Pages (1993-01-07)
list price: US$31.95 -- used & new: US$31.95
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Asin: 0791412601
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16. Sociobiology and the Preemption of Social Science
by Professor Alexander Rosenberg
 Hardcover: 240 Pages (1980-11-01)
list price: US$38.00 -- used & new: US$38.00
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Asin: 0801824230
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17. The One Per Cent Advantage: The Sociobiology of Being Human
by John R. Gribbin, Mary Gribbin
 Hardcover: 224 Pages (1988-05)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 0631160043
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This book claims that, genetically, man is 99per cent ape. There is only 1per cent difference in the DNA - the genetic blueprint - between humans and our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom. From that 1per cent has sprung all the art, literature, culture and knowledge that characterizes the human species. ... Read more

18. A Sociobiology Compendium: Aphorisms, Sayings, Asides
by Del Thiessen
Hardcover: 151 Pages (1997-04-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$29.15
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Asin: 1560003723
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19. Sociobiology and the Human Dimension (Volume 0)
by Georg Breuer
Paperback: 308 Pages (1983-03-31)
list price: US$43.00 -- used & new: US$34.70
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Asin: 0521287782
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This book is about animals and humans - their common features and their gradual and principle differences. It tells of democracy in baboons, prostitution in hummingbirds, bigamy in wrens, baby sitting in jackals, of chimpanzees at the computer console and of the super-ego of dogs - but it is also about the labour productivity of hunter and gatherer peoples, incest avoidance in animals and humans and of the myths about matriarchy. In a language accessible to any interested layman, Georg Breuer, gives a balanced account of the main ideas and achievements of sociobiology and the main criticisms levelled against it. According to him sociobiology has given many a valuable impetus but sometimes presents a distorted or one-sided view. In particular it has not answered or addressed the question of why man, and man only, is able to identify and feel sympathy with any other human being. The evolution of this most human of all traits confers on us the capability for charity and solidarity and for the happiness of true love which is unattainable by any animal. ... Read more

20. Listen to the animals: The fundamentals & rationale of sociobiology
by E. Gordon Dickie
 Loose Leaf: 431 Pages (1977)

Isbn: 0913136026
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