Nancy Segal, “Born Together-Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study” (Harvard UP, 2012)
Identical twins, separated at birth, raised in different families, and reunited in adulthood. In 1979, psychology researchers in Minnesota found some twins who had been reunited after a lifetime of separation, and brought them in to participate in a research… Read More
Dominic Pettman, “Human Error” (UMinnesota, 2011)/”Look at the Bunny” (Zero Books, 2013)
“The humans are dead.” Whether or not you recognize the epigram from Flight of the Conchords (and if not, there are worse ways to spend a few minutes than by looking here, and I recommend sticking around for the… Read More
Helen Longino, “Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
What explains human behavior? It is standard to consider answers from the perspective of a dichotomy between nature and nurture, with most researchers today in agreement that it is both. For Helen Longino, Clarence Irving Lewis Professor of Philosophy… Read More
Jared Diamond, “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?” (Viking, 2012)
It’s pretty common–and has long been–for people to think that the “way it used to be” is better than the way it is. This tendency to idealize an (imagined) past is particularly strong today among critics of modern civilization. Think… Read More
Marlene Zuk, “Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live” (Norton, 2013)
The Hebrews called it “Eden.” The Greeks and Romans called it the “Golden Age.” The philosophes–or Rousseau at least–called it the “State of Nature.” Marx and Engels called it “Primitive Communism.” The underlying notion, however, is the same: there… Read More
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