John Dupré Humans and Other Animals

ISBN 13: 9780199247097

Humans and Other Animals

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9780199247097: Humans and Other Animals
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John Dupré explores the ways in which we categorize animals, including humans, and comes to refreshingly radical conclusions. He opposes the idea that there is only one legitimate way of classifying things in the natural world, the 'scientific' way. The lesson we should learn from Darwin is to reject the idea that each organism has an essence that determines its necessary place in the unique hierarchy of things. Nature is not like that: it is not organized in a single system. For instance, there is no universal principle by which organisms can be sorted into species. We are obliged to accept that different classificatory schemes are equally valid, and to take a pluralistic view of biology and the human sciences. These provocative and readable essays move on to discuss a set of contentious topics relating to human nature. To start with, Dupré argues that the concept of a universal human nature should be rejected. He questions the relevance of evolution to explanation of human behaviour, and casts doubt on the concept of normality in human behaviour. He shows that misunderstanding of biology and evolution has lead to widespread misconceptions about human sex and gender-in particular, about sexual behaviour and gender roles. The books concludes with a pair of essays about the differences between humans and animals, which may not be quite so clear-cut as we think.

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Review:

[Dupre's] approach also enables us to say, ina full-blooded way, that sociopolitical concerns affect the content of science and vice versa. Dupre's approach thus seems a promising one towards a rapprochement between factions in the science wars. (Tim Lewens, Mind)

This is a fine collection of essays: informed, challenging, and provocative. I have certainly been provoked, but there is much to admire in the collection. (Kim Sterelny, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science)

About the Author:

John Dupre is Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Exeter. He was formerly at Stanford University and the University of London."

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9780199247103: Humans and Other Animals

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ISBN 10:  0199247102 ISBN 13:  9780199247103
Publisher: Oxford University Press, U.S.A., 2006
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