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In Search of Human NatureThe Decline and Revival of Darwinism in American Social Thought$
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Carl N. Degler

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780195077070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195077070.001.0001

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Beyond the Darwinian Imperative: Instinct, Eugenics, and Intelligence

Beyond the Darwinian Imperative: Instinct, Eugenics, and Intelligence

(p.32) 2 Beyond the Darwinian Imperative: Instinct, Eugenics, and Intelligence
In Search of Human Nature

Carl N. Degler

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the shift in the study of human nature towards the issues of instinction, eugenics, and intelligence during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who studied instincts came up with various ideas, including that instinct was a faculty for acting in such a way so as to produce certain ends without previous knowledge of the performance, and that human behaviour was strongly influenced by innate forces such as the economic instinct, instinctive religion, and instinctive morality. In contrast to social Darwinism, eugenics sought to improve society through the application of the latest scientific knowledge. Some of those who specialized in this field included Edward A. Ross and Frank Hankins.

Keywords:   human nature, instinct, eugenics, intelligence, William James, Edward A. Ross, Frank Hankins

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