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The Myth of Culture: Why We Need a Genuine Natural Science of Societies
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The Myth of Culture: Why We Need a Genuine Natural Science of Societies (Hardback)

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Before oxygen's discovery, scientists invoked a mysterious inner principle of fire to account for burning. Today, scholars appeal to an analogously unscientific inner principle, known as culture, to account for human actions. So what is wrong with culture?! It extends from the contents of Petrie dishes to art galleries and is far too imprecise for scientific use. Science aims to separate causes from effects but social scientists use "culture" indiscriminately as both cause and effect making scientific progress impossible. Finally, culture is a smokescreen distracting us from the quest for objective influences on human behavior. (Polygamy is more about parasites than religion, for instance). This book is both a critique of culture-centered social sciences and the manifesto for a new approach - evolutionary social science - that synthesizes evolution and sociology. The author demonstrates that a natural-science approach to human societies helps us to understand social problems such as health inequality and violent crime.

Written in a more high-spirited and accessible style than is customary for academic works, The Myth of Culture is a full-throttle indictment of ivory-tower social scientists whose arcane lore does more to feather their nests than to advance knowledge, or solve human problems. It should have broad appeal among college-educated people around the world.

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSociologySocial theory Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing Publication Date: 01/07/2008 ISBN-13: 9781847186195  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

Nigel Barber received his Ph.D. in Biopsychology from Hunter College, CUNY, and taught psychology at Bemidji State University and Birmingham Southern College. A prolific cross-national researcher, Barber accounts for societal differences in sexual and reproductive behavior using an innovative evolutionary approach. Books include Why Parents Matter, The Science of Romance, and Kindness in a Cruel World.

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