Essentialism and Human Nature


Current scientific attempts to characterize human nature have roots in a philosophic view of kinds that is inapplicable to any species in the wake of Darwin's work on evolution by natural selection.

Keywords: evolution; philosophy; evolutionary psychology; behavioural ethology; human nature

Further Reading

Barkow JH, Cosmides L and Tooby J (eds) (1995) The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Darwin C (1964) On the Origin of Species. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. [First published 1859.]

Futuyma DJ (1997) Evolutionary Biology, 3rd edn. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer.

Hull D and Ruse M (eds) (1998) The Philosophy of Biology, Part VI: Human Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lorenz K (1970) On Aggression, Wilson MK (transl.). London: Bantam Books.

Plato (2000) The Republic, Ferrari GRF (ed.), Griffith T (transl.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spencer H (1900) First Principles, 6th edn. London: Williams & Norgate.

Stevenson L and Haberman DL (1998) Ten Theories of Human Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stevenson L (ed.) (1999) The Study of Human Nature: A Reader, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford Uiversity Press.

Wilson EO (1978) On Human Nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Lloyd, Elisabeth A, and Crowley, Stephen J(May 2003) Essentialism and Human Nature. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003453]