Advertisement

Acta Biotheoretica

, 55:297 | Cite as

Wendy Wheeler, The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and The Evolution of Culture

Lawrence and Wishart, London, 2006, 192 pp, £17.99, (Pb) ISBN 1-905007-30-2
  • Peter Harries-JonesEmail author
Book Review
  • 138 Downloads

Few biologists have the verve to cross the divide between nature and culture. Julian Huxley and Conrad Waddington spring to mind, but their comparisons between nature and culture were partial—in Waddington’s case between self-organization in evolutionary process and human ethics. The most popular, but the most notorious example has been that of E.O. Wilson. His approach to the nature-culture divide sprang from molecular biology and genetics. His venture in the 1970s into sociobiologyemployed reductionist analysis, decomposing cultural order and “cultural traits” into genetic combinations. His strict adherence to Darwinism was in the same vein as that of Richard Dawkins. Wilson received widespread hostility and condemnation from professional anthropologists. Their subsequent research led them to uncover a litany of errors in his account, including that of gender bias in the anthropological evidence he used. On the other hand, his widespread readership among the public sprang, I...

References

  1. Barbieri M (2003) The organic codes. The birth of semantic biology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Deely J (2003) The impact on philosophy of semiotics. St Augustine’s Press, South Bend, IndianaGoogle Scholar
  3. Eco U (1979) A theory of semiotics. Indiana University Press, BloomingtonGoogle Scholar
  4. Emmeche C, Hoffmeyer J (1991) From language to nature: the semiotic metaphor in biology. Semiotica 84:1–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Goodwin B (1994) How the leopard changed its spots. The evolution of complexity. Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Hoffmeyer J (1996) Signs of meaning in the universe. Tr. Barbara Haveland. Indiana University Press, BloomingtonGoogle Scholar
  7. Hoffmeyer J, Emmeche C (1991) Code-duality and the semiotics of nature. In: Anderson M, Merrell F (eds) On semiotic modeling. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, 117–166Google Scholar
  8. Jablonka E, Lamb MJ (2005) Evolution in four dimensions: genetic, epigenetic, behavioural, and symbolic. Variation in the history of life. MIT Press, Cambridge, MassGoogle Scholar
  9. Markos A (2002) Readers of the book of life. Conceptualizing evolutionary developmental biology. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Martinelli D (2005) A whale of a sonata—zoomusicology and the question of musical structures. SEED (Semiotics, Evolution, Energy, and Development) 5:2–29. Online. Retrieved May 2, 2007Google Scholar
  11. Williams R (1980) Problems in materialism and culture. Verso Press (New Left Review editions), LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Witzany G (2005) Natural history of life: history of communication logics and dynamics. SEED (Semiotics, Evolution, Energy, and Development) 5:30–59. Online. Retrieved May 2, 2007Google Scholar
  13. Woese CR (2004) A new biology for a new century. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 68:173–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology York University TorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations