chapter  4
25 Pages

A Critical Examination of Current Sociobiological Theory: Adequacy and Implications

WithArthur L. Caplan

Questions of values and ideology have taken on increasing prominence in discussions concerning the adequacy of various scientific explanations of behavior. There has been a discernable pattern among a number of the controversies occasioned by scientific speculation concerning the biological causes of human behavior. The common presupposition underlying both the general disputes and the special case of sociobiology is that biologically deterministic theories demean and belittle human-kind, and provide grist for the mill of conservative defenders of existing social policies. The sorts of methodological worries that have long plagued evolutionary theory will reappear with a vengeance when such a theory is applied to human behavior. The primary area in which methodological worries about evolutionary theory have come to a head is in the application of sociobiological insights to human behavior. Advocates and critics of sociobiology seem to agree on a number of points concerning the causes of social behavior.