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Bending the Rules: Morality in the Modern World - From Relationships to Politics and War
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About the Author
Robert A. Hinde is Emeritus Professor of Ethology at the University of Cambridge, and former Master of St. John's College, Cambridge. An acclaimed scientist and peace advocate, he is Fellow of the Royal Society, Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, Honorary Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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Top Customer Reviews
Hinde's first principle is that human morality is the product of evolutionary biology rather than intuition or philosophical truth. "The role of morality,'' says Hinde, "is to maintain a balance between two categories of human behaviour, prosociality... and selfish assertiveness." (2) Societies that developed cultural rules favoring prosociality simply outcompeted those in which individuals were allowed to operate in their natural condition of selfish assertiveness. "Selfish assertiveness," he asserts, "can be accounted for as the direct result of natural selection...Prosociality directed preferentially to kin is largely a result of natural selection...Prosociality to non-kin...is largely the result of cultural selection between competing groups" (50)
Hinde does not get into the details of gene-culture coevolution, but his account of human morality depends implicitly on this version of Darwinian theory. Because societies promoting prosocial moral rules outcompete societies promoting selfish assertiveness, prosocial cultures became ubiquitous in human society, so that individuals who could not adjust to prosocial behavior suffered a fitness disadvantage compare to those predisposed to moral behavior.Read more ›