The Triumph of Sociobiology

The Triumph of Sociobiology

3.86 (58 ratings by Goodreads)
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In The Triumph of Sociobiology, John Alcock reviews the controversy that has surrounded evolutionary studies of human social behavior following the 1975 publication of E.O. Wilson's classic, Sociobiology, The New Synthesis. Denounced vehemently as an "ideology" that has justified social evils and inequalities, sociobiology has survived the assault. Twenty-five years after the field was named by Wilson, the approach he championed has successfully demonstrated its value in the study of animal behavior, including the behavior of our own species. Yet, misconceptions remain-to our disadvantage. In this straight-forward, objective approach to the sociobiology debate, noted animal behaviorist John Alcock illuminates how sociobiologists study behavior in all species. He confronts the chief scientific and ideological objections head on, with a compelling analysis of case histories that involve such topics as sexual jealousy, beauty, gender difference, parent-offspring relations, and rape. In so doing, he shows that sociobiology provides the most satisfactory scientific analysis of social behavior available today.
Alcock challenges the notion that sociobiology depends on genetic determinism while showing the shortcoming of competing approaches that rely on cultural or environmental determinism. He also presents the practical applications of sociobiology and the progress sociobiological research has made in the search for a more complete understanding of human activities. His reminder that "natural" behavior is not "moral" behavior should quiet opponents fearing misapplication of evolutionary theory to our species. The key misconceptions about this evolutionary field are dissected one by one as the author shows why sociobiologists have had so much success in explaining the puzzling and fascinating social behavior of nonhuman animals and humans alike.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 26mm | 480.81g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • numerous halftones and line figures
  • 0195143833
  • 9780195143836
  • 2,166,723

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ; Introduction ; 1. What Is Sociobiology? ; 2. What Sociobiologists Study ; 3. Sociobiology and Genes ; 4. Sociobiology and Science ; 5. Science and Reality ; 6. What Have Sociobiologists Discovered? ; 7. The Problem with Cultural Determinism ; 8. Sociobiology and Human Culture ; 9. The Practical Applications of Sociobiology ; 10. The Triumph of Sociobiology ; Appendix ; Citations ; Selected References ; Illustration Credits ; Index
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Review quote

The Triumph of Sociobiology is a clear, evocative, and accurate account of the history and content on the subject and the general reader alike * Edward O. Wilson * The Triumph of Sociobiology is a rather different book, which can be read profitably by interested laypersons, students, and experts alike, * Human Nature * I can"t wait to show this to my sociologist colleagues ... Alcock's text is a triumph in itself. * ISBE Newsletter * It doesn"t matter whether you call it sociobiology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary psychology or even selfish genery, John Alcock shows that triumph is exactly the right word. It is a field of research in its mature growing season, with new young scientists flocking to join in. Alcock captures the active spirit of this once-controversial subject perfectly. * Richard Dawkins *
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About John Alcock

John Alcock is Professor of Biology at Arizona State University. A researcher in animal behavior, he is the author of the leading book in the field, Animal Behavor: An Evolutionary Approach, as well as several other books on behavior. He lives in Tempe, Arizona.
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Rating details

58 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 40% (23)
4 24% (14)
3 24% (14)
2 7% (4)
1 5% (3)
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