Books  Evolutionary Biology  Evolution 

Interactions: The Biological Context of Social Systems

By: N Eldredge and M Grene

242 pages, 3 figs, 2 tabs

Columbia University Press

Hardback | Jun 1984 | #21078 | ISBN: 023107946X
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NHBS Price: £55.00 $71/€60 approx

About this book

Explores the biological underpinning of social systems from invertebrates to mammals, particularly humans. These social systems, the authors argue, represent fusions between the economic and reproductive interests of organisms. Their theory reinstates the importance of economics in social organisations of all types, moving away from the more prominent emphasis on reproductive biology at the core of sociobiology.

This is a period when new general hypotheses in evolutionary theory are flourishing, and when the falsification ax isn't swinging quite as freely as it does in periods when a field is settling down to a new orthodoxy. In this connection, proponents of a hierarchical theory must prove their mettle by bringing their perspectives to bear on problems about social evolution. I can think of no better people than Marjorie Grene and Niles Eldredge to do this.


Contemporary evolutionary perspectives; Darwinism and ultra-Darwinism; entities, systems and processes in the organic realm; biotic consequences of organismic reproduction; organismic economics and biotic organization; the biology of sociality; human sociality.

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Niles Eldredge is Curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Among his recent books are The Miner's Canary: Unraveling the Mysteries of Extinction and Fossils: The Evolution and Extinction of Species. He has coauthored and edited many books, including Phylogenetic Analysis and Paleontology, Phylogenetic Patterns and the Evolutionary Process, The Myths and Human Evolution, the Natural History Reader on Evolution, and the most recently Systematics, Ecology, and the Biodiversity Crisis, published by Columbia University Press.Marjorie Grene, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of California, Davis, is Honorary Distinguished Professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is a well-known philosopher of science and has published widely. Her books include A portrait of Aristotle, The Knower and the Known, The Understanding of Nature, and Descartes. Grene is the editor of Dimensions of Darwinism, as well as of other collections in the history of philosophy.

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