Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects

E.O. Wilson and B.F. Skinner

A Dialogue Between Sociobiology and Radical Behaviorism

Authors: Naour, Paul

  • This book utilizes an unpublished conversation between B.F. Skinner and E.O. Wilson in 1987 as a springboard to lead readers to a more integrated view of behaviorism and sociobiology

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eBook $159.00
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  • ISBN 978-0-387-89462-1
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $209.00
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  • ISBN 978-0-387-89461-4
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Softcover $209.00
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  • ISBN 978-1-4419-2795-8
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About this book

"This is going to be a conversation that I will have with B.F. Skinner. This is Ed Wilson. He invited me by to talk about sociobiology." Thus began a 1987 conversation between E.O. Wilson, who embodies sociobiology, and B.F. Skinner, who personifies radical behaviorism. The two Harvard colleagues shared a common interest—but very different perspectives—in behavior, human nature, and culture. They also shared years of exaggerated and ideologically-based claims regarding the perceived controversial nature of their work. However, the passage of over twenty years places their conversation in a very different evolutionary context that is the unifying theme of this book and Paul Naour’s inspiration to cleverly describe the relationship of their work.

Naour uses the conversation as a centerpiece around which he offers readers thought-provoking insight regarding how we can push the rigid boundaries of discipline-based dogmatism to understand the evolutionary relationships between sociobiology and radical behaviorism. Wilson (1998) challenges us to understand a "balanced perspective cannot be acquired by studying disciplines in pieces but through pursuit of the consilience among them. Such unification will come hard." Wilson recently observed that" What (Naour) has written is excellent, and will be an outstanding addition to the history of ideas."

During this sesquicentennial year of The Origin of Species and the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth, B.F. Skinner and E.O. Wilson: A Dialogue Between Radical Behaviorism and Sociobiology is an essential read for anyone interested in the evolutionary basis of human behavior. The book challenges readers to push beyond the boundaries of Wilson and Skinner, suggests relationships to current work, and inspires curiosity regarding how that work can provide additional insight to the biological basis of human culture. It will also appeal to those with interest in the contemporary history of science or psychology, and is written for a broad readership to provoke renewed consideration of Wilson and Skinner.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“Paul Naour’s book is a modest, introductory attempt to identify points of contact between two of the most notable life scientists of the 20th century … . Naour’s volume should be appeal to those wanting an introduction to or review of Skinner’s ideas, to those curious about the Wilson-Skinner meeting, and to professors teaching upper-level undergraduate courses on learning and behavior, who might elect to use the book as the foundation for a seminar.” (Clara B. Jones, American Journal of Psychology, Spring, 2011)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • The Challenge: A More Integrated Approach to Human Nature

    Naour, Paul

    Pages 1-14

  • “Selection by Consequences”: The Essential B.F. Skinner

    Naour, Paul

    Pages 1-19

  • Human Sociobiology: The Essential E.O. Wilson

    Naour, Paul

    Pages 21-42

  • A Consilient View of B.F. Skinner and E.O. Wilson: The Operant Foundation of Sociobiology

    Naour, Paul

    Pages 43-60

  • Conversation Between B.F. Skinner and E.O. Wilson

    Naour, Paul

    Pages 61-85

Buy this book

eBook $159.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-89462-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $209.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-387-89461-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $209.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-2795-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
E.O. Wilson and B.F. Skinner
Book Subtitle
A Dialogue Between Sociobiology and Radical Behaviorism
Authors
Series Title
Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects
Copyright
2009
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag New York
eBook ISBN
978-0-387-89462-1
DOI
10.1007/978-0-387-89462-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-387-89461-4
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4419-2795-8
Series ISSN
1574-3489
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIX, 138
Number of Illustrations and Tables
25 b/w illustrations
Topics