- Gebundene Ausgabe: 330 Seiten
- Verlag: Norton & Company; Auflage: 1 (9. April 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0871404133
- ISBN-13: 978-0871404138
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,5 x 3 x 24,4 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 125.098 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Social Conquest of Earth (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 9. April 2012
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Wilson 's newest theory...could transform our understanding of human nature and provide hope for our stewardship of the planet.... [His] new book is not limited to the discussion of evolutionary biology, but ranges provocatively through the humanities.... Its impact on the social sciences could be as great as its importance for biology, advancing human self-understanding in ways typically associated with the great philosophers. --Howard W. French
E. O. Wilson 's passionate curiosity the hallmark of his remarkable career has led him to these urgent reflections on the human condition. At the core of The Social Conquest of Earth is the unresolved, unresolvable tension in our species between selfishness and altruism. Wilson brilliantly analyzes the force, at once creative and destructive, of our biological inheritance and daringly advances a grand theory of the origins of human culture. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the intersection of science and the humanities. --Stephen Greenblatt, author of "The Swerve: How the World Became Modern"
Biologist E. O. Wilson 's brilliant new volume, The Social Conquest of Earth, could more aptly be entitled Biology 's Conquest of Science . Drawing on his deep understanding of entomology and his extraordinarily broad knowledge of the natural and social sciences, Wilson makes a strong case for the synthesis of knowledge across disciplines. Understanding the biological origin of what makes us human can help us to build better theories of social and psychological interaction; in turn, understanding how other social species have evolved may help us to better understand the origin of our own. But the main reason that Wilson 's book is successful is that he also brings into biology the best of what social science has to offer. --James H. Fowler
An ambitious and thoroughly engaging work that 's certain to generate controversy within the walls of academia and without Provocative, eloquent and unflinchingly forthright, Wilson remains true to form, producing a book that 's anything but dull and bound to receive plenty of attention from supporters and critics alike. --Colin Woodard
Wilson 's examples of insect eusociality are dazzling There are obvious parallels with human practices like war and agriculture, but Wilson is also sensitive to the differences This book offers a detailed reconstruction of what we know about the evolutionary histories of these two very different conquerors. Wilson 's careful and clear analysis reminds us that scientific accounts of our origins aren t just more accurate than religious stories; they are also a lot more interesting. --Paul Bloom
E. O. Wilson's passionate curiosity--the hallmark of his remarkable career--has led him to these urgent reflections on the human condition. At the core of The Social Conquest of Earth is the unresolved, unresolvable tension in our species between selfishness and altruism. Wilson brilliantly analyzes the force, at once creative and destructive, of our biological inheritance and daringly advances a grand theory of the origins of human culture. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the intersection of science and the humanities. --Stephen Greenblatt, author of "The Swerve: How the World Became Modern"
Biologist E. O. Wilson's brilliant new volume, The Social Conquest of Earth, could more aptly be entitled 'Biology's Conquest of Science'. Drawing on his deep understanding of entomology and his extraordinarily broad knowledge of the natural and social sciences, Wilson makes a strong case for the synthesis of knowledge across disciplines. Understanding the biological origin of what makes us human can help us to build better theories of social and psychological interaction; in turn, understanding how other social species have evolved may help us to better understand the origin of our own. But the main reason that Wilson's book is successful is that he also brings into biology the best of what social science has to offer. --James H. Fowler
Reading E. O. Wilson's Social Conquest of Earth is a revolutionary look at who we are, where we've come from and where we're going. It's very hopeful in that he suggests that we have the capacity to learn to live within the planet's means. I personally call this the sweet spot in history. Never before have we had the knowledge and opportunity as good as we have now to make change. The great message Wilson conveys is that there's still time. --Kate Murphy
Wilson has done an impressive job of pulling all this evidence together and analyzing it. His interdisciplinary approach, his established scholarship, and his willingness to engage hot-button issues are all much in evidence in The Social Conquest of Earth . His reflections on this subject are varied, original, and thought provoking as is the rest of his book. --Carl Coon"
E. O. Wilson s passionate curiosity the hallmark of his remarkable career has led him to these urgent reflections on the human condition. At the core of The Social Conquest of Earth is the unresolved, unresolvable tension in our species between selfishness and altruism. Wilson brilliantly analyzes the force, at once creative and destructive, of our biological inheritance and daringly advances a grand theory of the origins of human culture. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the intersection of science and the humanities. --Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern"
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than thirty books, including The Social Conquest of Earth, The Meaning of Human Existence, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives with his wife, Irene Wilson, in Lexington, Massachusetts.
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2010 stand er wieder im Zentrum einer Kontroverse, als über hundert Wissenschaftler öffentlich gegen einen Aufsatz protestierten, den er zusammen mit den Mathematikerm Nowak und Tarnita verfasst hatte, und in dem es um das Thema der Eusozialität ging. War Wilson in den Siebzigern noch der Wegbereiter der Theorie der Egoistischen Gene à la Richard Dawkins, so wird ihm nun vorgeworfen, hinter seine eigenen Einsichten von vor 40 Jahren zurückgefallen zu sein, und etwas längst überholtes wie die Theorie der Gruppenselektion aus der Mottenkiste geholt zu haben.
