On Aggression

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 2002 - Psychology - 306 pages

Konrad Lorenz was the author of some of the most popular books ever published about animals, including the best-selling Man Meets Dog and King Solomon's Ring. On Aggression is one of his finest works, as well as the most controversial. Through an insightful and characteristically entertaining survey of animal behaviour, the Nobel Prize winner tracks the evolution of aggression throughout the animal world. He also raises some startling questions when he applies his observations of animal psychology to humankind. His conclusions caused an unprecedented controversy, culminating in a statement adopted by UNESCO in 1989 which appeared to condemn his work. Whether or not Lorenz actually claimed aggression is hard-wired into the human psyche, and that war is an inevitable result, is something readers can decide upon for themselves. However you react, there can be no doubting that in today's violent world this powerful work remains of paramount importance.

 

Contents

Prologue in the Sea
1
Coral Fish in the Laboratory
9
What Aggression is Good For
20
The Spontaneity of Aggression
46
Habit Ritual and Magic
54
The Great Parliament of Instincts
82
Behavioural Analogies to Morality
105
Anonymity of the Flock
134
Social Organization without Love
145
Rats
152
The Bond
160
On the Virtue of Scientific Humility
213
Ecce Homo
228
Avowal of Optimism
266
RECOMMENDED BOOKS
291
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About the author (2002)

Konrad Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist whose specialty, the biological origins of social behavior, is of major interest to psychologists. Lorenz pioneered in the direct study of animal behavior and was the founder of modern ethology (the study of animals in their natural surroundings). He received the Nobel Prize for physiology in 1973 for his research on instinctive behavior patterns and on imprinting---the process through which an animal very early in life acquires a social bond, usually with its parents, that enables it to become attached to other members of its own species. His major book, "On Aggression" (1963), was attacked by many anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists, who maintained that Lorenz's claim that aggression is inborn means that it cannot be controlled. His supporters countered that Lorenz never stated that inborn traits could not be changed. Lorenz's work continues to play a key role in this contemporary version of the nature-nurture debate.

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