Psychology 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 Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Ernst Mayr on Sociobiology - Dictionary of Arguments

I 266
Sociobiology/Edward O. Wilson "Sociobiology" (Wilson, 1975). Fired heated controversy about the importance of evolution for social behaviour. Social insects, for example.
Uses the term "biological basis" somewhat ambiguously:
a) biological basis for behavior (Wilson): genetic disposition contributes to the phenotype of behavior.
b) for his politically motivated opponents, this meant "genetically determined". We should probably be degraded to mere machines. But everyone, including Wilson, knows that this is not the case.
>E.O. Wilson
(Old system/environment controversy (nature vs nurture)).
>Nature vs nurture.
Sociobiology/Wilson(1)/Ruse(2): according to their definitions, it should be assumed that the area encompasses all social actions and interactions in animals. This would also include social migration. For example: African ungulates, social migratory birds, migration to spawning sites, etc.
However, Wilson and Ruse don not deal with that.
I 267
Sociobiology/Wilson/Ruse: Subject: Aggression, sexuality, reproduction strategies of females, altruism, relative selection, parental manipulation, reciprocal altruism.
They all increase or decrease reproductive success.
Reason for the controversial status of sociobiology: that humans are given little more space than animals. Wilson and Ruse do not call themselves sociobiologists.
>Humans, >Animals, >Life, >Evolution.

1. E.O. Wilson (1975). Sociobiology. The new Synthesis. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
2. M. Ruse (1987). Is sociobiology a new paradigm? Philosophy of Science 54 (1):98-104.

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. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Mayr I
Ernst Mayr
This is Biology, Cambridge/MA 1997
German Edition:
Das ist Biologie Heidelberg 1998

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