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The Goodness Paradox

  • Livre Relié
  • 400 Nombre de pages
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"A work accessible to those outside the scientific field, offering a great deal of information."—Library Journal“Based... Lire la suite
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"A work accessible to those outside the scientific field, offering a great deal of information."
Library Journal

“Based on Richard Wrangham’s path-breaking work and on many riveting examples, this magnificent and profound book shows how our violent, even murderous, impulses actually shaped our species to be kind and cooperative, progressively shaping our evolutionary trajectory, our moral expectations, and our genes.”
—Nicholas A. Christakis, Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science, Yale University
“A brilliant analysis of the role of aggression in our evolutionary history.”
—Jane Goodall, author of In the Shadow of Man
“Richard Wrangham has written a brilliant and honest book about humanity’s central contradiction: that we are capable of mass murder but live in societies with almost no violence. No other species straddles such a wide gap, and the reasons are staggeringly obvious once Wrangham lays them out in his calm, learned prose. This book is science writing at its best: lucid, rational and yet deeply concerned with humanity.”
—Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe

“Wrangham has been the most original and influential interpreter of ecological and evolutionary factors in the origin of our species. In The Goodness Paradox he extends his evidence and reasoning into yet another fundamental human trait.”
—Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
“Nobody knows more, thinks deeper, or writes better about the evolution of modern human beings than Richard Wrangham. Here he reveals a rich and satisfying story about the self-domestication of our species, drawing upon remarkable observations and experiments.”
—Matt Ridley, author of The Evolution of Everything
“In this revolutionary, illuminating, and dazzling book, Wrangham provides the first compelling explanation for how and why humans can be so cooperative, kind, and compassionate, yet simultaneously so brutal, aggressive, and cruel. His brilliant self-domestication hypothesis will transform your views of what it means to be human.”
—Daniel E. Lieberman, author of The Story of the Human Body
“This will prove to be one of the most important publications of our time. Fully supported scientific information from many directions leads us to a new and compelling analysis of our evolutionary history. Every page is fascinating, every revelation is unforgettable. It will change how we see ourselves, our past, and our future.”
—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
“This is the most thought-provoking book I have read in years. In clear, elegant prose, drawing on riveting data and vivid scenes gathered from species all over the world, renowned anthropologist Richard Wrangham examines the issues most central to human morality. The Goodness Paradox is a breakthrough that deserves careful reading, thoughtful consideration, and lively debate among all those who care about our evolutionary history and the future of human morality.”
—Sy Montgomery, author of How to Be a Good Creature

RICHARD WRANGHAM is Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology, Harvard University. He is the author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human and Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (with Dale Peterson). Wrangham has studied wild chimpanzees in Uganda since 1987. He has received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy.

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"A fascinating new analysis of human violence, filled with fresh ideas and gripping evidence from our primate cousins, historical forebears, and contemporary neighbors."
-Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature

We Homo sapiens can be the nicest of species and also the nastiest. What occurred during human evolution to account for this paradox? What are the two kinds of aggression that primates are prone to, and why did each evolve separately? How does the intensity of violence among humans compare with the aggressive behavior of other primates? How did humans domesticate themselves? And how were the acquisition of language and the practice of capital punishment determining factors in the rise of culture and civilization?

Authoritative, provocative, and engaging, The Goodness Paradox offers a startlingly original theory of how, in the last 250 million years, humankind became an increasingly peaceful species in daily interactions even as its capacity for coolly planned and devastating violence remains undiminished. In tracing the evolutionary histories of reactive and proactive aggression, biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham forcefully and persuasively argues for the necessity of social tolerance and the control of savage divisiveness still haunting us today.

Échantillon de lecture
At the start of my career, I would have been surprised to learn that fifty years later I would be publishing a book about humans. In the 1970s I was privileged to be a graduate student working in Jane Goodall’s research project on chimpanzees in Tanzania. Spending whole days trailing individual apes in a natural habitat was a joy. All that I wanted to do was study animal behavior, and in 1987 I launched my own study of wild chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale National Park.
My bucolic research was disturbed, however, by discoveries that were too intriguing to ignore. Chimpanzees exhibited occasional episodes of exceptional violence. To shed an evolutionary light on this behavior, I compared chimpanzees with their sister species, bonobos. In the 1990s, research on bonobos was beginning in earnest. Chimpanzees and bonobos were proving to be an extraordinary duo, bonobos being much more peaceful than the relatively aggressive chimpanzees. In various collaborations that I describe in this book, but most particularly with Brian Hare and Victoria Wobber, my colleagues and I concluded that bonobos had diverged from a chimpanzee-like ancestor by a process that was strongly akin to domestication. We called the process “self-domestication.” And since human behavior has often been considered similar to the behavior of domesticated animals, the insights from bonobos suggested lessons for human evolution. The key fact about humans is that within our social communities we have a low propensity to fight: compared to most wild mammals we are very tolerant.
I was acutely aware, however, that, even if humans are in some ways notably unreactive, in other ways we are a very aggressive species. In 1996, in a book called Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, Dale Peterson and I described evolutionary explanations for similarities in aggression between chimpanzees and humans. The perva­siveness of violence in human society is inescapable, and the evolution­ary theories explaining it seem sound. So how could our domesticated qualities and our capacity for terrible violence be reconciled? For the next twenty years or so, I grappled with this question.
The resolution that I describe in the following pages is that our social tolerance and our aggressiveness are not the opposites that at first they appear to be, because the two behaviors involve different types of aggression. Our social tolerance comes from our having a relatively low tendency for reactive aggression, whereas the violence that makes humans deadly is proactive aggression. The story of how our species came to combine these different tendencies—low reactive aggression and high proactive aggression—has not been told before. It takes us into many corners of anthropology, biology, and psychology, and will undoubtedly continue to be developed. But I believe that it already offers a rich and fresh perspective on the evolution of our behavioral and moral tendencies, as well as on the fascinating question of how and why our species, Homo sapiens, came into existence at all.
Much of the material in this book is so new that it has been published only in scientific papers. My goal here is to make this richly technical literature and its far-reaching implications more accessible. I approach the topic through the eyes of a chimpanzee-watcher who has walked, watched, and listened in many habitats of East and Central Africa. Those of us privileged to have spent days alone with apes have felt touched by Pleistocene breezes. The romance of the past, the story of our ancestors, is a thrill, and innumerable mysteries remain for future generations seeking the origins of the modern mind in deep time. Enlarged understanding of our prehistory and of who we are will not be the only reward. Dreams inspired by the African air can yet generate a stronger and more secure view of ourselves, if we open our minds to worlds beyond those that we know well.

1. The Paradox 13
2. Two Types of Aggression 24
3. Human Domestication 47
4. Breeding Peace 65
5. Wild Domesticates 84
6. Belyaev’s Rule in Human Evolution 112
7. The Tyrant Problem 128
8. Capital Punishment 142
9. What Domestication Did 168
10. The Evolution of Right and Wrong 198
11. Overwhelming Power 222
12. War 248
13. Paradox Lost 273

Afterword 283
Acknowledgments 287
Notes 291
Bibliography 327
Index 365

Informations sur le produit

Titre: The Goodness Paradox
Sous-titre: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution
Code EAN: 9781101870907
ISBN: 978-1-101-87090-7
Format: Livre Relié
Editeur: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Biologie
nombre de pages: 400
Poids: 719g
Taille: H245mm x B172mm x T43mm
Année: 2019