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The Biophilia Hypothesis (Shearwater Book) Paperback – March 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-1559631471 ISBN-10: 1559631473 Edition: Reissue

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Product Details

  • Series: Shearwater Book
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; Reissue edition (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559631473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559631471
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Why is it that most of us find baby animals irresistibly cute? Why do so many people fear even the sight of snakes? What prompts us to feed birds, to allow cats to roam around the house at will, to admire the lines of dogs and horses? Stephen Kellert and Edward Wilson, the prolific Harvard biologist, gather essays by various hands on these and other questions, and the result is a fascinating glimpse into our relations with other animals. Humans, Wilson writes, have an innate (or at least extremely ancient) connection to the natural world, and our continued divorce from it has led to the loss of not only "a vast intellectual legacy born of intimacy" with nature but also our very sanity. There is much to ponder in this timely book.

From Publishers Weekly

The editors draw together a collection of scholarly essays both supporting and refuting the biophilia concept, a term coined by Pulitzer Prize winner Wilson to describe humankind's innate affiliation with nature.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA on August 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book contains writings and research from several fields, their experts trying to confirm the hypothesis that human beings are naturally drawn to various manifestations of the natural world ("biophilia"). This hypothesis is important not because it can start a new religion or redeem the world, but because it balances more pessimistic views of human nature with the idea that we have a natural psychological connection to our fellow creatures. This in turn implies that we harm our own psyches to the extent we push other beings out of existence.

Don't expect any end-stage science from this book. The editors make it clear up front that these are tentative, exploratory, and sometimes speculative investigations. The amount of biophilia research funding remains quite small compared to environmental research on how to market things or brainwash customers. The studies herein go up to the 1990s, so it's time for another collection.

A chapter that puzzled me was written by Dorion Sagan and Lynn Margulis to argue that appeals to save the planet are grandiose. Granted; Joanna Macy has been making the point for decades that we are PART of the planet, not sitting high above it. At best we can participate in its self-healing from what humans have done to it. But the authors go beyond this to normalize what we have done to it, even suggesting that we could be making way for the next evolutionary experiment of Gaia. I hate to use the hard word "misanthropic," but dismissing global warming and mass extinctions with the suggestion that "the decline in species diversity may be balanced by an increase in technological diversity" is astounding. It is quite a contrast to the growing numbers of people who feel the pain of those disappearances and declines with agonizing urgency and sorrow.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Human beings are deeply psychologically attached to nature and the sooner we realize that, the better off we'll be. Why are houseplants so popular? Why do so many children's books feature animals as main characters? Why do more Americans visit zoos than sporting events? Why are so many of us worried about rainforests we'll never see firsthand? Unlike the previous two reviewers, I hold that our ties with nature are deep and ancient. We can bury them under concrete but WE CAN'T CUT THEM. As a last word: most of the really happy people I know have a deep relationship with nature or something from nature, such as a pet.
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By Rathcol on August 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Provides a wide range of thoughtful , carefully researched perspectives on a very important topic in contemporary science and philosophy.
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