Want to know what books Paul Seabright recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Paul Seabright's favorite book recommendations of all time.
"Mothers and Others" finds the key in the primatologically unique length of human childhood. If the young were to survive in a world of scarce food, they needed to be... more
"Mothers and Others" finds the key in the primatologically unique length of human childhood. If the young were to survive in a world of scarce food, they needed to be cared for, not only by their mothers but also by siblings, aunts, fathers, friends--and, with any luck, grandmothers. Out of this complicated and contingent form of childrearing, Sarah Hrdy argues, came the human capacity for understanding others. Mothers and others teach us who will care, and who will not.
From its opening vision of "apes on a plane"; to descriptions of baby care among marmosets, chimpanzees, wolves, and lions; to explanations about why men in hunter-gatherer societies hunt together, "Mothers and Others" is compellingly readable. But it is also an intricately knit argument that ever since the Pleistocene, it has taken a village to raise children--and how that gave our ancient ancestors the first push on the path toward becoming emotionally modern human beings. less
In this meticulously researched and absorbing account, we learn in detail how different types of simians cope with aggression, and how they make peace after fights.... more
In this meticulously researched and absorbing account, we learn in detail how different types of simians cope with aggression, and how they make peace after fights. Chimpanzees, for instance, reconcile with a hug and a kiss, whereas rhesus monkeys groom the fur of former adversaries. By objectively examining the dynamics of primate social interactions, de Waal makes a convincing case that confrontation should not be viewed as a barrier to sociality but rather as an unavoidable element upon which social relationships can be built and strengthened through reconciliation.
The author examines five different species--chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, stump-tailed monkeys, bonobos, and humans--and relates anecdotes, culled from exhaustive observations, that convey the intricacies and refinements of simian behavior. Each species utilizes its own unique peacemaking strategies. The bonobo, for example, is little known to science, and even less to the general public, but this rare ape maintains peace by means of sexual behavior divorced from reproductive functions; sex occurs in all possible combinations and positions whenever social tensions need to be resolved. "Make love, not war" could be the bonobo slogan.
De Waal's demonstration of reconciliation in both monkeys and apes strongly supports his thesis that forgiveness and peacemaking are widespread among nonhuman primates--an aspect of primate societies that should stimulate much needed work on human conflict resolution. less
Paul SeabrightDe Waal came to fame in an earlier book Chimpanzee Politics, which reminded us about something very important in many primate societies. This is that although such societies are intensely competitive, they are as much about competition between coalitions and groups as they are about competition between individuals. In a group-living primate society any individual is engaged in a complicated... (Source)
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... more
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. less
Paul SeabrightYes, indeed it is. Boehm starts from the paradox that we share a common ancestry with apes and monkeys who live in very hierarchical societies, and that today we live in pretty hierarchical societies, but that all the evidence suggests that in between the two we went through a period of existence as hunters and gatherers in societies which were remarkably egalitarian, with very little... (Source)
In A Cooperative Species, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis--pioneers in the new experimental and evolutionary science of human behavior--show that the central issue is not why selfish people act generously, but instead how genetic and cultural... more
In A Cooperative Species, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis--pioneers in the new experimental and evolutionary science of human behavior--show that the central issue is not why selfish people act generously, but instead how genetic and cultural evolution has produced a species in which substantial numbers make sacrifices to uphold ethical norms and to help even total strangers.
The authors describe how, for thousands of generations, cooperation with fellow group members has been essential to survival. Groups that created institutions to protect the civic-minded from exploitation by the selfish flourished and prevailed in conflicts with less cooperative groups. Key to this process was the evolution of social emotions such as shame and guilt, and our capacity to internalize social norms so that acting ethically became a personal goal rather than simply a prudent way to avoid punishment.
Using experimental, archaeological, genetic, and ethnographic data to calibrate models of the coevolution of genes and culture as well as prehistoric warfare and other forms of group competition, A Cooperative Species provides a compelling and novel account of how humans came to be moral and cooperative. less
Paul SeabrightFor a long time the puzzle of cooperation in modern societies was posed as: How can selfish individuals come to cooperate? This book – which again is clearly in the tradition of Darwin’s The Descent of Man – says that this question is mis-posed because the evidence is overwhelming that human beings are not entirely selfish. They are motivated by lots of other things like sympathy, altruism and... (Source)
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