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Moral origins: the evolution of virtue, altruism, and shame

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Pub. Date:
2012.
Language:
English
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From the age of Darwin to the present day, biologists have been grappling with the origins of our moral sense. Why, if the human instinct to survive and reproduce is “selfish,” do people engage in self-sacrifice, and even develop ideas like virtue and shame to justify that altruism? Many theories have been put forth, some emphasizing the role of nepotism, others emphasizing the advantages of reciprocation or group selection effects. But evolutionary anthropologist Christopher Boehm finds existing explanations lacking, and in Moral Origins, he offers an elegant new theory.

Tracing the development of altruism and group social control over 6 million years, Boehm argues that our moral sense is a sophisticated defense mechanism that enables individuals to survive and thrive in groups. One of the biggest risks of group living is the possibility of being punished for our misdeeds by those around us. Bullies, thieves, free-riders, and especially psychopaths—those who make it difficult for others to go about their lives—are the most likely to suffer this fate. Getting by requires getting along, and this social type of selection, Boehm shows, singles out altruists for survival. This selection pressure has been unique in shaping human nature, and it bred the first stirrings of conscience in the human species. Ultimately, it led to the fully developed sense of virtue and shame that we know today.

A groundbreaking exploration of the evolution of human generosity and cooperation, Moral Origins offers profound insight into humanity’s moral past—and how it might shape our moral future.

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ISBN:
9780465020485
9780465029198
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID472218e1-5ea8-8045-0eb4-768c8d40cd54
Grouping Titlemoral origins the evolution of virtue altruism and shame
Grouping Authorchristopher boehm
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2020-09-19 02:32:16AM
Last Indexed2020-09-19 02:57:49AM
Novelist Primary ISBNnone

Solr Details

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authorBoehm, Christopher.
author_displayBoehm, Christopher
available_at_catalogFranklin
detailed_location_catalogFranklin
display_description

From the age of Darwin to the present day, biologists have been grappling with the origins of our moral sense. Why, if the human instinct to survive and reproduce is “selfish,” do people engage in self-sacrifice, and even develop ideas like virtue and shame to justify that altruism? Many theories have been put forth, some emphasizing the role of nepotism, others emphasizing the advantages of reciprocation or group selection effects. But evolutionary anthropologist Christopher Boehm finds existing explanations lacking, and in Moral Origins, he offers an elegant new theory.

Tracing the development of altruism and group social control over 6 million years, Boehm argues that our moral sense is a sophisticated defense mechanism that enables individuals to survive and thrive in groups. One of the biggest risks of group living is the possibility of being punished for our misdeeds by those around us. Bullies, thieves, free-riders, and especially psychopaths—those who make it difficult for others to go about their lives—are the most likely to suffer this fate. Getting by requires getting along, and this social type of selection, Boehm shows, singles out altruists for survival. This selection pressure has been unique in shaping human nature, and it bred the first stirrings of conscience in the human species. Ultimately, it led to the fully developed sense of virtue and shame that we know today.

A groundbreaking exploration of the evolution of human generosity and cooperation, Moral Origins offers profound insight into humanity’s moral past—and how it might shape our moral future.

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overdrive:c5b1fd04-cbbe-4541-ba0a-eee49e2460aceBookeBookEnglishBasic Books2012
ils:.b21075670BookBooksEnglishBasic Books, 2012.vii, 418 p. ; 25 cm.
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Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
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subject_facetAltruism
Ethics, Evolutionary
Shame
Virtue
title_displayMoral origins : the evolution of virtue, altruism, and shame
title_fullMoral Origins The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame
Moral origins : the evolution of virtue, altruism, and shame / Christopher Boehm
title_shortMoral origins
title_subthe evolution of virtue, altruism, and shame
topic_facetAltruism
Ethics, Evolutionary
Nonfiction
Science
Shame
Virtue