Sociology Index

SOCIOBIOLOGY

Sociobiology is a perspective on human social behavior made accessible by the publication of E.O. Wilson's 'Sociobiology' and Richard Dawkins's 'The Selfish Gene.' Sociobiology is verymuch a field of scientific study, and is based on the assumption that social behavior has resulted from evolution. Sociobiology set the stage for such controversial works as Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene and Wilson's own Consilience. The term sociobiology has been replaced to a great extent by the term evolutionary psychology. Sociobiology on genetics and biological adaptation is not a sociological perspective. A biological model of machismo asserts that males everywhere tend to be more aggressive than females, a sex difference which appears to have a genetic base.

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. A modern theory of sociobiology offers another explanation for macho behavior. According to this theory, much of animal, and perhaps human, behavior is influenced by the drive for one's genes to reproduce themselves. 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. 

Sociobiology and Moral Discourse - Loyal Rue.
In the intellectual lineage of sociobiology, 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.
 

ETHICS AND SOCIOBIOLOGY - by Peter Singer
Abstract. Sociobiologists make large claims for their subject. 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.

Sociobiology: The New Synthesis - Edward O. Wilson.
Sociobiology defines such concepts as society, individual, population, communication, and regulation. It attempts to explain, biologically, why groups of animals behave the way they do when finding food or shelter, confronting enemies, or getting along with one another. E.O. Wilson defines sociobiology as "the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior," the central theoretical problem of which is the question of how behaviors that seemingly contradict the principles of natural selection, such as altruism, can develop.

Sociobiology: A New Synthesis, Wilson's first attempt to outline the new field of study, was first published in 1975 and called for a fairly revolutionary update to the so-called Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology. Sociobiology as a new field of study demanded the active inclusion of sociology, the social sciences, and the humanities in evolutionary theory. Like The Origin of Species, Sociobiology has forced many biologists and social scientists to reassess their most cherished notions of how life works. --Therese Littleton.

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.y and human nature - Munoz-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.

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. Sociobiologists attempt to build a model of human nature in which the fundamental goal of all human action is biological survival.

Sociobiology underestimates this historical cultural dimension of human existence. In this way sociobiology produces an ideological discourse on human nature, a false representation of the world which can be of utility for legitimising oppressive and discriminatory practices.

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. 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.

THE SOCIOBIOLOGY OF SOCIOPATHY: AN INTEGRATED EVOLUTIONARY MODEL. Mealey, Linda (1995).
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.