Interactions : The Biological Context of Social Systems

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AThink of the word "evolution": the name Darwin and the term "natural selection" come to mind. But any powerful general theory of evolution must account for social evolution, both human and nonhuman, and contemporary Darwinism has not persuasively made such an accounting. In Interactions: The Biological Context of Social Systems, Niles Eldredge and Marjorie Grene argue effectively and coherently against the reductionist tendencies in modern Darwinism, which they call ultra-Darwinism, also known as genic reduction. This book explores the biological underpinnings of social systems from invertebrates to mammals, particularly humans. These social systems, the authors argue, represent fusions between the economic and reproductive interests of organisms. Their theory moves away from the more prominent emphasis on reproductive biology at the core of sociobiology to reinstate the importance of economics in social organizations of all types.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 242 pages
  • 165.1 x 241.3 x 19.05mm | 496.23g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 3 tables, 2 figs
  • 023107946X
  • 9780231079464

Table of contents

1. Contemporary Evolutionary Perspectives 2. Darwinism and Ultra-Darwinism 3. Entities, Systems, and Processes in the Organic Realm 4. Biotic Consequences of Organismic Reproduction 5. Organismic Economics and Biotic Organizaition 6. The Biology of Sociality 7. Human Sociality
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Review quote

This is a period when new general hypotheses in evolutionary theory are flourishing, and when the falsification ax isn't swinging quite as freely as it does in periods when a field is settling down to a new orthodoxy. In this connection, proponents of a hierarchical theory must prove their mettle by bringing their perspectives to bear on problems about social evolution. I can think of no better people than Marjorie Grene and Niles Eldredge to do this.
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About Niles Eldredge

Niles Eldredge is curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Among his recent books are The Miner's Canary: Unraveling the Mysteries of Extinction and Fossils: The Evolution and Extinction of Species. He has coauthored and edited many books, including Phylogenetic Analysis and Paleontology, Phylogenetic Patterns and the Evolutionary Process, The Myths and Human Evolution, The Natural History Reader on Evolution, and, most recently, Systematics, Ecology, and the Biodiversity Crisis, published by Columbia University Press. Marjorie Grene, professor emeritus of philosophy, University of California, Davis, is honorary distinguished professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is a well-known philosopher of science and has published widely. Her books include A Portrait of Aristotle, The Knower and the Known, The Understanding of Nature, and Descartes. Grene is the editor of Dimensions of Darwinism, as well as of other collections in the history of philosophy.
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