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Keywords:

  • antidiscipline;
  • biological evolution;
  • cultural evolution;
  • economic theory;
  • genetic determinism;
  • learning theory;
  • psychoanalytic theory;
  • relationships between scientific disciplines

Abstract. The sciences may be conceptualized as a hierarchy ranked by level of organization (e.g., many-body physics ranks above particle physics). Each science serves as an antidiscipline for the science above it; that is, between each pair, tense but creative interplay is inevitable. Biology has advanced through such tension between its subdisciplines and now can serve as an antidiscipline for the social sciences—for anthropology, for example, by examining the connection between cultural and biological evolution; for psychology, by addressing the nature of learning and the structure of the unconscious; for economics, by examining economically irrational behavior and by comparing economic activity in humans and other species. Sociology, concerned mainly with advanced literate societies, is relatively remote from the genetic basis of human social behavior. However, moving between biological and social levels of organization generates richness and points to new and unexpected principles.