Human nature and public policy: An evolutionary approach

Albert Somit, Steven A. Peterson

Research output: Book/ReportBook

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Arguing for an evolutionary perspective, this book directly challenges the Standard Social Science Model (SSSM) on which public policy has often been based. The SSSM maintains that human behavior is solely the product of culture and learning. In sharp contrast, the Evolutionary Model (EM) holds that our behavior flows from the interaction between learning and culture, on the one hand, and biological factors-especially our evolutionary legacy-on the other. These different approaches to human behavior understandably lead to divergent conceptions of sound domestic and foreign policy. The SSSM views human behavior as essentially plastic and thus readily changed by governmental action. Disagreeing, the Evolutionary Model sees that malleability as seriously limited by our species’ evolved propensity for aggression, status seeking, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and hierarchical social structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages266
ISBN (Electronic)9781403982094
ISBN (Print)9781403961167
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2003

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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