TED Conversations

Kevin Keyaert

International Relations grad student,


This conversation is closed.

Are scientific insights on human nature detrimental to the existence of political ideologies?

Evolutionary psychology tells us that the social sciences are ignoring insights from evolutionary biology and the cognitive sciences, because it would supposedly undermine their very existence. Although, this is not completely true since both can add relevance to the pile of knowledge. Considering that political ideologies can often be traced back to a particular political or social theory within the social sciences, do they still make sense after acquiring knowledge about more accurate (not necessarily completely truthful) perspectives on the social construct of society? And could we enhance the political and social system by integrating biological knowledge of human nature in social theory?

  • Jun 4 2011: moreover, the majority of people still did not agree the idea to be an animal like the others (always of the anthropocentrism).
    Even among the philosophers, much are ignoramuses of biology and remain hung to certain values.
    To employ ideas such as “altruism of relationship”, “altruism of reciprocity”, differences inter-genders thanks to the natural selection is inhuman for certain. That recalls the controversies on the sociobiology with rumors on a fascistic biology.
  • Jun 4 2011: there is a huge disconnect here with public opinion intervening, noting that few "scientist" are scientists.
  • Jun 3 2011: I think that yes, there can be innovation-complexification thanks to the natural science.
    But there is an important problem, people did not accept the materialism and the determinism which results from this.
    To accept the Darwinism with biology and evolutionary psychology amounts posing limits, prohibitions as can the being the absence of free-referee, freedom.
    However our legal system is founded on the concept of responsibility and not on the mechanism (materialism, determinism).
    To think the cybernetic world of way can bring a change of paradigm but the policies are not prepared.