In his watershed 1975 work Sociobiology, Edward O. Wilson defined sociobiology as the systematic study of the biological basis for human social behavior. Wilson hoped to define more clearly the biological foundations of human social behavior. His later work on the biophilia hypothesis combines work on human sociobiology with the political philosophy of conservation biology to suggest that the innate, evolved human affinity for other life provides ample ammunition for an environmental ethic. Traditionally, parceling out the relative influence of genetic or biological and cultural determinants of behavior has been the primary task of the social sciences and much of the humanities. After the introduction of sociobiology, however, some of this weighty task could be shouldered by natural scientists.

The seeds of sociobiology were planted in ...

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