Das vorliegende Buch ist die weit gespannte Anwendung dieser Theorie der Gruppenselektion (oder multilevel selction, wie es technisch korrekt heißt) auf die Evolution des Menschen. Als ich vor vielen Jahren die Bücher von Dawkins las, da war für mich klar: Gruppenselektion ist Quatsch. In letzter Zeit dagegen habe ich einiges gelesen, das mich zum Anhänger dieser weithin diskreditierten Theorie gemacht hat: Sober/ D.S. Wilson (mit dem E.O. Wilson nicht verwandt): "Unto Others"; S. Bowles/ H.Gintis: "A Cooperative Species" und schließlich das vorliegende Buch.
Der Autor beschreibt erst einmal ziemlich ausführlich die Eusozialität bei Insekten, und kommt zu dem Schluss, dass die Mitglieder einer Kolonie nicht als "Mitspieler" im struggle for life anzusehen sind, sondern letztlich den Phänotyp der Königin bilden. Dieser Teil des Buches ist ziemlich technisch, und für Leute, die mit der Materie nicht voll und ganz vertraut sind, kaum zu verstehen (auch ich habe nicht alle Details nachvollziehen können).
Obgleich Wilson auch den Menschen "eusozial" nennt, macht er doch im Weiteren klar, dass es große Unterschiede zwischen einer Ameisenkolonie und einer Gruppe von Menschen gibt. Während eine Insektenkolonie tatsächlich eine einzige "unit of selection" darstellt, ist die Sache bei Menschen zwiegespalten, da hier zwei Selektionsebenen in einem Spannungsverhältnis stehen: Die Ebene des Individuums, und jene der Gruppe. Die Krux ist: was gut für den Einzelnen ist, läuft oft genug den INteressen der Gruppe entgegen. Und damit eine Gruppe überhaupt eine "unit of selection" bilden kann, muss es ihr gelingen , die Einzelinteressen ihrer Mitglieder weitgehend zu neutralisieren bzw. in den Dienst des Großen Ganzen stellen. Dieses Spannungsverhältnis steht im Zentrum des "Social conquest of Earth", denn nur Menschen in funktioniernden Gruppen konnten sich derart ausbreiten, wie der Homo sapiens es tat, wobei die Gruppen immer vom inneren Zerfall bedroht waren, und einsame Egoisten haben vielleicht heute in der modernen Welt große Entfaltungsmöglichkeiten, unter Bedingungen der Steinzeit dagegen hatten Egoisten einen schweren Stand, da sie mit Sanktionen durch sozial gesinnte Gruppenmitglieder rechnen mussten.
Der m.E. zentrale Absatz findet sich auf S.243:
"..an iron rule exists in genetic social evolution.It is that selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals, while groups of altruists beat groups of selfish individuals. The victory can never be complete; the balance of selection pressures cannot move to either extreme. If individual selection were to dominate, societies would dissolve. If group selection were to dominate, human groups would come to ressemble ant colonies."
Ich kann dieses Buch nur empfehlen, denn es beschreibt sehr gut die Hintergründe der gespaltenen Natur des Menschen, die egoistisch und altruistisch zugleich ist, und wie die Dynamik dieser zwei Seiten sich in der Geschichte manifestiert(e).
I found sections with the usual incisive commentary (though nothing really new or interesting if you have read his other works and are up on biology in general) in the often stilted prose that is his hallmark, but was quite surprised that the core of the book is his rejection of inclusive fitness (which has been a mainstay of evolutionary biology for over 40 years) in favor of group selection. One assumes that coming from him and published in major peer reviewed journals like Nature, it must be a substantial advance in spite of the fact that I knew group selection had always been nearly universally rejected due to its basic conflict with our understanding of evolutionary biology.
I have read all the reviews here and on the net and many have good comments but the one I most wanted to see was that by renowned science writer and evolutionary biologist
Richard Dawkins. Unlike most of those by professionals, which are in journals only available to those with access to a university, it is readily available on the net.
Sadly one finds a devastating rejection of the book and some of the most trenchant commentary on a scientific colleague I have ever seen from Dawkins--exceeding anything I recall
even in his many exchanges with late and unlamented demagogue and pseudoscientist Stephan Jay Gould. Although Gould was infamous for his personal attacks on his Harvard colleague
Wilson, Dawkins notes that much of this book reminds one uncomfortably of Goulds frequent lapses into "bland, unfocussed ecumenicalism".
Dawkins points out that Wilson's 2010 paper in Nature was almost universally rejected by over 140 biologists who responded with letters and that there is not one word about this in
Wilson's book. Nor does Wilson correct this in his public lectures. There is no choice but to agree with Dawkin's trenchant comment "For Wilson not to acknowledge that he speaks for himself against the great majority of his professional colleagues is--it pains me to say this of a lifelong hero --an act of wanton arrogance." I feel like one of the stunned people one sees on TV being interviewed after the nice man next door, who has been babysitting everyone's children for 30 years, is exposed as a serial killer.
