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Aggression: myth or model?

ALBERT VAN EYKEN
Journal of Applied Philosophy
Vol. 4, No. 2 (1987), pp. 165-176
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24353664
Page Count: 12
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Aggression: myth or model?
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Abstract

The word, aggression, refers in general usage to unjustified attack, and any serious writer who uses it extensively in some figurative or newly-coined technical sense should leave his meaning in no doubt. Unfortunately some ethological writers fail to do this and deceive themselves into the bargain. They somewhat naively claim to find aggression built into the fundamental nature of animals, a kind of instinct which cannot be resisted, indeed which must figure in their social cohesion. If the word really retains the moral connotation which I have indicated, then much animal biology is vitiated. Not only are animals misjudged, but, since conclusions are then applied to our human selves, we too are misjudged and recommended to adopt false moral principles. It is possible that ensuing armchair pseudo-cures may be responsible for a real increase in human violence.

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