The Purpose of Life Is Living

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(10), 734–735. Reviews the book, The Biological Origin of Human Values by George Edgin Pugh (1977). The author's main theme is that the ultimate goal in the “game of life” is survival of the species. The ‘book explores the theme in three approximately equal parts. Part 1 develops the basic viewpoint, mainly via illustrations of human-made value-driven decision systems. Part 2 discusses the various human values, all of which reside in the makeup of each individual: the selfish values arise in studies of the basic drives and emotions (eg., hunger, fear); the social values arise in studies relevant to, say, ethology or sociobiology (e.g., communication by facial expression, altruistic acts); and the intellectual values should lead to a discussion of contemporary work in cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence. Part 3 is then a preliminary attempt to apply the perspective of the first two sections to personal and social policy decisions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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