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Why We Disagree About Human Nature$
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Elizabeth Hannon and Tim Lewens

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198823650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198823650.001.0001

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The Faces of Human Nature

(p.1) Introduction
Why We Disagree About Human Nature

Tim Lewens

Oxford University Press

Many evolutionary theorists have enthusiastically embraced human nature, but large numbers of evolutionists have also rejected it. It is also important to recognize the nuanced views on human nature that come from the side of the social sciences. This introduction provides an overview of the current state of the human nature debate, from the anti-essentialist consensus to the possibility of a Gray’s Anatomy of human psychology. Three potential functions for the notion of species nature are identified. The first is diagnostic, assigning an organism to the correct species. The second is species-comparative, allowing us to compare and contrast different species. The third function is contrastive, establishing human nature as a foil for human culture. The Introduction concludes with a brief synopsis of each chapter.

Keywords:   human nature debate, anti-essentialist consensus, Gray’s Anatomy, evolutionary theorists, social scientists

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