MAN AND AGGRESSION by M. F. Ashley Ed. Montagu


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Fourteen scientists, scholars, and popular writers declare war on Konrad Lorenz (On Aggression, 1966) and his disciple Robert Ardrey (The Territorial Imperative, 1966). They then launch a frontal attack on the doctrine of ""phylogenetically programmed aggression."" Animals, it seems, are not ordinarily so aggressive as Lorenz declares. Neither is man. The case against Lorenz, a pioneer ethologist who specializes in bird behavior is reluctant; a masterly book, but ""only fifty per cent science."" The case against Ardrey is unmitigated. The charges: (1) Overgeneralization from birds to animals to man. (2) Neglect of learning and experience as factors in aggression. (3) Failure to note the crucial new finding that a major cause of animal in-group fighting is social disorganization. The partisans: S. A. Barnett, Geoffrey Gorer, Sally Carrighar, J. P. Scott, T. C. Schncirla, Edmund Leach, Kenneth E. Boulding, Sir Solly Zuckerman, Ralph Holloway, Omer E. Stewart, John Beatty, John Hurrell Crook, Marshall D. Sahlins, and editor Ashley Montagu. Montagu, himself a controversial anthropologist, has collected the essays from numerous sources including Nature, Encounter, Political Science Quarterly, and The New York Review of Books. The collection necessarily is repetitious, but the book is important. It will prevent even the most ardent Lorenzian from accepting without question the new, possibly pseudo-scientific, version of original sin.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1968
Publisher: Oxford