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Biology and Freedom

S A Barnett
Biology and Freedom

Biology and Freedom

S A Barnett

$235.00

Hardback
Are we doing ourselves justice when we equate human societies with those of baboons - or human intelligence with that of a dog salivating at the sound of a bell? Does biology explain our greed or our generosity, our inhumanity or our altruism? What should we infer from catch phrases such as 'the territorial imperative', 'the naked ape', and 'the selfish gene'? Biology and Freedom is an essay on human nature* an attempt to make a just assessment of a species often presented as predominantly and unavoidably violent, grasping, selfish and stupid. Likening human beings to animals is a traditional method of influencing attitudes on morals and politics. But in this book Professor Barnett shows that modern ethology, experimental psychology, genetics and evolutionary theory give the now fashionable misanthropy no authentic support. In doing so he asks whether the theory of evolution has any bearing on Machiavellianism in politics or the concept of original sin; and whether laboratory experiments on the effects of reward and punishment tell us anything about the enigma of free will.;Combining the findings of up-to-date biology with logic and humour, Professor Barnett gives a lucid alternative portrait of humanity in which he stresses the questions that the complexities of human existence will raise long after current myths have faded. This book is for all those interested in such questions, in the truth about human nature, and in the future of human society.

- Publisher "The importance of Barnett's book is that it was written by a practising scientist who fully accepts the role of reductionism in science. His main message is an indictment of the techniques and results of scientific reductionism as tools for use in social engineering and to explain (or, rather, to explain away) those instincts of ethics and morality in persons and communitites which could be called the art of living. Lord Eric Ashby

- Publisher

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About "Biology and Freedom"

Are we doing ourselves justice when we equate human societies with those of baboons - or human intelligence with that of a dog salivating at the sound of a bell? Does biology explain our greed or our generosity, our inhumanity or our altruism? What should we infer from catch phrases such as 'the territorial imperative', 'the naked ape', and 'the selfish gene'? Biology and Freedom is an essay on human nature* an attempt to make a just assessment of a species often presented as predominantly and unavoidably violent, grasping, selfish and stupid. Likening human beings to animals is a traditional method of influencing attitudes on morals and politics. But in this book Professor Barnett shows that modern ethology, experimental psychology, genetics and evolutionary theory give the now fashionable misanthropy no authentic support. In doing so he asks whether the theory of evolution has any bearing on Machiavellianism in politics or the concept of original sin; and whether laboratory experiments on the effects of reward and punishment tell us anything about the enigma of free will.;Combining the findings of up-to-date biology with logic and humour, Professor Barnett gives a lucid alternative portrait of humanity in which he stresses the questions that the complexities of human existence will raise long after current myths have faded. This book is for all those interested in such questions, in the truth about human nature, and in the future of human society.
- Publisher

"The importance of Barnett's book is that it was written by a practising scientist who fully accepts the role of reductionism in science. His main message is an indictment of the techniques and results of scientific reductionism as tools for use in social engineering and to explain (or, rather, to explain away) those instincts of ethics and morality in persons and communitites which could be called the art of living. Lord Eric Ashby
- Publisher

Table Of Contents

  • List Of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Part I. An Introduction: 1. Four Portraits
  • 2. The Pessimistic Tradition
  • 3. Animals And Analogy
  • Part Ii. Homo Pugnax: The Violent Species: 4. Communication And Instinct
  • 5. The Aggression Labyrinth
  • Part Iii. Homo Egoisticus: The Selfish Species: 6. Evolution And Natural
  • Selection
  • 7. Environment And Heredity
  • 8. Stories Of Human Evolution
  • 9. Darwinism, Genetics And Politics
  • Part Iv. Homo Operans: The Greedy Species: 10. Conditioning And
  • Improvisation
  • 11. Work And Play
  • Part V. Homo Sapiens: The Human Species: 12. The Reductionist Imperative
  • 13. Human Communication
  • 14. Teaching And Tradition
  • 15. The Question
  • Glossary
  • Notes
  • References
  • Name Index
  • Subject Index.

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 169112
  • Product Code 0521353165
  • EAN 9780521353168
  • Pages 396
  • Department Academic
  • Category Science
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Cambridge University Uk
  • Publication Date Jan 1989
  • Dimensions 244 x 169 x 22 mm
  • Weight 0.825kg

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