The Human Instinct
How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will
Kenneth R. Miller, Fred Sanders
From one of America’s best-known biologists, a revolutionary new way of thinking about evolution that shows “why, in light of our origins, humans are still special” (Edward J. Larson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evolution).
Once we had a special place in the hierarchy of life on Earth—a place confirmed by the literature and traditions of every human tribe. But then the theory of evolution arrived to shake the tree of human understanding to its roots. To many of the most passionate advocates for Darwin’s theory, we are just one species among multitudes, no more significant than any other. Even our minds are not our own, they tell us, but living machines programmed for nothing but survival and reproduction.
In The Human Instinct, Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller “confronts both lay and professional misconceptions about evolution” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), showing that while evolution explains how our bodies and brains were shaped, that heritage does not limit or predetermine human behavior. In fact, Miller argues in this “highly recommended” (Forbes) work that it is only thanks to evolution that we have the power to shape our destiny.
Equal parts natural science and philosophy, The Human Instinct makes an “absorbing, lucid, and engaging…case that it was evolution that gave us our humanity” (Ursula Goodenough, professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis).