From Biosocial Anthropology to Social Biology: Some Thoughts on Intellectual Communities in the Post-war Sciences July 26, 2014Posted by Christopher Donohue in History of Economic Thought, History of the Human Sciences.
Tags: Alexander Carr-Saunders, Charles Darwin, Edward O. Wilson, Edward Westermark, Ernest Gellner, Franz Boas, Herbert Spencer, Karl Popper, Kingsley Davis, Lee Cronk, Mario Bunge, Napoleon Chagnon, Pitirim Sorokin, R. A. Fisher, Robert Merton, Robin Fox, William Mallock
This particular post focuses on biosocial anthropology, sociobiology, social biology and bio-social science. Biosocial anthropology is a very specific intellectual community which has self-ordered around the theoretical and evidentiary contributions of Napoleon Chagnon, William Irons, Lee Cronk, and my personal favorite for heterogeneity and provocation, Robin Fox. This community has always traveled in different circles than those of sociobiologists like E.O. Wilson. Biosocial anthropology is also distinct in emphasis from social biology.
I will also detail the bio-social perspective of Kingsley Davis, which in many ways anticipated the conceptual innovations of biosocial anthropology, but whose bio-social science is unknown. His work is an exercise in “anti-reductionism” (my term)—arguing instead for the distinctiveness of human social evolution as opposed to the development of beings in nature.