• Interpreting human behavior
by looking at instincts
• What makes us human?
• Truth lies within us – deep
down beneath the surface
Criteria for a behavior to be an
―a)be automatic, b)be
irresistible, c) occur at some
point in development, d) be
triggered by some event in
the environment, e)occur in
every member of the species,
f)be unmodifiable, and
g)govern behavior for which
the organism needs no
• ―instincts-- which represent bodily
demands on the mind-- were the
fundamental cause of much of human
• Ideal Society= ―might force individuals to
subordinate instinctual drives to analysis
and thoughtful reflection‖ (297 )
• Conflict between individual & society:
―between the force of instinctual drives
and demands that individuals make of
themselves as social beings‖ (299)
• Evolving instinctual drives
• ―It is only by regulating and indeed
suppressing the instincts of the
individual…that civilization can occur‖
• ―Freud supposes that human evolution
resulted in the formation of family units and
that the members of the family unit helped
• ―The family and society attempt to socialize
the individual in such a manner that the
instincts will be sublimated or frustrated‖
• Not all information we absorb is ―processed‖
• Brain does not mirror or construct reality
• We think with our entire body! (not just brain)
• Instincts= inherent structures in nervous system?
o ―every thought, every image, every feeling and action is demonstrably
mediated by the human brain.‖
Materialism & Idealism
• ―If instincts are a part of our natural inheritance, then
anything for which we have an instinctual desire must
necessarily exist outside of us — otherwise, it would never
have survived being passed down‖
o Criteria of truth within us (through instincts)
• Materialism (pre-modern)
Brain mirrors reality
I see what is there…
Only what is physical/material is real
Reality is reflected in brain
Interpreting what we see
We each have unique reality
Reality is constructed in brain
Ashley, David, and David Michael. Orenstein. Sociological Theory :
Classical Statements. Boston [etc.: Allyn & Bacon, 1990. Print.
MacDonald, Kevin. "Civilization and Its Discontents Revisited: Freud as an
Evolutionary Biologist." (1986): 307-18. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.
Steven Pinker: Human Nature and the Blank Slate. Perf. Steven Pinker. TED:
Ideas worth Spreading. TED Conferences, LLC, Sept. 2008. Web. 20 Oct.
Cline, Austin. "Truth as Emotions, Intuition, & Instinct." About.com
Agnosticism / Atheism. About.com, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.
Laughlin, C.D. (1997). The Cycle of Meaning: Some Methodological
Implications of Biogenetic Structural Theory. In S. Glazier (Ed.),
Anthropology of Religion: Handbook of Theory and Method. Greenwood
Press, pp. 471-488.
"Instinct." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Oct. 2013. Web. 20 Oct.
Human Instincts - BBC Documentary. Perf. Robert Winston. 2002.
Documentary. YouTube. YouTube, 25 Feb. 2012. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.