chapter  3
20 Pages

Sociobiology: Another New Synthesis

WithDavid L. Hull

Sociobiologists are trying to expand the frontiers of biology to include territory which has traditionally been part of the domain of the social sciences. The controversy over sociobiology has taken on the character it has for several reasons. First, the participants do not view themselves from an historical perspective, as just one more episode in a continuing saga. Second, everyone concerned judges the behavior of their opponents by extremely unrealistic standards. In spite of the implications of evolutionary theory, scientists consistently treat species as if they were distinguishable by sets of traits which are severally necessary and jointly sufficient for membership, as if evolving species formed unchangeable discrete entities. The substantive content of science is of fundamental importance to scientists and non-scientists alike. The chapter aims to emphasize the features of the controversy over sociobiology which are common to disputes.