biological reductionism, biologism A theoretical approach which explains social or cultural phenomena in biological terms. Twentieth-century incarnations of biological reductionism have relied to varying degrees on Darwin's theory of evolution and principles of natural selection. Within the human sciences, there have been attempts to explain observed differences in group behaviour—such as performance on intelligence tests, rates of mental illness, intergenerational poverty, male dominance or patriarchy, and propensity for crime—as being biologically determined, by claiming that groups have different biological capacities or evolutionary trajectories. The theories of Social Darwinism, eugenics, and sociobiology incorporate biological reductionism. See also Ardrey, Robert.
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