Sociobiology and Reductionism

  • Michael Ruse
Part of the Theory and Decision Library book series (TDLA, volume 10)


It is frequently said that sociobiology is reductionistic or, more precisely, since much that is said about sociobiology is critical, it is frequently said that sociobiology is unduly reductionistic (Lewontin, 1977; Lewontin et al, 1984). In this discussion, I want to explore the precise meaning of such a charge as this, and whether or not it is justified. I hasten to add, at once, that I am not concerned here with either defending or attacking sociobiology per se. I and others have had much to say about this topic elsewhere -- some would say: “Too much to say about this topic elsewhere.” Rather, I want to do what perhaps should have been done long ago.I want to provide a conceptual analysis of the way or ways in which one might speak of sociobiology in the context of reductionism.


Natural Selection Group Selection Reciprocal Altruism Darwinian Theory Ontological Reductionism 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

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  • Michael Ruse

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