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Humanism and Sociobiology

  • The 519 Community Centre, Rm 304 or TBA 519 Church Street Toronto, ON, M4Y 2C9 Canada (map)

“What is man…?” (Psalm 8:4)

“We are a biological species arising from Earth’s biosphere as one adapted species among many; and however splendid our languages and cultures, however rich and subtle our minds, however vast our creative powers, the mental process is the product of a brain shaped by the hammer of natural selection upon the anvil of nature.” Edward O. Wilson, 2004 preface to On Human Nature.

  1. Should our understanding of human nature have a basis in biology?
  2. Should the social sciences have a basis in biology the way that biology has a basis in chemistry?
  3. Historically, some proponents of certain ideologies, those that have a “clean slate” view of human nature, had a very strong negative reaction to Wilson’s application of sociobiology to the human species. Why was that the case?
  4. Do today’s proponents of those ideologies still object to sociobiology?
  5. How might we react should be find sociobiology in conflict with our own ideas about human nature, society, politics, economic, etc.?
  6. How can we discern which aspects of human society are due to biological evolution and 
  7. which ones are due to cultural evolution?
  8. What are the limitations of sociobiology?


Later Event: February 4
HAT Forum; topic TBA