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On Our Minds: How Evolutionary Psychology Is Reshaping the Nature versus Nurture Debate 1st Edition

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0801873874
ISBN-10: 0801873878
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Editorial Reviews


An enjoyable and informative book.

(Thomas J. Bouchard Quarterly Review of Biology)

Gander has written a useful overview of evolutionary psychology and its implications for understanding important contemporary social issues... Gander is successful in combining sophisticated conceptual and ideological analysis with engaging writing. Both proponents and opponents of evolutionary psychology will profit from reading the book... Highly recommended.


A lucid and thought-provoking exploration of an intellectual theme that will increasingly engage us in the coming decades: human nature and its implications. On Our Minds is clear and lively enough to interest a general audience, while containing novel analyses that should be considered by the specialists.

(Steven Pinker, Harvard University, author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate)

This is a fine book that will arouse passions. Gander has produced a conscientious and scientifically sound account of the core evolutionary biology upon which evolutionary psychology is built, and in delightful addition, a sometimes witty, always fair account of the political and cultural high jinks of the opponents of evolutionary psychology. There is no scientific subject more politically fraught today. This is a very well written, competently documented survey of its currently salient ideas and of the story of how they came to be salient.

(Paul R. Gross, University of Virginia)

A very good book for those unacquainted with or confused by the modern debate on human nature or with the principles of evolutionary psychology.

(Boguslaw Pawlowski Journal of Biosocial Science)

About the Author

Eric M. Gander is an associate professor of Public Argument in the department of communication studies at Baruch College, City University of New York.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801873878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801873874
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,406,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bahram Houchmandzadeh on October 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The book is a critical review of the ideas around evol. psychology.

The first chapters of the book try to convince the reader that the mind is divided into modules, genetically shaped during the human evolution some 100,000 years ago. Then the last chapters discuss some "modules" specifically, such as the "altruism" module and "mate selection module".

But the very first chapters are devoted to the polemics between the pros and cons of sociobiology in general and the heritability of intelligence.

The author has much sympathy for Stephen Pinker and Herrnstein (the author of The Bell Curve) and much less for Stephen J. Gould and his followers ( treating them as "communists"). But very honestly, he displays all sides of the debate whitout derogatory deformations.

Over all, the author has an easy stlye. I found it instructive.
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On Our Minds: How Evolutionary Psychology Is Reshaping the Nature versus Nurture Debate
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