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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The first sociobiologist was not Edward O. Wilson but, rather, the Finnish sociologist Edward Westermarck. Far ahead of his time, at the turn of the 20th century, Westermarck presented Darwinian natural selectionist theories of numerous social phenomena, especially marriage and family practices across a wide range of societies and the evolution of moral emotions. Westermarck was revered in his time, and yet despite his brilliance and extraordinary erudition, by the 1930s he was almost completely forgotten outside of Finnish sociology due to the rising tide of social environmentalism and determinism that was inhospitable to biological explanations of human behavior. However, with the revival of Darwinian thinking in the social sciences in the past four decades, Westermarck deserves to be rehabilitated. In sociology, he needs to be considered one of the great founding fathers of that discipline even by those who may not be receptive to Darwinism.

Keywords: Darwinism, sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, incest avoidance, sexual selection, retributive emotions, moral emotions, Darwinian conservatism, Durkheim rivalry

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