Leaving the Cave: Evolutionary Naturalism in Social-Scientific Thought

Synopsis

How can one explain the general failure of the social sciences to accumulate reliable knowledge?

According to Pat Duffy Hutcheon the social sciences have failed us in the twentieth century. Practitioners in the social realm (such as politicians, therapists, educators and economists) are unable to provide the answers we seek to meet the challenges of our everyday lives and the next millennium.

In Leaving the Cave Hutcheon explores the reasons for this failure. In this pioneering study of the development of social and biological evolutionary theory she contends that, for the first time in history, there exists a paradigm capable of integrating the life sciences and the social/behavioural sciences, a model to make effective social science a reality.

To illustrate her arguments Hutcheon traces the development of a current of thought she identifies as evolutionary naturalism. She focusses on the lives and writings of those thinkers who have most illuminated this philosophy, from the Hellenic Greeks, through the works of the early pioneers of modern social scientific thought, to the social theorists of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose ideas have been firmly rooted in the Darwinian and Pavlovian revolutions in biology and neuroscience.

Leaving the Cave is an innovative, multidisciplinary study of the development of social science, the philosophy of evolutionary naturalism and the effect of each on the other. Certain to arouse controversy, this is a book which everyone concerned for the future of the social sciences will want to read.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Publication year:
  • 1996