Journal of the History of Biology 35 (3):569 - 593 (2002)

Abstract
The sociobiology debate, in the final quarter of the twentieth century, featured many of the same issues disputed in the culture war in the humanities during this same time period. This is evident from a study of the writings of Edward O. Wilson, the best known of the sociobiologists, and from an examination of both the minutes of the meetings of the Sociobiology Study Group (SSG) and the writings of Stephen Jay Gould, the SSG's most prominent member. Many critics of sociobiology, frequently radical scientists who were attached to the lineage of the New Left, argued for the same multicultural values promoted by radical humanities professors in this period. Conversely, liberal sociobiologists defended the universalist values of the liberals in the humanities. Those scholars whose work was important before the cultural revolution in the 1960s were usually committed to a liberal universalism that emphasized the similarity between people. Younger scholars, who took faculty positions in the 1970s and after, were more likely to owe an allegiance to an ethnos-centered social vision that valued identity politics. The struggle between these two agendas, more intellectual than generational, was at the core of the culture wars both in the humanities and in the sciences. The sociobiology debate should be viewed in this light.
Keywords biological determinism  culture war  genetics  multiculturalism  Science for the People  social Darwinism  sociobiology  Sociobiology Study Group  Stephen Jay Gould  universalism  Edward O. Wilson
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1021190227056
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,029
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Edward O. Wilson and the Organicist Tradition.Abraham H. Gibson - 2013 - Journal of the History of Biology 46 (4):599-630.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Sociobiology.Harmon Holcomb & Jason M. Byron - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Is Sociobiology a Pseudoscience?R. Paul Thompson - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:363 - 370.
From Up Here They Look Like Ants1.Michael E. Malone - 1986 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 29 (1-4):407-422.
Is Sociobiology a New Paradigm?Michael Ruse - 1987 - Philosophy of Science 54 (1):98-104.
The Sociology of Sociobiology.Ronald de Sousa - 1990 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (3):271 – 283.
Science as Ideology: The Rejection and Reception of Sociobiology in China.Li Jianhui & Hong Fan - 2003 - Journal of the History of Biology 36 (3):567-578.
The Transformation of Human Sociobiology.Philip Kitcher - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:63-74.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-05-29

Total views
108 ( #94,608 of 2,427,622 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #236,812 of 2,427,622 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes