Non-Fiction Books:

Biology and Freedom

An Essay on the Implications of Human Ethology



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Biology and Freedom by S.A. Barnett
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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.
Release date NZ
August 22nd, 2005
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Cambridge University Press
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