Moral Origins

Author: Christopher Boehm
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465029191
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The natural and cultural history of the evolution of our sense of ethics, by a leading anthropologist of human morality.

Hierarchy in the Forest

Author: Christopher BOEHM
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674028449
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Are humans by nature hierarchical or egalitarian? Hierarchy in the Forest addresses this question by examining the evolutionary origins of social and political behavior. Christopher Boehm, an anthropologist whose fieldwork has focused on the political arrangements of human and nonhuman primate groups, postulates that egalitarianism is in effect a hierarchy in which the weak combine forces to dominate the strong. The political flexibility of our species is formidable: we can be quite egalitarian, we can be quite despotic. Hierarchy in the Forest traces the roots of these contradictory traits in chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and early human societies. Boehm looks at the loose group structures of hunter-gatherers, then at tribal segmentation, and finally at present-day governments to see how these conflicting tendencies are reflected. Hierarchy in the Forest claims new territory for biological anthropology and evolutionary biology by extending the domain of these sciences into a crucial aspect of human political and social behavior. This book will be a key document in the study of the evolutionary basis of genuine altruism. Table of Contents: The Question of Egalitarian Society Hierarchy and Equality Putting Down Aggressors Equality and Its Causes A Wider View of Egalitarianism The Hominoid Political Spectrum Ancestral Politics The Evolution of Egalitarian Society Paleolithic Politics and Natural Selection Ambivalence and Compromise in Human Nature References Index Reviews of this book: This well-written book, geared toward an audience with background in the behavioral and evolutionary sciences but accessible to a broad readership, raises two general questions: 'What is an egalitarian society?' and 'How have these societies evolved?'...[Christopher Boehm] takes the reader on a journey from the Arctic to the Americas, from Australia to Africa, in search of hunter-gatherer and tribal societies that emanate the egalitarian ethos--one that promotes generosity, altruism and sharing but forbids upstartism, aggression and egoism. Throughout this journey, Boehm tantalizes the reader with vivid anthropological accounts of ridicule, criticism, ostracism and even execution--prevalent tactics used by subordinates in egalitarian societies to level the social playing field...Hierarchy in the Forest is an interesting and thought-provoking book that is surely an important contribution to perspectives on human sociality and politics. --Ryan Earley, American Scientist Reviews of this book: Combing an exhaustive ethnographic survey of human societies from groups of hunter-gatherers to contemporary residents of the Balkans with a detailed analysis of the behavioral attributes of non-human primates (chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos), Boehm focuses on whether humans are hierarchical or egalitarian by nature...[Boehm's hypotheses] are invariably intriguing and well documented...He raises topics of wide interest and his book should get attention. --Publishers Weekly Boehm has been the first to look at egalitarianism with a cold, unromantic eye. He sees it as a victory over hierarchical tendencies, which are equally marked in our species. I would predict that his insightful examination will reverberate within anthropology and the social sciences as well as among biologists interested in the evolution of social systems. --Frans de Waal, Emory University Hierarchy in the Forest is an original and stimulating contribution to thinking about the origins of egalitarianism. I personally find Boehm's ideas convincing, but whether one agrees with him or not, he has formulated his hypotheses in such a way that this book is likely to set the terms of the discussion for the forseeable future. --Barbara Smuts, University of Michigan The most unique and interesting feature of this clear, well written book is the way Boehm links the study of nonhuman primates (particularly chimpanzees) to traditional concepts of political anthropology. As a political scientist, I was intrigued by Boehm's suggestion that democracy, both ancient and modern, could be understood as the expression of the same natural dispositions that support the egalitarianism of nomadic bands and sedentary tribes. I expect that many scholars in biology, anthropology, and the social sciences would learn from this stimulating book. Even those who disagree with Boehm's arguments are likely to be provoked in instructive ways. --Larry Arnhart, Northern Illinois University Chris Boehm boldly and cogently attacks a whole orthodoxy in anthropology which sees hunter-gatherer 'egalitarianism' as somehow the basic form of human society. No praise can be too high for Boehm's brilliant and courageous book. --Robin Fox, Rutgers University

Wired for Culture Origins of the Human Social Mind

Author: Mark Pagel
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393065871
Format: PDF, ePub
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An evolutionary biologist explores the concept of culture and how it influenced our collective human behaviors from the beginning of evolution through modern times and offers new insights on how art, morality and altruism and self-interest define being human. 20,000 first printing.

The Evolution of Morality

Author: Richard Joyce
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262263252
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Moral thinking pervades our practical lives, but where did this way of thinking come from, and what purpose does it serve? Is it to be explained by environmental pressures on our ancestors a million years ago, or is it a cultural invention of more recent origin? In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce takes up these controversial questions, finding that the evidence supports an innate basis to human morality. As a moral philosopher, Joyce is interested in whether any implications follow from this hypothesis. Might the fact that the human brain has been biologically prepared by natural selection to engage in moral judgment serve in some sense to vindicate this way of thinking -- staving off the threat of moral skepticism, or even undergirding some version of moral realism? Or if morality has an adaptive explanation in genetic terms -- if it is, as Joyce writes, "just something that helped our ancestors make more babies" -- might such an explanation actually undermine morality's central role in our lives? He carefully examines both the evolutionary "vindication of morality" and the evolutionary "debunking of morality," considering the skeptical view more seriously than have others who have treated the subject.Interdisciplinary and combining the latest results from the empirical sciences with philosophical discussion, The Evolution of Morality is one of the few books in this area written from the perspective of moral philosophy. Concise and without technical jargon, the arguments are rigorous but accessible to readers from different academic backgrounds. Joyce discusses complex issues in plain language while advocating subtle and sometimes radical views. The Evolution of Morality lays the philosophical foundations for further research into the biological understanding of human morality.

The Biology of Moral Systems

Author: Richard Alexander
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351329294
Format: PDF, ePub
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First Published in 2017. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an Informa company.

Evolution and Ethics

Author: Philip Clayton
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN: 9780802826954
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Certain to engage scholars, students, and general readers alike, Evolution and Ethics offers a balanced, levelheaded, constructive approach to an often divisive debate.

Blood Revenge

Author: Christopher Boehm
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 9780812212419
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The Altruistic Brain

Author: Donald W. Pfaff
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199377464
Format: PDF, Mobi
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"Unlike any other study in its field, The Altruistic Brain synthesizes into one theory the most important research into how and why - by purely physical mechanisms - humans empathize with one another and respond altruistically."--Book jacket.

Moral Minds

Author: Marc Hauser
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061864781
Format: PDF
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In his groundbreaking book, Marc Hauser puts forth a revolutionary new theory: that humans have evolved a universal moral instinct, unconsciously propelling us to deliver judgments of right and wrong independent of gender, education, and religion. Combining his cutting-edge research with the latest findings in cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, economics, and anthropology, Hauser explores the startling implications of his provocative theory vis-à-vis contemporary bioethics, religion, the law, and our everyday lives.