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Darwinism and human affairs / Richard D. Alexander.


Seattle : University of Washington Press, [1979] .
ISBN 0295956410, 9780295956411, 0295959010, 0708110118, 9780708110119

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Subjects Biological Evolution.
Cultural Evolution.
Culture.
Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 -- Influence.
Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882.
Darwinismus.
Evolution.
Évolution sociale.
Évolution.
Genetics, Behavioral.
Influence (Literary, artistic, etc.)
Natural selection.
Selection, Genetic.
Sélection naturelle.
Social evolution.
Series Jessie and John Danz lectures.
Description xxiv, 317 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Copyright Date [1979]
©1979
Notes Includes indexes.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 283-298).
Summary From books blurb: Darwinism and human affairs. Drawing on recent developments in biology, a distinguished scholar discusses human behavior in terms of modern evolutionary theory. With clarity and precision, he argues that evolution can be used as an explanatory principle to help understand a wide range of human social activity. This line of inquiry leads him to some far-reaching speculations about the reasons for cultural change and it directions. The book begins with a review of basic evolutionary theory, presenting evidence to support the proposition that human social organization arises out of characteristics evolved by the process of natural selection. This approach resolves the apparent contradiction between the concepts of humans as either hedonistic individuals or groups altruists, by showing that they are actually both, and by explaining how this can be true. To test this view of human evolution, the author examines various predictions about human behavior that follow logically from the principle of natural selection. Cultural patterns in marriage, inheritance, and social altruism are explored, and the concepts of justice, ethics, and morality are interpreted in new ways. The result is a better understanding of the relationship between the process of organic evolution and the structure, variations, and significance of human behavior.
Contents Preface -- Acknowledgments -- 1: Challenge of Darwinism -- Introduction -- Macro- and microevolution -- Darwin's comparative model -- Structure of evolutionary theory -- Darwin's claim of universality -- Survival of the fittest what? -- Population regulation, sex ratios, and senescence group selection -- Concept of inclusive fitness -- Inclusive fitness and group selection -- Social reciprocity -- Historical relationships between nepotism and reciprocity -- Why live in groups? -- 2: Natural Selection And Culture -- Introduction -- Cultural inertia -- Cultural change -- Comparison of organic and cultural evolution -- Arbitrariness in culture -- Problem of individual development -- Evolution and learning -- Heritability problem -- Superseding biological constraints on human behavior -- Needless sources of controversy -- Various meanings of determinism -- Cultural determinism -- Proximate mechanisms of inclusive-fitness-maximizing behavior -- Ontogeny of nepotism -- Parental behavior and the social learning model of nepotism -- Models of proximate mechanisms of nepotism other than social learning -- Social learning and individuality -- Special cases of social learning: falling in love -- Effects of rapid changes in social interactions -- Is Xenophobia learned? -- Inclusive-fitness-maximizing and the capacity for culture -- Consciousness, foresight, and free will -- What is conscience? -- Self-deception -- 3: Natural Selection And Patterns Of Human Sociality -- Introduction -- Human network of kin -- Some terminological problems -- Evolutionary approach to kinship analysis -- Classificatory aspects of kinship systems -- Biological predictions about human sociality -- Some statements from Murdock that do not support evolutionary theory -- Analysis of two other phenomena apparently contrary to evolutionary theory -- Cousin marriage asymmetries and the avunculate -- Social learning and cultural patterns -- Why is incest so abhorred? -- Reciprocity and nepotism: Sahlins' model -- Apparently nonreproductive behaviors -- Biological distinctiveness of the human species -- Biology and the long-term patterning of human history -- 4: Evolution, law, and justice -- Introduction -- Causes of human groupings -- Group-living and rules -- What is justice? -- Justice, happiness, and keeping up with the Joneses -- Reproductive competition and law-breaking -- Changes in rules with development of nation-states -- Aside on human evolution -- More on nation-states -- Note on law and magic -- Science as a social enterprise -- Biological basis of ethics -- Right and wrong -- Evolution and normative ethics -- Epilogue: on the limits of human nature -- Bibliography -- Index of names -- Index of subjects.
Network Numbers (OCoLC)4956611
(OCoLC)ocm04956611
WorldCat Search OCLC WorldCat
WorldCat Identities Alexander, Richard D., 1929-
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