“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.
- Should our understanding of human nature have a basis in biology?
- Should the social sciences have a basis in biology the way that biology has a basis in chemistry?
- 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?
- Do today’s proponents of those ideologies still object to sociobiology?
- How might we react should be find sociobiology in conflict with our own ideas about human nature, society, politics, economic, etc.?
- How can we discern which aspects of human society are due to biological evolution and
- which ones are due to cultural evolution?
- What are the limitations of sociobiology?