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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Controversial blueprint for a new science, 9 Jun. 2001
By A Customer
In 'Sociobiology' Wilson stakes out territory for a new science, amalgamating evolutionary biology and social sciences. Highly controversial at the time of its writing (1975) and still smouldering, the book incorporates a theory purporting to explain all social behaviour in animals and humans in terms of adaptive behaviour on a phenotype- (species-) level.
Wilson claims that altruism, aggression, sex and religion can be explained as the survival techniques of sociable species. In 'The Fontana History of the Human Sciences' Roger Smith rates sociobiology along with neuropsychology and cognitive psychology as one of the defining areas of theory of the late twentieth century. Later discredited for an apparent failure to account for much of the diversity of human culture, the theory nevertheless remains fascinating, thought-provoking, inherently credible, and, if accepted, the basis for calling into question much of what we value and redefining many of the principles our philosophies are based on.
The book itself is thorough and well-illustrated with studies and examples, primarily from Wilson's research specialisation of insects. Several chapters are dedicated to the application of the theory to human society, although in my view more attention should be paid to the ramifications of the theory for psychology and philosophy.
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Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson (Hardcover - 1 April 1980)
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