When evolutionary biology stretched out a tentacle called sociobiology and began to probe human behavior back in the s, there was no room for neutrality Advocates of the new science hailed the dawn of a new era in our understanding of human behavior, while opponents wrung their hands with concern over the new field s potential to transform and even destroy anthropology and other social and behavioral sciences Twenty years later, little has changed Anthropology and its sister disciplines are still intact and thriving, though they seldom make use of insights from evolutionary biology Cultural anthropology in particular has recoiled from the biological threat by moving away from the sciences and toward the humanities During that same time, a new generation of scholars in biological anthropology, psychology, and other fields has made great progress by using evolutionary theory to understand human behavior, applying it to everything from mating and parenting to the study of mental illness The success of this research program is threatened, however, by its lack of a serious role for the concept of culture That Complex Whole Culture and the Evolution of Human Behavior is an effort to develop a scientific study of human behavior that is at once evolutionary and cultural In a lively, readable style, it deals with such serious, scholarly issues as how to best define culture, the question of whether culture is present in other species, human universals and human diversity, the relationship between culture and behavior, and cultural and moral relativism It covers existing models of the relationship between cultural and biological evolution, including the concept of the meme and the new science of memetics, as well as the author s own work on the role of culture in human communications that draws upon the study of animal signals


10 thoughts on “That Complex Whole: Culture And The Evolution Of Human Behavior

  1. Riversue Riversue says:

    Interesting look at culture and the evolution of human behaviour but it seemed a little brief and incomplete Well written.


  2. Eliza Eliza says:

    A different approach to AnthropologyThe author is not going into a depth study of one tribe, but tries to explain that the same principles affect all human cultures He also points out how anthropology should beopen to include other sciences to understand Human Behavior.It was an interesting read, not like normal textbooks I recommend it.


  3. Corinne Corinne says:

    I actually found this to be quite interesting and enjoyable.