Why We Cooperate (Boston Review Books) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$12.65
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $4.30 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 20 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Why We Cooperate (Boston ... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Why We Cooperate (Boston Review Books) Hardcover – August 28, 2009


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$12.65
$8.55 $4.41

Frequently Bought Together

Why We Cooperate (Boston Review Books) + Origins of Human Communication (Jean Nicod Lectures)
Price for both: $29.02

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Boston Review Books
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; First Edition, 1st Printing edition (August 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262013592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262013598
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tomasello, codirector of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, shares his theories on how human cooperation evolved and suggests it is a defining characteristic of our species. To test the innate quality of cooperation in human interactions, Tomasello studies the cooperative behavior of preverbal children, generally 12 months to 24 months in age, and compares their behavior to that of apes in similarly structured experiments. The results are remarkable, demonstrating that even preverbal children have a natural predilection to cooperate and help others. Chimpanzees, on the other hand, especially where food is concerned, tend to act in ways that increase their own individual gain. Tomasello's writing is followed by contributions from four other leading scientists—John B. Silk, Carol Dweck, Brian Skyrns and Elizabeth Spelke—whose comments are illuminating, and while they do not fully agree with Tomasello, they all agree that [h]is cutting edge theory and research has altered the face of developmental psychology by merging cognitive and social development, historically quite separate fields. The book (which originated as a lecture series at Stanford) is generally dryly scientific, but the fascinating approach to the question of what makes us human renders this a singularly worthwhile read. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"The work of Tomasello and his colleagues provides the best and most exciting point of entry into a literature that will certainly shape philosophical debates for the years to come." -- Mattia Gallotti, Cambridge University Press



"... the fascinating approach to the question of what makes us human renders this a singularly worthwhile read." -- Publishers Weekly


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Tomasello is a cognitive and developmental psychologist who has worked extensively with chimpanzees, as well as human infants and children. A central problem on which he has worked for a number of years is the exact nature of the difference between apes and humans in the structure of cognition. For many years the general opinion among evolutionary psychologists was that the observed differences are quantitative but not qualitative. That is, chimpanzees think pretty much the same way we do, but just at a lower level of cognitive capacity. In recent years, many cognitive psychologists have rejected this notion in favor of the idea that there are qualitative epistemological capacities possessed by humans that are missing in chimpanzees and other non-human primates. Perhaps the most well known is the notion that human have a "theory of mind" (Premack & Woodruff, 1978) in the sense that they attribute mental states to conspecifics of the same sort that they experience (Cheney & Seyfarth 1990, 1992).

Tomasello has been a major contributor to this line of research. His study of how chimpanzees and human teach and learn led him to a model in which, for humans, there is a "shared intentionality" consisting of a tripartite cognition of the form teacher/-learner/object of knowledge, whereas for chimpanzees, there are only a set of dualities, skilled individual-object, unskilled individual-object, skilled individual-unskilled individual. Naturally, without the tripartite episteme, true leaning by imitation cannot occur, and indeed, that is a major conclusion in the literature. See, for instance, Michael Tomasello, Susan Savage-Rumbaugh, and A. C. Kruger (1993) Imitative learning of actions on objects by children, chimpanzees, and enculturated chimpanzees. Child Development 64:1688-1705.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Tomasello's little book, Why We Cooperate is an interesting interdisciplinary approach towards understanding how humans come to cooperate in societies. I highly suggest accompanying this book with Philosopher John Searle's newest book, Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization. Searle and Tomasello frequently cite each other's work; combining the two men's work together really creates a more powerful and complete argument.

As to the book, the first half is a short essay by Tomasello while the second half consists of critiques by Joan B. Silk (How Humans Evolved (Fifth Edition)), Carol S. Dweck (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success), Brian Skyrms (Evolution of the Social Contract) and Elizabeth S. Spelke. I thought all the contributions were good, but I was most drawn to Tomasello's compelling observation that, "The remarkable human capacity for cooperation therefore seems to have evolved mainly for interactions within the local group. Such group-mindedness in cooperation is, perhaps ironically, a major cause of strife and suffering in the world today. The solution - more easily described than attained - is to find new ways to define the group.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joel on December 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A concise, thoughtful book that summarizes Tomasello's research on human cooperation. The book follows Tomasello's beliefs on both what is unique about human cooperation and also how it evolved. Four contributors then respond both positively and negatively to the work.

In all, a delightful read. Definitely recommended for someone with an interest in evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, evolutionary anthropology, or related fields. Not particularly technical, so accessible to a lay reader, but some knowledge in the field would be helpful in getting more out of it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Sacha on September 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been study Tomasello for more than 13 years and now have my own students read his work. A great text that succinctly synthesizes the work in this area. Plus, I find him to be an excellent, down to earth writer. Rare in academia.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?