Science Of Behavior

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Science of Behavior

Science of Behavior

Science of Behavior

In the edition of Skinner's Chapter, Skinner appraised, in the same passage quoted above, H. Spencer's way of founding psychology on the principles of evolutionary biology (Spencer, 1873). From Darwin's time on, the application and extension of evolutionary biology to the study of human nature has gone through changing tides of “biologization” and antibiological demarcations, resulting in the nature-nurture distinction and in the debate of how much in human behavior is innate or inherited-and thereby a possible candidate for a biological explanation, and how much is influenced by nurture-which can therefore only be explained by reference to cultural and intellectual influences (Buller, 2005).

From the first trials until today, the application of evolutionary biology in order to explain not only human morphological traits, but also human mind and human behavior, has been under attack from both social scientists and biologists alike, but it has also found enthusiastic support. Dawkins (1976) states in quoting G. G. Simpson (1966) that any effort to grasp human nature and humans' reason for existence that was undertaken before 1859 should be ignored, thereby putting the strongest possible emphasis on a Darwinian understanding of nature in the nature-nurture distinction. Tooby and Cosmides (1992) write that social sciences as they have been studied before without the incorporation of evolutionary biology have been extraordinarily unsuccessful as science just because of the shortfall of ignoring the evolved human nature (Buss, 1994).

On the other hand, in cultural studies, sociologists but also biologists have always emphasized that it is only nurture that can explain the richness and variety of human culture and behavior and have attacked biocentrism or gene-centrism as an oversimplification that is not sufficiently explanatory and may be even politically dangerous.

Since nearly all important realms of human behavior-from gender roles, aggression, love, questions of altruism and egoism, questions of acquiring knowledge, and malleability of character ultimately to the question of freedom, responsibility, and individuality-are affected by the nature-nurture debate, this debate is and will continue to be a controversial issue in biology, social sciences, and even in everyday life and politics (Eldakar, 2008).

Modern anthropological and ethnographic researchers have been impressed by the vast variety of and innumerable  differences among human cultures all over the world, and by the human culture, behavior, and society in comparison to animal behavior. Modern ethnography and cultural studies, from the beginning of the 19th century onward, have put forward ...
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