The Transformation of Human Sociobiology

I offer some proposals for how human sociobiology might be transformed from a collection of unsupported claims into a rigorous successor discipline. The achievement of behavioral ecology in providing functional descriptions of animal behavior suggest that the goal of human sociobiology ought to be to give functional characterizations of human behavior. Much traditional human sociobiology tries to be more ambitious, attempting to build grand theories of human nature. I argue that these ventures fail, and that pursuit of the more modest task of achieving functional descriptions will require that human sociobiologists undergo a four-stage process. The four stages involve: (1) the liberalization of evolutionary theory, (2) the construction of precise models and the development of systematic data, (3) the recognition of the effects of cultural transmission, and (4) the integration of evolutionary ideas with considerations about proximate and developmental mechanisms. Only the first two stages are treated in any detail.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/192790
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Jason M. Byron (2005). Sociobiology. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Sandra D. Mitchell (1986). Can Sociobiology Adapt to Cultural Selection? PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:87 - 96.
Steven J. C. Gaulin (1986). A Logical Structure for Human Sociobiology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:75 - 86.
Michael Ruse (1987). Is Sociobiology a New Paradigm? Philosophy of Science 54 (1):98-104.
James Miles (1998). Unnatural Selection. Philosophy 73 (4):593-608.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

11 ( #219,154 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.