The Void Left Of Our Understanding Of Ourselves By Biology Essay

796 Words Feb 25th, 2016 4 Pages
Sahlins made a highly profound statement in an earlier portion of the book “in the void left in our understanding of ourselves by biology lays the whole of anthropology.” Now we are left to seek the validity of this statement. In Sahlins text The Use and Abuse of Sociobiology, he argues that certain elements of human nature and civilization cannot be reduced to biological principles; moreover the importance of anthropology as a science is its significant contribution to understanding the variety and unity of human cultures. While I agree with Sahlins, I find that his argument is lacking in evidence and leads the reader to come to conclusions that do not agree with the purpose of his writing.
In the first part of Sahlins text, the inadequacies of sociobiology are presented and a critique of the vulgar sociobiology is made. He then goes on to discuss anthropomorphism, which is the study of animal behaviors in relation to human behaviors. Sahlins account these similarities to common genetic capacities and phylogenetic continuities. This attempt to place social behavior on evolutionary principles brings to light the idea that innate human behaviors are realized by social institutions. Exploring the relationship between warfare and human aggression, Sahlin presents the argument that the human organism has a multitude of reasons for engaging in the actions that they do. I found this argument to be a strong one, in that it uses a simple, relatable idea to explain a complex…

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