The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex

We all know that Darwin wrote in 1871 this famous book “The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex” but we know less that in this book, he wrote :

“Maternal instincts lead women to show greater tenderness and less selfishness and to display these qualities towards her infants in an eminent degree”.

Charles Darwin has indeed written about the concept of maternal instinct. He rejected the idea that social feelings were acquired through experience, formulating instead what he called the “associationist doctrine“. According to this doctrine, humans, like animals, also possessed social instincts.

The fact that Darwin’s theory seemed to support the belief in maternal aptitude helped to solidify it in the form of rigid social structures.


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