In this stimulating book, Goldsmith argues that biology has a great deal to say that should be of interest to social scientists, historians, philosophers, and humanists in general. He believes that anyone studying the social behavior of humans must take into consideration both proximate cause--the physiology, biochemistry, and social mechanisms of behavior--and ultimate cause--how the behavior came to exist in evolutionary time. Goldsmith, a neurobiologist, draws examples from neurobiology, psychology, and ethology (behavioral evolution). The result is a work that overcomes many of the misconceptions that have hindered the rich contributions the biological sciences have to offer concerning the evolution of human society, behavior, and sense of identity. Among the key topics addressed are the nature of biological explanation, the relationship between genes and behavior, those aspects of behavior most likely to respond to natural selection, the relationship between evolution and learning, and some probable modes of interaction between cultural and biological evolution. By re-examining the role of biological explanation in the domain of social development, the author has significantly advanced a more well-rounded view of human evolution and shed new light on the perennial question of what it means to be human. His book will appeal to biologists, social scientists, traditional humanists, and interested general readers.
- Publication Date:
- 10 / 10 / 1991