Human Nature: A Critical Reader

Paperback | April 30, 1999

EditorLaura Betzig

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"Human nature" has meant many things to many people. Why do we do what we do? Before 1859, when Darwin published The Origin of Species, the meaning of "human nature" was anybody's guess. This book collects the first, classic tests of Darwinian theory on us -- including studies of traditionalsocieties (from the !Kung of Botswana to the Ache of Paraguay), studies of modern societies (from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada to southern California), and comparative and historical studies (from the ancient Near East to imperial Rome). These classics are interspersed with new critiques -- both by theauthors themselves, and by biologists who used modern Darwinian theory to pioneer field studies, cognitive studies, and comparative studies of other species. Last but not least, Human Nature adds an introduction which covers the basics in evolutionary theory, and reviews cutting-edge tests of thattheory on human anatomy, physiology, emotions, thought, and interactions. This pathbreaking book collects the best of the first tests of Darwinian theory on humans, critiques them, and comprehensively reviews the work being done now. It is an ideal - and long needed - text for courses in biology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, history, and philosophywhich use Darwin's theory to explain what we do and who we are.

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"Human nature" has meant many things to many people. Why do we do what we do? Before 1859, when Darwin published The Origin of Species, the meaning of "human nature" was anybody's guess. This book collects the first, classic tests of Darwinian theory on us -- including studies of traditionalsocieties (from the !Kung of Botswana to the ...

Laura Betzig is at University of Michigan.

other books by Laura Betzig

Format:PaperbackDimensions:512 pages, 6.5 × 9.17 × 0.87 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019509865X

ISBN - 13:9780195098655

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Laura Betzig: People are animalsSTUDIES OF TRADITIONAL SOCIETIES2. Alejandro Kacelnik and John Krebs: Critique: Inward and outward: mind gets at behavior, behavior at mind3. William Irons: Classic: Cultural and biological success4. William Irons: Critique: Looking back two decades5. Eric Alden Smith: Classic: Inuit foraging groups: some simple models incorporating conflicts of interest, relatedness, and central place sharing6. Eric Alden Smith: Critique: Sex is not enough7. Nicholas Blurton Jones: Classic: Bushman birth spacing: a test for optimal interbirth intervals8. Nicholas Blurton Jones: Critique: Too good to be true?9. Napoleon Chagnon: Classic: Life histories, blood revenge and warfare in a tribal population10. Critique: Sticks and stones11. Monique Borgerhoff Mulder: Classic: Kipsigis women's preferences for wealthy men: evidence for female choice in mammals?12. Monique Borgerhoff Mulder: Critique: Marrying a married man13. Kim Hill and Ana Magdalena Hurtado: Classic: The evolution of premature reproductive senescence and menopause in human females: an evaluation of the 'grandmother hypothesis'14. Kim Hill and Ana Magdalena Hurtado: Critique: How much does grandma help?STUDIES OF MODERN SOCIETIES15. Paul Sherman and Hudson Kern Reeve: Critique: Forward and backward: alternative approaches to studying human social evolution16. Martin Daly and Margo Wilson: Classic: Child abuse and other risks of not living with both parents17. Martin Daly and Margo Wilson: Critiqye: Cinderella revisited18. David Buss: Classic: Sex differences in human mate preferences: evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures19. David Buss: Critique: Just another brick in the wall20. Bruce Ellis and Donald Symons: Classic: Sex differences in sexual fantasy: an evolutionary psychological approach21. Donald Symons, Catherine Salmon and Bruce Ellis: Critique: Unobtrusive measures of human sexuality22. Donald Kenrick, Edward Sadalla, Gary Groth and Melanie Trost: Classic: Evolution, traits, and the stages of human courtship: qualifying the parental investment model23. Douglas Kenrick, Edward Sadlla, Gary Groth and Melanie Trost: Critique: Where and when are women more selective than men?24. Nancy Wilmsen Thornhill and Randy Thornhill: Classic: Evolutionary analysis of psychological pain of rape victims25. Randy Thornhill: Critique: Rape-victim psychological pain revisited26. Leda Cosmides and John Tooby: Classic: Cognitive adaptations for social exchange27. John Tooby and Leda Cosmides: Critique: Think againCOMPARATIVE AND HISTORICAL STUDIES28. Ruth Mace and Mark Pagel: Critique: Tips, branches and nodes: seeking adaptation through comparative studies29. Mildred Dickemann: Classic: Paternal confidence and dowry competition: a biocultural analysis of purdah30. Mildred Dickemann: Critique: Cleo unveiled31. John Hartung: Classic: Polygyny and the inheritance of wealth32. John Hartung: Classic: If I had to do over33. Bobbi Low: Classic: Cross-cultural patterns in the training of children34. Bobbi Low: Critique: Comparing Snakes and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails to Sugar and Spice: Reflections on Cross Cultural Testing of Hypotheses35. Steve Gaulin and James Boster: Classic: Dowry as female competition36. Steve Gaulin and James Boster: Critique: When are husbands worth fighting for?37. Laura Betzig: Classic: Roman polygyny38. Laura Betzig: Critique: Why a despot?39. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy: Classic: Fitness tradeoffs in the history and evolution of delegated mothering with special reference to wet-nursing, abandonment, and infanticide40. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy: Critique: Mainstreaming Medea

Editorial Reviews

"Collectively, these works cover a lot of territory, and vividly depict the mosaic character of the field....a useful methodological resource for veteran behavioral and life scientists."--Peggy La Cerra, Quarterly Review of Biology