Read "On Human Nature" by Edward O. Wilson available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. In his new preface E. O. Wilson. Editorial Reviews. Review. Wilson is a sophisticated and marvelously humane writer. His vision site Store · site eBooks · Science & Math. In his new preface E. O. Wilson reflects on how he came to write this book: how better explain the relevance of biology to the understanding of human behavior.
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On Human Nature [Edward O. Wilson]. In his new preface E. O. Wilson reflects on how he came to write this book: how The Insect Societies led him to write. No one who cares about the human future can afford to ignore E.O. Wilson's book . On Human Nature begins a new phase in the most important intellectual. On Human Nature. In his new preface E. O. Wilson reflects on how he came to write this book: how The Insect Societies led him to write Sociobiology, and.
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Letters to a Young Scientist. The Deep Origin of Societies. The Future of Life. It is clear that Wilson has much more time for the religion than he does for the Marxism, though he spends lots of time in this book tarring them with the same brush. The main point of his thesis is that humans are products of evolution, no surprise there. So, to what extent does our biology underpin the kinds of social structures we are likely to have and what does our biology close off to us as social options?
This book is also a polemic against the social sciences — a polemic based on the argument that the social sciences do not rest upon a proper foundation because they misunderstand our fundamental natures. This is because while discussing our natures they are ignorant of our biology and present us as blank slates on which anything can be written. Much of this is rather self-evident, I think.
If we accept human evolution - that we have evolved from creatures spanning back in time to some kind of primal soup — then it would seem odd indeed to argue that this evolution would play no role at all in influencing or even in determining a range of things about us and the societies we are likely to create. The question really is to what extent does our biology determine the social structures and relations we are likely to enter into, to what extent can acknowledging that we are biological creatures explain these human societies and preferences?
Which brings me to my concerns with this book. Does this heritage limit human destiny? I say that because all too rarely is it shown that our behaviour as social animals is limited by our biological heritage. Biological interpretations, to the extent that they are going to provide answers and foundations for understanding human behaviour, must first assume that key human traits particularly essentially human ones must be innate — or at least mostly innate.
Chomsky asserts that children simply do not get enough exposure to varieties of linguistic structures to enable them to be able to become competent language users. The poverty of the linguistic environments children are faced with ought to mean virtually no one would ever learn their native language, and yet the very opposite is the case.
Wilson twice states that there exist mathematical models that prove we should not be able to use language at all if we needed to learn it each time from scratch. Therefore, our brains have evolved to make the learning of language more or less inevitable, given even the scantiest of access to a native language.
The problem is that such a view is not as unproblematically accepted as is made out here. The Sociolinguists have shown that rather than children being given incredibly poor linguistic environments on which to learn their native language, parents and other adults go out of their way to structure child learning so as to provide very rich learning environments.
Furthermore, the richer that environment the better the language is learnt. Endless studies have now been conducted on the cognitive development of children as influenced by the richness of the language learning environment they are confronted with while learning to speak, and it is utterly clear that those exposed to the kinds of barren environments Chomsky mentions end up with tightly restricted vocabularies and grammatical abilities that severely limit their cognitive development.
To present Piaget as the last word on learning is not only self-serving, but is also not supported by the latest in educational research. But then, I guess it is normal for people to cherry pick when they are building a case. What is interesting about this book is how few actual pronouncements there are about the biological limits imposed on human cultures.
Edward O. Wilson
The chapter on men and women or rather, sex is a case in point.However, he granted that sociobiological explanations of the sort favored by Wilson might possibly be correct. Lovejoy Editor Lee Hannah Editor Hanlon credited Wilson with helping to establish that human behavior could not be understood solely in terms of "learned cultural values", that the behavioral sciences could help to explain "the interpersonal actions in past societies.
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After this you know what Wilson is but you're not sure what he's after, and he takes you on a sometimes-interesting journey through the biological origins of aggression, sexuality, altruism and religion. I have to admit it can get bland but if you power through, there can be some incredible breakthroughs on, not only why other people do a thing but on why you, yourself do whatever it is that you do.