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9780806132310

Harmony and Conflict in the Living World

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780806132310

  • ISBN10:

    0806132310

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2000-06-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Oklahoma Pr

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Summary

Consider the many differences between you and a stone. Would it surprise you, asks the eminent ornithologist Alexander F. Skutch, to learn that the key difference lies in your having a skin? Our skin, he continues, is both our salvation and our downfall: it protects us from dangerous intruders, but it also constricts our individuality, retarding the growth of a deep sense of community with the rest of the living world.

Skutch argues that a principle of increasing harmony drives the living world -- but along a bumpy road pitted with the paradoxes of evolution. His central purpose in this thought-provoking book is to examine the sources of these paradoxes and how they can deepen our understanding of life. Along the way he explores several biological heresies, such as anthropomorphism. He even tackles the conventional wisdom that we should strive to preserve maximum biodiversity, proposing "biocompatibility" instead.

Focusing on our present alarming situation, Skutch presents strategies -- some highly controversial -- based on his broad perspective and long ex

Author Biography

Alexander F. Skutch is a naturalist and ornithologist

Table of Contents

Preface ix
A Realm of Paradoxes
3(18)
The Individual and Its Species
21(12)
The Twofold Nature of Animals
33(20)
Mutual Aid and Social Relations
53(26)
Exploitation and Cooperation
79(18)
Paradoxical Plants
97(34)
Three Biological Heresies
131(20)
Biodiversity or Biocompatibility?
151(12)
The Troubled Childhood of Intelligence
163(34)
Epilogue: The Failure of Success? 197(6)
Bibliography 203(6)
Index 209

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