The Moral Animal: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology Hardcover – 1 Sep 1994
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THE MORAL ANIMAL overturns old ways of thinking. (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)
This is not a book of breathless reportage from some frontier of science; it is an eye-opening, thought-provoking, spine-tingling, mind-boggling, wish-I-had-thought-of-that sort of science book. (TLS)
A damn good book. (THE TIMES)
Anyone who finds the human race a bit of a puzzle will find much stimulation in this book. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
* A lucid and provocative study of the ground-breaking new science of evolutionary psychology. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Robert Wright ranges all over. Sex, marriage, monogomy, families, kin bonding and support, social hierarchy and status, reciprocal altruism, and modern morality. If you are interested in the nature of human behaviour and morality, and what modern genetics has to say about it, this book will tell you.
The author doesn't preach. He's very aware that this is a young science and much of what he discusses is speculation. This makes the book stronger: much of it is questions to ponder, not 'truths' to be believed. Open minded rather than didactic.
He also thoroughly debunks many of the myths surrounding evolutionary psychology. As a discipline, it has fallen victim to many mis-respresentations. It's a shame that so much of the discussion around it in the media is so off-base and mis-informed. This book is an excellent way to sort the reality from the propaganda.
Very highly recommended.
It has let me glimpse how and why a few basic natural phenomena such as genetic mutation, sexual recombination, reproductive economics, game theory, memory, non-zero-sum exchanges, reciprocal altruism (an unfortunate misnomer for reciprocal selfishness), sexual selection and parental investment have combined together to produce morals, cultural values and even emotions that are just expedients to the success of particular genes.
Darwin himself expressed the stark reality best by suggesting that if our ecological system had happened to develop more like that of bees, human morals would have us convinced that the pre-natal murder of her fertile sisters by the first fertile daughter and the murder of all their brothers by her sterile sisters is how things should be. They would be seen as acts of fundamental natural justice. As ‘humane'.
I found that pretty shocking, but its probably right.
The book shows how our emotions come to be as they are; love jealousy, guilt, even fashion. The reason men and women think differently. The origins and the power of the Madonna/Whore complex (most females' genes gain from only exchanging sex for committed male parental investment - the Madonna - but some females' genes succeed through the use of other strategies).Read more ›
I have come to tolerate badly edited free books from Amazon but having paid good money I feel the lack of even s simple spell check makes this a serious condemnation of Amazon abusing its partial monopoly of e-books. I give it 3 stars as an average of 4 stars for content and zero for bad presentation and editing
We all have intuitive ideas about why we are the way we are: nationality, colour, parental influence, peer pressure, culture, and so on, all partly determine our identity. One fact beyond intuition, however, is the rather longer timescale over which evolution has shaped both our bodies and our brains. Just as the circumstances of a childhood can affect a whole life, so too does the ancestral environment we grew up in as a species continue to make itself felt. That it does so in ways which are largely hidden from conscious view only serves to point up the importance of evolutionary psychology. We should not make the mistake of comparing the sparsely populated open savannah with the bustling cities many of us now live in and concluding that our evolutionary history has no relevance. We are remarkably flexible in many ways, but we are most certainly not blank slates. Human nature is a collaborative project in which we are often the junior partners who cannot edit the words of long-dead senior scriptwriters.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Impossible to put down. Very well research and astonishingly impartial, it never takes one side without strong evidence backing it up. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Luc Meritan
This is a good explanation about people and why we are what we are I would recommend it to thinkers ,those who are interested in why people do the things they do and say the things... Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2013 by Terry
Every so often I'd have to put the book down midway through a paragraph or chapter, just to mull over what I'd just read as it has the effect to change your understanding of... Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2013 by Duncan
If you want the basics of evolutionary psychology, then this book will give it to you, but in a long-winded, rather boring way. Read morePublished on 7 May 2013 by A. J. McGowan
If we accept the theory of evolution as the explanation of how we came to be who we are, what does that tell us about our psychology and our morals? Read morePublished on 15 April 2013 by Rod Matthews
An evolutionary approach to human nature. AT first I thought he was taking a rather limited and deterministic approach to the subject, with old conservative, pre-feminist theory... Read morePublished on 11 Aug. 2012 by Hilary
The author of this book is a self-professed Utilitarian, but I had to wade through pages of biased tripe until finding that out on page 341. Read morePublished on 11 May 2012 by Tommy Tank
This book is great, really thought provoking and well written. I can see why the detail of Darwins life could be seen by some as distracting and irrelevant but i thought it was a... Read morePublished on 16 Feb. 2012 by akedup4bbq
This is certainly an interesting book: it gets the reader to re-think his/her place in society and wonder about his/her life choices. Read morePublished on 14 Jun. 2011 by rob crawford