Human Nature Explored
What do we mean when we say things like "It's only human nature" or "To err is human"? Indeed, what do we mean by "human nature"? The author explores these questions and how we came to accept certain things about ourselves as unchangeable, bedrock characteristics. In this book, human nature as demonstrated by values, emotion, gender roles, intelligence, consciousness, aggression, and personal freedom is explored in the context of both evolution and the social fabric (nature and nurture). Drawing on contemporary knowledge in psychology, evolution, and the social sciences, the presentation is also influenced by the interaction of history and cultural forces.
- Hardback | 229 pages
- 165.1 x 243.84 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
- 01 Sep 1997
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
- notes, references, bibliography, indexes
Table of contents
Introduction: Themes, tasks, methods; Historical and biological constraints; Myths and human thought about human beings; Biological constraints; Evolution and the genetics of behavior; General principles of evolution; Human evolution; Sociobiology and behavior genetics; Minds, (bodies), and schemas; Minds and bodies; The nature of schemas; Consciousness; A constructivist approach to consciousness; Limited capacity and the utility of consciousness as a serial device; The feedback function of consciousness; Constructions of consciousness; Memory and consciousness; Some speculations about the evolution of consciousness; Emotion; Emotions: Approaches, problems, and myths; Understanding hot emotions: causes, consequences, and constructions; Difference detection: Discrepancies are important; The construction of emotion; Some special problems of the emotions; Evaluation: The culture of emotion; The contemporary scene; Some speculations about the evolution of emotion; The origin and role of values in human thought and action; What is value?; Sources of values; Conclusion: Interdependence, biology, and a contradiction; The social fabric: Aggression and other human characteristics; The functions of society; Aggression; A look at alternative social organizations; Commentary; Differences among people: Intelligence and gender; The problem of intelligence; Sex and sex differences; Some general comments on individual differences; Morality, Freedom, and Power; Morality and human nature; Rationality and universality; Freedom, constraints, and power: What does it mean to feel free?; Cognition and Language; The categories of thought; Language; World and mind: Structure and representation; Reductionism - mind is not brain, or vice versa; Concluding thoughts; Appendix: Psychology as a reflection of cultural values; Choicepoints in the history of psychology; Physics envy, and doing psychology without experiments.