A Darwinian Worldview by Brian Baxter

By Brian Baxter

Darwin's idea of evolution by way of normal choice is taken into account in its program to humans during this publication. Brian Baxter examines a number of the sociobiological ways to the reason of human behaviour which view the human mind, and so the human brain, because the fabricated from evolution, and considers the most arguments for and in contrast declare. In so doing he defends the techniques opposed to a few universal criticisms, equivalent to the cost that they're reductionist and dehumanising. the results of those arguments for the social sciences and arts are assessed, as is the naturalistic view of ethics to which they lead. A key factor tested within the ebook is the relationship among this Darwinist point of view on people and glossy environmental ethics, which additionally frequently think that humans are a part of an developed residing international. the consequences of those positions for the meaningfulness of human lifestyles also are examined.Throughout the dialogue, the positions in sociobiology and environmental ethics built by way of Edward O Wilson are taken as an exemplar of the attribute gains of a Darwinian worldview, and the arguments of Wilson and his leader critics are completely tested.

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This question raises the general issue of the tenability of naturalism in moral theory – a topic to which we will return in Chapter 7. The other main criticisms of sociobiology are that it generates endless but untestable ‘Just So’ stories about the evolutionary origins of behaviour, and that sociobiologists have simply picked ad lib topics in human behaviour to speculate about before moving on to the next item which takes their fancy. The result is the failure to produce, or even attempt to produce, a worked-out body of coherent thought about human society (Laland and Brown 2002: pp.

But it was Wilson who first made a widely read proposal for the application of sociobiology to the human case in his 1975 book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. The final chapter of this work, in which Wilson speculated about the evolutionary functionality of such exclusively human traits as gender differences and religion, Sociobiology 23 formed part of a general case for the revamping of the traditional social sciences in such a way that they could be connected with the biologically-based synthesis represented by sociobiology.

Once again, recent research on our closest primate cousin, the bonobo, which has emerged since Wilson published his book, is revealing that this is another primate species in which sex has become divorced from exclusively reproductive activities and turned into a generalised form of social interaction between all members of the troupe (de Waal and Lanting 1997). Wilson’s own point, however, is that even though much in human sexual behaviour is genetically based, it is not an automatic presumption of the sociobiological perspective that the behaviour in question is directly linked to reproductive success, which is the incautious conclusion of those who connect nature and sex-for-reproduction only.

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