Dawkins also points out (once again) that inclusive fitness is entailed by (i.e.,logically follows from) neodarwinism and cannot be rejected without rejecting evolution itself. Wilson again reminds us of Gould, who denounced creationists from one side of his mouth while giving them comfort by spewing endless ultraliberal marxist tinged gibberish about spandrels,punctuated equilibrium and evolutionary psychology from the other. The vagueness of group and multilevel selection is just what the softminded want to enable them to escape
rational thinking in their endless antiscientific postmodernist word salads.
It is rare that scientists responding to devastating criticism actually admit their mistakes and Wilson and his Harvard math colleages, who wrote the now infamous trash paper in the famous journal Nature in 2010 (you can also do yourself a favor by avoiding Martin Nowak's books),are no exception, failing to respond in any meaningful way in their replies.
Worse yet, Wilson's book is a poorly thought out and sloppily written mess full of nonsequiturs, vague ramblings, confusions and incoherence. A good review that details some of these is that by graduate student Gerry Carter which you can find on the net. Wilson is also out of touch with our current understanding of evolutionary psychology (EP)(see e.g., the last 300 pages of Pinker's "The Better Angels of our Nature"). If you want a serious account of social evolution and some relevant EP from a
biological standpoint see Principles of Social Evolution by Andrew F.G. Bourke,or a not quite so serious and admittedly flawed and rambling account but a must read nevertheless by Robert Trivers--The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life and older but still current and penetrating works such as The Evolution of Cooperation: Revised Edition by Robert Axelrod and The Biology of Moral Systems by Richard Alexander.
I see no point in repeating others comments so I will end with a remark I recall reading a half century ago--I think by the famous philosopher Bertrand Russell--
that one can find even in the best minds a "nest of furry caterpillars". We have now seen Wilson's and it is not a pretty sight.
Dr. E. O. Wilson gives the accent of Homo sapiens from origin to present-day
This book is a very important new history of animal and human evolution.
Asking, why does advanced social life exist? Where do we come from? How about,
the forces of social evolution! What are we? Where are we going?
St Andrews, Scotland
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Details can certainly be discussed (for example, his understanding of cave art: from what I've read elsewhere, people were not living in the painted caves and it is more likely that the paintings had the same role as those of the Australian aborigines). But this does not detract from the core of the book, which is probably the most convincing synthesis I've ever read on human nature.
This book is a fascinating read. I especially like Wilson's positive slant on what many see more negatively. Take, for example, the observation that human beings are both innately good and innately wicked. Wilson observes, "In a constantly changing world, we need the flexibility that only imperfection provides." (p. 241)
He clearly reiterates his conceptualization of evolution, which distinguishes between the evolution of genes (that has to do with individual selection and is responsible for what we call sin) and the evolution of culture (that has to do with group selection and is responsible for altruism). He summarizes: "...selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals, while groups of altruists beat groups of selfish individuals." (p. 243) This conceptualization of evolution, while controversial, is an important contribution to understanding our human biological origins.
Wilson underscores how interconnected human beings are and how much larger and discordant our modern social networks are becoming. He concludes that our increasing interconnectedness worldwide will inevitably "weaken confidence in creation myths ..." (p. 293) I disagree. Because the human mind needs stories to explain its meaning, I believe that our increasing interconnectedness will force a new interpretation of creation myths taking into account our intersubjectivity.
Furthermore, I believe Wilson arrives as such an interpretation by the end of his book. I quote, "So, now I will confess my own blind faith. Earth, by the twenty-second century, can be turned, if we so wish, into a permanent paradise [read: Garden of Eden] for human beings, or at least the strong beginnings of one. We will do a lot more damage to ourselves and the rest of life along the way, but out of an ethic of simple decency to one another, the unrelenting application of reason, and acceptance of what we truly are, our dreams will finally come home to stay." (p. 297)
I highly recommend this book for all concerned with human existence and the future of our earth.
Wilson makes some excellent points about both physical and social evolution, basing much of his evaluation of human societies on his life-long work with ant colonies. He sometimes takes exception to the work of Dawkins and other biologists, but generally he presents a very special, often personal look at human society.
Although I absorbed much of what he proposed, there were sections of the book (the reader was warned) that I found difficult to understand by a layman in the field. His most telling opinion is at the end of the book, wherein he proposes many changes to peoples' use of Earth's resources; changes which would go much beyond avoidance of global warming.
The book is written much like a series of essays; perhaps a gleaning of his years of experience in the societal makeup of ant, termite and similar colonies.
The shortcoming of the book is Wilson's illustrations and photos. I don't think any of them clarify or truly illustrate any point in his book.
Wilson wrote this work for the lay audience but cannot get away from being a scientist, so some folks might have difficulty in working through the jargon (though he explains it along the way). He does lay out the various aspects of his overall thesis at a number of points along the way and repeats them as appropriate. In the end, you feel you have been given an extraordinary lecture. Definitely, this is Wilson's tour-de-force.