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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

During its emergence as a new academic discipline in the late 19th century, sociology was influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. By the mid-20th century, however, biological thinking in general and evolutionary theory in particular had waned in influence in American sociology. This began to change during the last quarter of the 20th century—a development due in large part to the work of Edward O. Wilson, a prominent biologist and one of the founders of sociobiology. By the dawn of the 21st century, evolutionary thinking had again gained a foothold in the social sciences, including sociology. However, full consilience between evolutionary biology and sociology has not yet been achieved. This chapter reviews issues in terms of which evolutionary biology and sociology converge in some instances and diverge in others. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the prospects for the development of a robust evolutionary sociology.

Keywords: adaptation, consilience, culture, sociobiology, sociology, ultimate causation, proximate causation

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