The Biophilia Hypothesis

The Biophilia Hypothesis

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Description

"Biophilia" is the term coined by Edward O. Wilson, author of The Diversity of Life and winner of two Pulitzer prizes, to describe what he believes is our innate affinity for the natural world. In his landmark book Biophilia, he examined how our tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes might be a biologically based need, integral to our development as individuals and as a species. The idea has caught the imagination of diverse thinkers. The Biophilia Hypothesis brings together the views of some of the most creative scientists of our time, each attempting to amplify and refine the concept of biophilia. The various perspectives - psychological, biological, cultural, symbolic, and aesthetic - frame the theoretical issues by presenting empirical evidence that supports or refutes the hypothesis. Numerous examples illustrate the idea that biophilia and its converse, biophobia, have a genetic component: people develop fear and even full-blown phobias of snakes and spiders with very little negative reinforcement, while more threatening modern artifacts - knives, guns, automobiles - rarely elicit such a response; people would rather look at water, green vegetation, or flowers than built structures of glass and concrete; and the development of language, myth, and thought appears to be greatly dependent on the use of natural symbols, particularly animals. The biophilia hypothesis, if substantiated, provides a powerful argument for the conservation of biological diversity. More important, it implies serious consequences for our well-being as society becomes further estranged from the natural world. Relentless environmental destruction could have a significant impact on our quality of life,not just materially but psychologically and even spiritually.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 153 x 229 x 27.94mm | 680.39g
  • Washington, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 1559631473
  • 9781559631471
  • 260,073

About Stephen R. Kellert

Stephen R. Kellert was the Tweedy/Ordway Professor of Social Ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and author of numerous books including, The Biophilia Hypothesis (coedited with E. O. Wilson, 1993), The Value of Life: Biological Diversity and Human Society (1996), Kinship to Mastery: Biophilia in Human Evolution and Development (1997), The Good in Nature and Humanity: Connecting Science, Religion, and Spirituality with the Natural World (coedited with T. Farnham, 2002), and Children and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, and Evolutionary Investigations (coedited with P. H. Kahn, 2002). Edward O. Wilson is Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. Arguably the most important evolutionary biologist of his time, he has made seminal contributions to the study of evolution and ecology, created the field of sociobiology, and was one of the earliest voices to speak out about biodiversity loss.

Wilson is the author of two Pulitzer Prize winning books, On Human Nature and The Ants. He is also the author of many groundbreaking works, including Sociobiology, The Diversity of Life, The Future of Life, Consilience, Naturalist and In Search of Nature.

Wilson is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, and is an active author of media articles and editorials. He was mentioned in the Economist as "one of the world's most distinguished scientists."

Before his death in 1996, Paul Shepard was Avery Professor of Human Ecology and Natural Philosophy at Pitzer College and the Claremont Graduate School. Among his books are The Others: How Animals Make Us Human (Island Press/ Shearwater Books, 1995) and Encounters with Nature, (Island Press/Shearwater Books, 1999).
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