Aggression: The Myth of the Beast Within

John Klama, Author, Peter Kloffer, Editor, John Durant, Editor John Wiley & Sons $36.95 (169p) ISBN 978-0-470-20790-1
From Darwin down to Freud and Lorenz, scientists have projected a gloomy message that humans are driven, aggressive creatures. The notion that people are basically competitive and combative has gained additional support from sociobiology. This levelheaded book deals a devastating blow to the myth that we are naturally aggressive and to the ""nature versus nurture'' controversy. Its authors (``John Klama'' is a joint pseudonym for biologist John Durant, zoologist Peter Klopfer, psychologist Susan Oyama and other contributors) argue that the nature/nurture dispute wrongly assumes a biological core of fixed traits and a cultural overlay of flexible traits. Aggression, in their opinion, is a catch-all term that lumps together many different behaviors. By showing that aggressiveness is not contained in specific genes, hormones or brain centers, the authors present a much more optimistic view of human behavior than the prevalent belief in a ``beast within,'' which makes war and conflict seem inevitable. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
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