Darwin, Sex and Status: BBS Multiple Book review

Stevan Harnad harnad at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Wed Jul 11 16:10:15 EST 1990


Below is the abstract of a forthcoming target article to appear in
Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), an international, interdisciplinary
journal that invites Open Peer Commentary on important and
controversial current research in the biobehavioral and cognitive
sciences. Commentators must be current BBS Associates or nominated by a
current BBS Associate. To be considered as a commentator on this
article, to suggest other appropriate commentators, or for information
about how to become a BBS Associate, please send email to:

harnad at clarity.princeton.edu  or harnad at pucc.bitnet        or write to:
BBS, 20 Nassau Street, #240, Princeton NJ 08542  [tel: 609-921-7771]
____________________________________________________________________
Below is the abstract of a book that will be accorded multiple book
review in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), an international,
interdisciplinary journal that provides Open Peer Commentary on
important and controversial current research in the biobehavioral and
cognitive sciences. Commentators must be current BBS Associates or
nominated by a current BBS Associate. To be considered as a commentator
on this book, to suggest other appropriate commentators, or for
information about how to become a BBS Associate, please send email to:

harnad at clarity.princeton.edu  or harnad at pucc.bitnet        or write to:
BBS, 20 Nassau Street, #240, Princeton NJ 08542  [tel: 609-921-7771]

To help us put together a balanced list of commentators, please give some
indication of the aspects of the topic on which you would bring your
areas of expertise to bear if you are selected as a commentator.
____________________________________________________________________
          BBS Multiple Book Review of:

                 DARWIN SEX AND STATUS
                   Jerome Barkow
                   Anthropology Department
		   Dalhousie University
		   Halifax, NS

A human sociobiology that mistook evolutionary theory for a theory of
psychology and culture would be wrong; so would a psychology that could
never have evolved or a social science that posited an impossible
psychology. Different levels of theory must be "vertically integrated";
the various levels must be mutually compatible, but no one level can
be reduced to another. The book develops theories of human
self-awareness, cognition, and culture capacity that are compatible
with evolutionary theory and our evolved psychology. Recurring themes
include: the importance of sexual selection and preference in human
evolution and its association with our species' preoccupation with
self-esteem and relative standing; the individual as an active
strategist, culturally revising the information provided; our
responsible "executive self" as folk psychology; awareness as an
impression-management device; domain-specific information-processing
modules and the inadequacy of simple ideas of global learning. Culture
is presented as a structured information pool that itself evolves, not
infrequently in ways that reduce the genetic fitness of its
participants.

Stevan Harnad  Department of Psychology  Princeton University
harnad at clarity.princeton.edu / harnad at pucc.bitnet / srh at flash.bellcore.com 
harnad at learning.siemens.com / harnad at elbereth.rutgers.edu / (609)-921-7771



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