Academic fields sorted according to their endorsement of genetic causes of human behaviour

12 07 2017

AS: This research is interesting conceptually but not necessarily methodologically. The curious thing is that the authors ignored the main business-school disciplines with the exception of economics. Given the importance of such academic disciplines as strategy and finance in our culture, this omission is most unfortunate. I also note that Law is absent from the list.

The paper is based on a self-selected group of survey respondents. Still, it’s an interesting early finding.

The authors are: Joseph Carroll, John A. Johnson, Catherine Salmon, Jens Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, Mathias Clasen, Emelie Jonsson. Paper title: “A Cross-Disciplinary Survey of Beliefs about Human Nature, Culture, and Science”






How far has the Darwinian revolution come? To what extent have evolutionary ideas penetrated into the social sciences and humanities? Are the “science wars” over? Or do whole blocs of disciplines face off over an unbridgeable epistemic gap? To answer questions like these, contributors to top journals in 22 disciplines were surveyed on their beliefs about human nature, culture, and science. More than 600 respondents completed the survey. Scoring patterns divided into two main sets of disciplines. Genetic influences were emphasized in the evolutionary social sciences, evolutionary humanities, psychology, empirical study of the arts, philosophy, economics, and political science. Environmental influences were emphasized in most of the humanities disciplines and in anthropology, sociology, education, and women’s or gender studies. Confidence in scientific explanation correlated positively with emphasizing genetic influences on behavior, and negatively with emphasizing environmental influences. Knowing the current actual landscape of belief should help scholars avoid sterile debates and ease the way toward fruitful collaborations with neighboring disciplines.






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