Is History a Consequence of Evolution?

  • L. B. Slobodkin
Part of the Perspectives in Ethology book series (PEIE, volume 3)


The recurrent idea that human history is a special case of the actions of evolutionary law and is therefore in some sense predictable from evolutionary law is, itself, of major historical importance.

This idea is shown to be invalid since human individual behavior is remarkably free of evolutionary constraints. In fact, humans have the biological property that much of the motivation for their behavior is related to their own socially derived image of themselves, which minimizes the significance of natural selection for or against specific human behaviors. The capacity to develop such an image is not widespread among animals but is shared by man and certain apes. The fact that evolutionary law is not coercive on human history has moral and political implications.


Historical Event Evolutionary Line Human History High Infant Mortality Fantasy World 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. B. Slobodkin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Ecology and Evolution ProgramState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Smithsonian InstitutionUSA

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