David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The following thesis offers a philosophical critique of sociobiology, which is identified as a recent attempt to produce a general theory of animal behaviour, encompassing an account of human nature. The first chapter examines the empirical and theoretical foundations of sociobiology, highlighting some of the philosophical topics regarding the relation of the natural and social sciences, and the attempt to offer an account of human nature within a largely mathematical and mechanistic theoretical framework. Chapter two looks at the major specific areas of human behaviour featured in sociobiological accounts. A close examination of empirical evidence, underlying theoretical assumptions, behavioural categories and definitions, and finally deduced conclusions reveals several weaknesses and examples of fallacious reasoning. The third chapter continues to examine the account of human nature in relation to the broadest and most abstract features of social structures and interactions. The political dimension of sociobiology is examined - both in terms of its account of political behaviour, and in the theoretical opposition between sociobiology and left wing ideologies. The sociobiological account of religious behaviour is rejected in favour of one couched in terms of social rather than genetically heritable dispositions. Chapter four evaluates the attempt to respond to early criticisms of sociobiology. It is argued that the main theoretical stance regarding human behaviour remains little changed, and that the new theoretical models create even more conceptual problems, thus failing to provide a framework for an account of human nature. The final chapter applies some ideas from evolutionary theory to specific areas of philosophical controversy: the relation of mind to language; the ascription of mental life to other species; functionalist and epiphenomenaiist accounts of consciousness. It is argued that empirical and theoretical considerations from the natural sciences may thus inform traditional areas of philosophical debate, creating useful interdisciplinary dialogues
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Ronald de Sousa (1990). The Sociology of Sociobiology. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (3):271 – 283.
Jason M. Byron (2005). Sociobiology. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Robert L. Simon (1982). The Sociobiology Muddle:On Human Nature. Edward O. Wilson; The Sociobiology Debate. Arthur L. Caplan; Human Sociobiology: A Holistic Approach. Daniel G. Freedman; Sociobiology: Sense or Nonsense? Michael Ruse. [REVIEW] Ethics 92 (2):327-.
Philip Kitcher (1990). Developmental Decomposition and the Future of Human Behavioral Ecology. Philosophy of Science 57 (1):96-117.
Michael Smithurst (1990). The Elusiveness of Human Nature. Inquiry 33 (4):433 – 445.
Harmon R. Holcomb (1987). Criticism, Commitment, and the Growth of Human Sociobiology. Biology and Philosophy 2 (1):43-63.
Katrina Sifferd (2003). Making Sense of Modern Darwinism. Heredity 90:418.
Philip Kitcher (1986). The Transformation of Human Sociobiology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:63-74.
John Dupré (1998). Against Reductionist Explanations of Human Behaviour: John Dupré. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 72 (1):153–172.
Margaret P. Gilbert (2008). Social Convention Revisited. Topoi (1-2):5-16.
John Lemos (2001). A Defense of Darwinian Accounts of Morality. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (3):361-385.
Paul Thompson (1999). Evolutionary Ethics: Its Origins and Contemporary Face. Zygon 34 (3):473-484.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2010-12-08
Total downloads1 ( #749,883 of 1,790,408 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #431,678 of 1,790,408 )
How can I increase my downloads?