Defenders of the Truth. The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond (Relié)

Ullica Segerstrale

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  • Oxford University Press

  • Paru le : 06/03/2000
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'My aim in this book is to take the reader along toward a deeper understanding of the sociobiology controversy, and through it, the world of science in general. I am interested in what Peter Medawar once called "a view through the keyhole". Controversies, where scientists attack one another's scientific worldviews and justify their own, may well be some of the best keyholes we have.' Ullica Segerstrale In the summer of 1975 the distinguished Harvard entomologist Edward O. Wilson published his Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. In the book, Wilson defined sociobiology as a new discipline devoted to 'the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior.' He explicitly included our own species Homo sapiens, and devoted his final chapter to humans, suggesting that human sex role divisions, aggressiveness, moral concerns, religious beliefs, and much more, have a genetic basis. The book came under intense fire from a group of critics and battle lines were drawn. In one notable incident, some three years after the book's publication, Wilson, about to speak at a symposium sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, had a jug of water poured over his head by a group of hecklers. The sociobiology controversy was in full swing. Defenders of the Truth is the definitive account of the controversy, a fascinating tale involving clashes of convictions about science and its social role. But Segerstrale's canvas is on an altogether grander scale. Here is an engrossing insight into the world of science and the scientists who inhabit it. Here, too, are important scientific, moral, and political issues, and perennial themes such as the objectivity of science, the social use of scientific knowledge, human nature, and free will. Some of these themes have recently resurfaced in conjunction with the Human Genome project and the so-called Science Wars. The key participants described have all been interviewed and studied by the author, at the time when the controversy was at its height, and more recently. They include Edward O. Wilson, Richard Lewontin, and Stephen Jay Gould, the Harvard scientists at the heart of the controversy when it first erupted, and, from the 'British connection', John Maynard Smith and Richard Dawkins. 'The characters in my story', writes Ullica Segerstrale, 'are all defenders of the truth - it is just that they have different conceptions of where the truth lies.'
    • The sociology debate as a battle for truth
    • WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SOCIOBIOLOGY DEBATE? The storm over Sociobiology
    • Colleagues on collision course: Wilson's and Lewontin's contrary moral-cum-scientific agendas
    • The British connection
    • The 'deep background' of sociobiology
    • Assault on adaptationism-a delayed scientific critique
    • The unit of selection and the connection with culture
    • Sociobiology adapts to criticism: Genes, Mind and Culture
    • The moral/political conflict continues
  • MAKING SENSE OF THE SOCIOBIOLOGY DEBATE
    • Inside the mind of the critics
    • Planters and weeders in the garden of science
    • To be or not to be-in the sociobiology controversy
    • A clash of traditions
    • Conflicting views of the nature of science
    • Capitalizing on controversy
  • THE CULTURAL MEANING OF THE BATTLE FOR SCIENCE
    • The sociobiologists and their enemies: taking stock after 25 years
    • Truth by dispute? The sociobiology debate and the Science Wars
    • Interpreting the Enlightenment quest
    • The tension between scientific and moral truth
    • The battle for the soul-and for the soul of science.
  • Date de parution : 06/03/2000
  • Editeur : Oxford University Press
  • ISBN : 0-19-850505-1
  • EAN : 9780198505051
  • Présentation : Relié
  • Nb. de pages : 493 pages
  • Poids : 0.975 Kg
  • Dimensions : 17,5 cm × 24,6 cm × 3,0 cm

Biographie d'Ullica Segerstrale

Ullica Segerstrale is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. A native of Finland, she studied organic chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Helsinki. For her doctoral research she moved from science to the sociology of science, receiving her PhD for it from Harvard University. Professor Segerstrale has published widely on topics such as scientists' reasoning about 'good' and 'bad' science, error and fraud, and science and social values.

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