Human Paleopsychology: Applications to Aggression and Pathological Processes

Human Paleopsychology: Applications to Aggression and Pathological Processes

Human Paleopsychology: Applications to Aggression and Pathological Processes

Human Paleopsychology: Applications to Aggression and Pathological Processes

Excerpt

This is likely to be an important book; it is certain to be a controversial one. Human Paleopsychology deals with the possibility that much complex human behavior comes from archaic biological roots. Hence, for most readers it will be seen as falling squarely within the domain of human sociobiology; their assessment of it will be substantially determined by their view of that domain.

I have had the opportunity to review Professor Bailey's manuscript as it evolved, and to correspond with him on our many points of agreement, as well as disagreement. He has invited me to write this foreword, and I am pleased to do so; for it permits me some anticipatory comment about the axes along which the controversy is located.

Bailey states at the outset that his purpose is to "prod the reader to apply his or her wits to the questions of why we love, hate, reason, and reach for the stars with such passion." But his purpose is, of course, not quite as didactically neutral as that statement suggests. He presents a theory upon which he has been working for many years, and in which he believes. His prodding is directed, at those who are unfamiliar with sociobiology or those who criticize it. It is safe to assume that there will be vigorous responses to Bailey's theory. Perhaps we can anticipate some of the discussion here. Two kinds of issue are certain to be the central focus of dispute; one relates to the social/ethical and political consequences of biologizing about behavior, while the other concerns the character of the evidence that would be necessary to establish the sociobiological thesis. We may touch on them here rather briefly.

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