Critical review questions for Issue 5:
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- What evidence does Fisher refer to in support the theory that love is a biological phenomenon?
- What are the four patterns of divorce presented on pages 89-90? What is their significance (ie, how do they suggest a biological basis for divorce)? What possible confounding variables might account for these patterns? How do Reber & Beyers respond to these patterns? Are the divorce statistics cited by Fisher and by Reber & Beyers contradictory?
- What do Reber & Beyers seek to establish? Do they offer to prove that love does not have a biological basis?
- In the second full paragraph on page 94, Reber & Beyers accuse Fisher of reductionism, specifically of reducing the meaning or significance of love by assigning it a biological origin. What evidence do they give for this accusation? What do they propose as an alternative explanation? Do they give any evidence for their explanation?
- Why do Reber & Beyers say that "love has no meaning if it is determined by evolutionary forces"? Even if they were correct and love directed by evolution were rendered meaningless, would that mean that love does not have an evolutionary cause? In other words, if a hypothesis is unpleasant to consider, is it incorrect?
- Reber & Beyers state that Fisher "demeans our experience by equating it with the behavior of red foxes, elephants, and birds" (p 98). Does Fisher make such an equation? Is it demeaning? If so, is it therefore incorrect? Reber & Beyers further attack Fisher in the section titled "Love as Meaningful Experience." Is this attack on Fisher scientifically sound?
- What is the source of each article? Does that tell you anything about the credibility of the authors? (Note: Articles that appear in journals are typically "peer-reviewed." In other words, they have been examined by other experts in the field.)
- What additional evidence would you like to see to uncover the role of biology in love? In other words, how would you test Fisher’s hypothesis? What alternative hypothesis might you propose?