By S. A. Barnett

Biology and Freedom is an essay on human nature; an try to make a simply evaluate of a species frequently offered as predominantly and necessarily violent, grasping, and silly. Likening people to animals is a conventional approach to influencing attitudes on questions of morals and politics. the following, Professor Barnett indicates that sleek ethology, experimental psychology, genetics, and evolutionary concept provide the at present trendy misanthrophy no genuine aid. He asks even if the speculation of evolution has any concerning, for example, Machiavellianism in politics or the concept that of unique sin; and even if laboratory experiments at the results of gift and punishment let us know whatever worthy approximately why we paintings, or concerning the enigma of loose will. Combining the findings of contemporary biology with common sense and humor, Professor Barnett provides a lucid replacement portrait of humanity. He stresses the questions that the complexities of human lifestyles will elevate lengthy after the at present trendy theories have light. All these drawn to those questions, within the fact approximately human nature, and sooner or later of human society probably want to learn this booklet.

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Additional resources for Biology and Freedom: An Essay on the Implications of Human Ethology

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For some species we have evidence that this is a 'threat': that is, the grimace sometimes drives away others of the same species. It adds little to say that the bared teeth of a lion are homologous to those of a leopard, but only analogous to those of a monkey. Such statements imply no more than guesses about the evolution of the behavior. We do not know how the ancestors of the cats or monkeys behaved, but only what existing species do. And, most important, we cannot find out the function of an act (such as baring the teeth) in one species, by studying it in another.

30 Imagery inevitable Yet, despite its many hazards, metaphor is inescapable. 31 The transfer of meaning in a metaphor often gives us new understanding of facts or ideas that were at first obscure or baffling. I now, therefore, sum up the ways in which metaphors, especially analogies, can with care be useful even in science. The first is naming. Many names, notably of structures, are based on remote similarities. Z. 32 He refers here to the amygdala (walnut), cortex, olive and pyriform. These terms are, however, not misleading: botanists are never consulted about the amygdalae or the superior and inferior olives.

Moreover, as the gentle reader may have already remarked, a stimulus-response account of the conduct of babies and their parents is absurdly inadequate. Every infant has, from birth, a distinct personality. And most mothers (or foster mothers) treat an infant as a person, not as a circus performer to be trained or conditioned. Most human communication, unlike that of infants, is by means of words. Some of the features of our speech may be found in the signals of animals; yet human communication is radically different from that of other species.

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