Sociobiology, Selfish Genes, and Human Behavior: A Bio-Cultural Critique



Sociobiology is a controversial new field of study, defined by its most prolific spokesman as "the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior" (Wilson 1975a:k). Although much excellent work has been done in this field within the areas of entomology and ornithology, the application of sociobiology to humans (Wilson 1975a:5k7ff; Wilson 1975b; Hamilton 1975; etc.) has generated considerable acrimonious debate (Caplan 1978), This paper represents an attempt to present sociobiology and social anthropology fairly, and to evaluate the central arguments of sociobiology within a synthetic framework of biology and social anthropology. My purpose in this paper is to explore the foundations upon which human sociobiology is constructed; to demonstrate that human sociobiology is not so much a more scientific approach to anthropology as it is a novel philosophical approach; and to evaluate critically the value of such an approach in the study of human behavior.

Keywords: Sociobiology, Selfish Genes

How to Cite: Marks, J. (1980) “Sociobiology, Selfish Genes, and Human Behavior: A Bio-Cultural Critique”, Arizona Anthropologist. 1(0).