Man Adapting

With a New Chapter by the Author

René Dubos

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This enlarged edition of Man Adapting includes a new chapter expanding Dr. Dubos’s discussion of the role of medicine in man’s adaptive processes.  In 1965 he wrote at length of the biological and social problems of human adaptation, while treating the medical aspects of this problem only in passing.  He believed that the goal of medicine was to help man function successfully with the particular circumstances of his environment and heredity.  But despite advancements in the prevention and treatment of disease, skepticism has developed during the last two decades concerning the usefulness of modern medicine.  Dr. Dubos turns here to readdress this question.

Today physicians rely on sophisticated scientific knowledge, and no longer offer the traditional doctor-patient relationship which ministered to psychological as well as physical comfort.  But it is this spiritual aspect of human medicine, Dr. Dubos argues, which distinguishes it from general biology, and it will retain its unique position among the sciences only if it accepts responsibility for the human aspects of life.  Dr. Dubos demonstrates the complex interrelationship between man and his biological environment.  He writes, “I have attempted to focus my attention on the individual human being . . . trying as best he can to meet the emergencies of the day and to prepare for the uncertainties of the future.  He is Man Adapting.

"Dubos has treated all aspects of individual adaptation with thoroughness, skill, and authority. . . . This is an altogether fine book, one that cannot fail to interest any intelligent reader."—George Gaylord Simpson, Science

"The novelty of Dubos' treatment is his emphasis that man differs qualitatively from the most highly evolved animal in his response because, in Shelley's words, 'We look before and after; we pine for what is not.' . . . Dubos, like Bernal and Needham, is an encyclopaedist, and his book displays an astonishing erudition."—British Medical Journal

"Dubos has written many informative and iconoclastic books. This is his best. It is compulsive reading and is enlivened by many quotations of historical and contemporary interest."—Nature

"One can only marvel at the learning, study, and insight that have gone into the making of this comprehensive treatment of the relationships of modern man to his environment."—World Medical Journal

"An erudite, vigorous statement of the necessity for adaptation, its dangers and demands, and especially its medical implications."—Aubrey Lewis, The New York Review of Books  (on the first edition)

Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Science Award
ISBN: 9780300025811
Publication Date: September 1, 1980
527 pages, 5 1/8 x 8
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