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A Science of Human Nature?

Philosophical Disputes at the Interface of Natural and Social Science

Studying at Cambridge

The myth of human nature

last modified Feb 24, 2016 09:32 AM

In the Spring 2016 New Humanist Magazine, Tim Lewens discusses evolution and why we behave the way we do. 

"What", asked the distinguished evolutionist Michael Ghiselin in 1997, “does evolution teach us about human nature?” The answer he gave will surprise those who suppose that the evolutionary sciences describe the deepest and most ubiquitous aspects of our psychological makeup. Ghiselin informed his readers that evolution “teaches us that human nature is a superstition.” Why would anyone say such a thing? Doesn’t talk about human nature amount to talk about the ways we are all the same? What could be objectionable about that? We can begin to understand the problems if we look back 180 years.

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