This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to examine a set of research approaches that are in one way or another engaged with the debate over human behavior to understand their epistemological structure (investigative methods, assumptions, basic concepts), the kinds of knowledge they provide, and the pragmatic aims they can be seen to advance. The book outlines the evidential and argumentative structure of empirical research on human behavior that either employs one or another biological approach or is claimed to present an alternative to such approaches. It argues for and elaborates three principal theses, one epistemological, regarding the character of knowledge generated in this research; one ontological, regarding the object of knowledge; and one social, regarding the differential uptake and diffusion of knowledge. The organization and structure of the book is also described.
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