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Human Nature Fact and Fiction - Literature, Science and Human Nature by Robin Headlam-Wells, Johnjoe McFadden, A. C. Grayling

Human Nature Fact and Fiction - Literature, Science and Human Nature

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Human Nature Fact and Fiction - Literature, Science and Human Nature by Robin Headlam-Wells, Johnjoe McFadden, A. C. Grayling

Human Nature: Fact and Fiction brings together a collection of inspiring, thought-provoking and original perspectives on human nature by ten leading writers, scientists and academics. What do we mean by 'human nature'? Is there a genetically determined core of humanity that unites us all as members of a single species? Or is the thing we call human nature a social construct? And how do we explain the mystery of human creativity? Do great writers have an intuitive grasp of what makes human beings tick, or are they merely the mouthpiece of contemporary culture? It has been claimed that 'the greatest enterprise of the mind has always been and always will be the attempted linkage of the sciences and humanities' (Edward O. Wilson). This groundbreaking book marks the beginning of a new dialogue between the two. Rather than focusing on the division between them, it shows that the sciences and humanities have much to learn from each other. Points of disagreement remain. Yet there is in this volume a genuine attempt to bridge the gulf that has traditionally separated the sciences and humanities and to reach a better understanding of what it means to be human. Human Nature: Fact and Fiction is a major new contribution to the debate on human nature, set to be required reading for anyone with a background in either the arts or the sciences who is interested in understanding what defines us as human beings - in what we are, and why.


To follow 'The book is thought-provoking, cloying, rewarding, and irritating in turn, as scientists intersperse insight into, and ham-fisted respect for the significance of literature to human self-understanding, and as novelists and literary theorists exploit scientific ideas for literary adaptation. The editors juxtapose papers by scientific and literary experts so as to highlight both the contrasts and similarities in views between the two cultures.
Australian Review of Public Affairs

, 'Scientific and Literary Musings on Who or What we Are', Susan Dodds, 28/08/2006 . .. the book contains many sensitive and sensible little essays. --Sanford Lakoff Financial Times

'Full of illuminating and stimulating insights ... it is precisely the purpose, and value, of this endlessly stimulating volume that it instigate a much-needed debate.
Institute of Ideas

- Culture Wars website--Sanford Lakoff A little book that packs a lot of punch. (T)his book provides some genuinely new thought, incorporating evloution, culture, imagination, literature and genes. A heady mix.However where the real interest lies is in determining where these multiple perpectives align...being more anaylsis than synthesis, Human Nature allows its readers to find this golden section for themselves - a point that makes this book really stand out from the crowd.--Sanford Lakoff Morning Star

About the Author

Robin Headlam Wells is Professor of English Literature at the University of Roehampton. Johnjoe McFadden is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th March 2006


Robin Headlam-Wells, Johnjoe McFadden, A. C. Grayling

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


224 pages





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