Sociology Index


Sociobiology is a perspective on human social behavior made accessible by the publication in 1975 of E.O. Wilson's Sociobiology and Richard Dawkins's 1976 publication of The Selfish Gene.

Sociobiology begins with the assumption that humans are above all else animals and therefore the roots of human social behavior can be found in our evolutionary heritage. Since sociobiology on genetics and biological adaptation it is not a sociological perspective.

The term sociobiology has been replaced to a great extent by the term evolutionary psychology. The central theoretical question of sociobiology is explaining how cooperative behavior may have evolved between unrelated individuals. Currently, reciprocal altruism provides the most convincing explanation.

E. O. Wilson After Twenty Years - Is Human Sociobiology Possible? Antony Flew, Reading
The second word in the subtitle of this article is crucial. For there can be no doubt but that the possibility of sociobiology below the human level has already been abundantly realized in, for instance, the main body of E. O. Wilson's enormous and encyclopedic treatise Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.

What may more reasonably be doubted, and what is in fact questioned here, is whether, as Wilson and others hope and believe, there is much room, or indeed any, for a sociobiology of our own notoriously wayward and idiosyncratic species. In proposing this particular project Wilson and his colleagues have seen themselves as promoting a climactic conquest for evolutionary biology. For surely, they seem to have thought, now, more than a century after Darwin, it is high time and past time to launch the final assault upon the last citadel.

Ethology, Zoosemiotic and Sociobiology
JACK P. HAILMAN, Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin Madison
Current research reveals that the somewhat separate subdisciplines ethology, zoosemiotic and sociobiology function together in clarifying animal behavior. Ethology is taken as the study of individual behavioral patterns, zoosemiotic as the study of animal communication, and sociobiology as the study of social organization. The explosive progress in all research areas cannot be summarized briefly but examples are drawn to provide the flavor of each subdiscipline and their interactions.

Sociobiology and human nature - Muņoz-Rubio J.
Abstract: One of the main theses of sociobiology is that between human beings and the so called 'social' animals there are no qualitative differences, and it is for this reason that it is possible to identify in human beings and social animals essentially similar behaviours, all of which are genetically determined. Sociobiologists often take this idea as a basis for the belief that there exists in the universe an ontological unity that can be understood by means of the scientific empirical method. In this sense, sociobiologists attempt to build a model of human nature in which the fundamental goal of all human action is biological survival, to be understood in terms of the preservation and transmission of genes. Sociobiology underestimates this historical–cultural dimension of human existence and, despite being a discipline grounded in the theory of evolution, it takes for granted a series of essential principles as unchangeable realities. In this way sociobiology produces an ideological discourse on human nature, a false representation of the world which can be of great utility for legitimising many oppressive and discriminatory practices.

Sociobiology and Moral Discourse - Loyal Rue 
In the intellectual lineage of sociobiology (understood as evolutionary social science), this article considers the place of moral discourse in the evolution of emergent systems for mediating behavior. Given that humans share molecular systems, reflex systems, drive systems, emotional systems, and cognitive systems with chimpanzees, why is it that human behavior is so radically different from chimpanzee behavior? The answer is that, unlike chimps, humans possess symbolic systems, empowering them to override chimplike default morality in favor of symbolically mediated moral codes.

Abstract. Sociobiologists make large claims for their subject. Knowing about the genetic underpinnings of human society will, they claim, enable us to understand all of human behavior and even to solve the ancient philosophical questions of how we ought to live. This essay assesses the significance of sociobiology for ethics. It argues that sociobiologists have misunderstood the relevance of facts to values and that their larger ambitions for their subject are bound to remain unfulfilled. Nevertheless, philosophers are wrong to ignore sociobiology. To give a genetic account of the existence of a widely held value does not justify that value, but it does say something of relevance to the ethical issues.

Sociopaths are "outstanding" members of society in two senses: politically, they command attention because of the inordinate amount of crime they commit, and psychologically, they elicit fascination because most of us cannot fathom the cold, detached way they repeatedly harm and manipulate others.