The Direction of Human Development
Biological and Social Bases

M. F. Ashley Montagu

1955

Ashley Montagu recently died (in November 1999) at the age of 94. He was one of the first anthropologists to point out that race was a cultural perception, and had no biological basis. He was also an early feminist.

It was difficult to decide which Montagu book to choose for this list. Close runners up were The Nature of Human Aggression and, probably one of his more popular and accessible books, Touching.

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The biological basis of cooperation, in short, has its origins in the same sources as social behavior, namely, in the process of reproduction. Social, cooperative behavior is the continuation and development of the maternal-offspring relationship; it is therefore as old as life itself, and in spite of recent appearances to the contrary the movement of evolution has, in man, been increasingly directed toward the fuller development of cooperative behavior. Cooperative behavior has great survival value. When social behavior is not cooperative it is diseased behavior. The dominant principle which informs all behavior which is biologically healthy is love. Love, social behavior, cooperation, and security mean very much the same thing. Without love the other three cannot exist.

The Direction of Human Development
Ashley Montagu

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