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The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology Paperback – August 29, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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What's exciting about evolutionary psychology is that for the first time psychology has a firm scientific foundation upon which to build. But it's a tough subject for some people, I think, mainly because they confuse "is" with "ought.Read more ›
Many have criticized this work as a justifying gender inequality, usually as related to male oppression and abuse of females. Wright openly states that he is attempting to explain human behavior from a Darwinian perspective. He argues that this perspective sheds much light on the subject, though he admits is isn't perfect or all inclusive. Wright closes with several behaviors that Evolutionary Psychology can not adequetly explain (most glaringly, homosexuality).
Though many women have been outraged by this work, this book has much to offer for both females and males who read it from a non-ideological perspective. I've read several interviews with Wright and other Evolutionary Psychologists who have stated that by understanding why we (all people) are naturally inclined to behave in certain ways are we better able to control behavioral tendencies that may be detrimental to ourselves and others. When read from this perspective, this book can only help men and women better undertand each other and improve relations between the sexes.
The quote is: "...humans are a species splendid in their array of moral equipment, tragic in their propensity to misuse it, and pathetic in their constitutional ignorance of the misuse."
Science journalist Robert Wright compiled these findings of evolutionary psychology (EP) for the lay reader in 1994 and "Moral Animal" is still a timely treatise. Matt Ridley introduced his excellent "Red Queen" about the same topic around the same year. Wright writes in an engaging manner, intertwining his pearls with biographical sketches of Charles Darwin. Disclaimer: For those who are offended by the very suggestion that our behavior evolved from apes - and that our behavior is an elaborate, sophisticated manifestation of language and socialization which evolved by natural selection along with a huge brain - you won't like this book.
I realize the following assessment of mine is anecdotal, but here goes: I have seen step-children treated differently than genetic children. I have seen how men and women preen, peacock-like, showing off their best (?) sides during courtships and how they pair off in society according to commonly accepted determinants of status, differing depending on sex. I have read about and subsequently observed how people (unconsciously?) score each other during their social interactions, rating relationship values for the future.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Taking a class with the author as we speak. Never read Darwin but this book gives a whole lot of insight & some fundamental basics on evolutionary psychology. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
highly enlightening, well supported conclusions, and just a darn good readPublished 5 days ago by Benjamin
The whole book is divided into 4 parts, with the first three doing a fantastic job of describing the science part and the finale being utterly boring. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sheng
This book will open your eyes to how humans really work and what makes them tick. Morality is a result of evolution. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Javier Bonilla Castañeda
So much has been said here that I will keep my review short. I am one who has spent perhaps twenty years studying religion, mysticism, philosophy, and metaphysics, and have only... Read morePublished 1 month ago by stevenhorr
At first I had hopes that it would redefine "survival of the fittest" to include cooperative society as a successful survival mode, but it just degenerated into the same... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Andrea L. Leonardi
This is a pretty old book considering the content, but it's still the best book out there on evolutionary psychology, which is a field that everyone should have some basic exposure... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Alex Bush
My education has been steeped in what many writers refer to as the "Standard Social Scientific Model" - one of the assumptions of the SSSM is that environmental and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by The Hibernian Autodidact