Philip Kitcher's Vaulting Ambition

From: Jane Korbey (
Date: Fri May 23 1997 - 10:22:18 BST

Of all the sociobiological papers you recommended we read I found Vaulting
Ambition the most difficult. I could not understand the point Philip Kitcher
was trying to make..........then at some late hour last night I realised that
he is pointing out that although sociobiology can offer plausible explanations
for behaviour, he can offer equally plausible explanations too.

My problem had been in trying to see what his stance was in the debate, I
originally thought he had some opposing stance which I could not identify in
some strong form. Now I understand him to be saying.........."Look I can
offer some just-so-stories too. If I can do this then where is the strenght
in Wilson's arguements?"
I hope I have arrived at the correct destination on this journey into

I have a question...........
In the preface of Vaulting Ambition Philip Kitcher thanks Elliot Sober for his
'...careful reading and line by line comments (which) have enhanced my
discussion of almost every issue'.
Nine years later Sober then goes on to write an article with
Wilson............I don't quite understand what part Sober plays in all this.
Do you?

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