Das Ende der Beliebigkeit — zum evolutionär-biologischen Fundament des Menschen

  • Kurt Kotrschal

Evolutionary-biological foundation of human behaviour


The relationship between biology and sociology has always been difficult, even though (or even because) both are interested in the same human subject. Historic mishaps, such as the severe abuse of biology by political systems, ideological inferences and simple misunderstandings still strain the dialogue. In contrast to sociologists, biologists employ a comparative approach within a firm Darwinian framework for posing questions. A hypothesis only qualifies as “scientific” when rigorously testable. Along with the overwhelming success of biology in the 20th century, the biological base of the human existence is now generally acknowledged. But the explanatory potential of the Darwinian approach is still expanding.c Over the past decades, biologist even ventured into the “cultural” domains, which lead to new battles with sociologists, but also to some cross-fertilization. It showed, that even morals and ethics have a biological and hence, an evolutionary base. Without the prefrontal cortex of the brain, humans are not able to act socially responsible. This example also shows that the long-outdated distinction between “innate” and “learned” (still a major obstacle for dialogue between biology and sociology) is indeed, obsolete, because the morphological substrate only develops towards its full functionality, when adequately stimulated via implicit social learning during early childhood. Further examples for the heuristic power of modern behavioural biology are insights into social organization and sexual strategies, evolutionary explanations of socio-sexual violence against women and children, new results towards showing the biological foundations of personality, or even the contribution of modern biology towards explaining mentalities. With the increasing dominance of biology, arbitrariness comes to an end. Today, the basidemand on all theories and concepts which claim to explain aspects of Homo sapiens scientifically, no matter whether from the humanities, social sciences or even philosophy, is their consistency and logic coherence, with evolutionary theory.


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© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften/Wiesbaden 2003

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  • Kurt Kotrschal

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