Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Sociobiology: sociobiology investigates the biological basis for behavior in humans and animals. The term was coined by E. O. Wilson (E.O. Wilson, Sociobiology The New Synthesis, 1975). The sociobiological approach was criticized in the following years for the fact that it defined differences in gender and origin as too strong and decisive. It thus laid the foundation for determinism. See also explanation, behavior, freedom of will, evolution, Darwinism.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
II 240
Sociobiology/Gould: Sociobiology is a specific theory on the nature of genetic and evolutionary inputs into human behavior.
It is based on the view that natural selection is a literally almighty architect who makes the organisms step by step as the best solution to the problems of life in a local environment.
It breaks down organisms into "features" and explains their existence as a sentence of the best solutions. Thus completely unproven theories are presented, e. g. why some people (or all) are aggressive, xenophobic, religious, greedy or homosexual.
II 241
GouldVsSociobiology: Zoocentrism is the primary fallacy of sociobiology: if animals develop with primary mechanisms and structures as products of natural selection, then human behaviour must have a similar basis!
Human/Gould: Humans are animals with one difference: as a result of enormous flexibility based on the complexity of our oversized brain and the potential cultural and non-genetic basis of adaptive behavior.
These aspects exclude zoo-centric analogies to insects that "murder" within their families.
II 242
Ironically, the zoocentrism of human sociobiology is often an illusion that conceals an inverse way of thinking: "objective constructions" often conceal our own unconscious prejudices and hopes that we impose on nature.
Definition Sociobiology is about the idea that a behaviour point in humans must also be "natural" if it looks similar in animals. These are misleading similarities. (>Analogies).
For example, associating human names with the actions of other beings and speak of enslavement in the ants, rape in the wild ducks and adultery in the mountain bluethroat.
Since these "character traits" exist in the "lower" animals, they can be derived as "natural" genetic and adaptive for humans.
GouldVsSociobiology: But they never existed outside a human context of meaning.
GouldVsZoocentrism: Zoocentric systems fail mainly because they are never what they pretend to be. The "objective" animal behaviour is from the very beginning an imposition of human preferences.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gould I
Stephen Jay Gould
The Panda’s Thumb. More Reflections in Natural History, New York 1980
German Edition:
Der Daumen des Panda Frankfurt 2009

Gould II
Stephen Jay Gould
Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes. Further Reflections in Natural History, New York 1983
German Edition:
Wie das Zebra zu seinen Streifen kommt Frankfurt 1991

Gould III
Stephen Jay Gould
Full House. The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin, New York 1996
German Edition:
Illusion Fortschritt Frankfurt 2004

Gould IV
Stephen Jay Gould
The Flamingo’s Smile. Reflections in Natural History, New York 1985
German Edition:
Das Lächeln des Flamingos Basel 1989

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-06-26
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