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Academic & Professional Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution

War, Peace, and Human Nature The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views

By: Douglas P Fry(Editor), Frans de Waal(Foreword By)
624 pages, 19 b/w photos, 8 b/w illustrations
War, Peace, and Human Nature
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  • War, Peace, and Human Nature ISBN: 9780199858996 Hardback Apr 2013 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
Price: £107.50
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Have humans always waged war? Is warring an ancient evolutionary adaptation or a relatively recent behavior – and what does that tell us about human nature? In War, Peace, and Human Nature, editor Douglas P. Fry brings together leading experts in evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, and primatology to answer fundamental questions about peace, conflict, and human nature in an evolutionary context.

The essays in War, Peace, and Human Nature demonstrate that humans clearly have the capacity to make war, but since war is absent in some cultures, it cannot be viewed as a human universal. And the archaeological record reveals the recent emergence of war. It does not typify the ancestral type of human society, the nomadic forager band, and contrary to widespread assumptions, there is little support for the idea that war is ancient or an evolved adaptation.

War, Peace, and Human Nature shows that views of human nature as inherently warlike stem not from the facts but from cultural views embedded in Western ways of thinking. Drawing upon evolutionary and ecological models; the archaeological record of the origins of war; nomadic forager societies past and present; the value and limitations of primate analogies; and the evolution of agonism and restraint; the essays in this interdisciplinary volume refute many popular generalizations and effectively bring scientific objectivity to the culturally and historically controversial subjects of war, peace, and human nature.


Frans B. M. de Waal
List of Contributors

1 War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Challenge of Scientific Objectivity
Douglas P. Fry

Section I: Ecological and Evolutionary Models
2 Evolution and Peace: A Janus Connection
David P. Barash
3 Conflict and Restraint in Animal Species: Implications for War and Peace
Hanna Kokko
4 An Ethological Perspective on War and Peace
Peter Verbeek
5 Cooperation, Conflict, and Niche Construction in the genus Homo
Agustín Fuentes

Section II: Lessons from Prehistory: War and Peace in the Past
6 Why the Legend of the Killer Ape Never Dies: The Enduring Power of Cultural
Beliefs to Distort Our View of Human Nature
Robert W. Sussman
7 Pinker's List: Exaggerating Prehistoric War Mortality
R. Brian Ferguson
8 Trends in Cooperation and Conflict in Native Eastern North America
David H. Dye
9 From the Peaceful to the Warlike: Ethnographic and Archaeological Insights into
Hunter-Gatherer Warfare and Homicide
Robert Kelly
10 The Prehistory of Warfare: Misled by Ethnography
Jonathan Haas & Matthew Piscitelli
11 The Prehistory of War and Peace in Europe and the Near East
R. Brian Ferguson

Section III: Nomadic Foragers: Insights about Human Nature
12 Peaceful Foragers: The Significance of the Batek and Moriori for the Question of
Innate Human Violence
Kirk Endicott
13 Social Control and Conflict Management among Australian Aboriginal Desert
People Before and After the Advent of Alcohol
Robert Tonkinson
14 Aggression and Conflict Resolution among the Nomadic Hadza of Tanzania as
Compared with their Pastoralist Neighbors
Marina L. Butovskaya
15 South Indian Foragers' Conflict Management in Comparative Perspective
Peter M. Gardner
16 The Biocultural Evolution of Conflict Resolution between Groups
Christopher Boehm
17 The 99%-Development and Socialization within an Evolutionary Context:
Growing Up to Become a "Good and Useful Human Being"
Darcia Narvaez

Section IV: The Primatological Context of Human Nature
18 Chimpanzees, Warfare and the Invention of Peace
Michael L. Wilson
19 Evolution of Primate Peace
Frances J. White, Michel T. Waller, & Klaree J. Boose
20 Conflicts in Cooperative Social Interactions in Non-Human Primates
Sarah F. Brosnan
21 Rousseau with a Tail: Maintaining a Tradition of Peace among Baboons
Robert M. Sapolsky
22 Conflict Resolution in Non-Human Primates and Human Children
Maaike Kempes, E. H. M. Sterck, & B. Orobio de Castro

Section V: Taking Restraint against Killing Seriously
23 The Evolution of Agonism: The Triumph of Restraint in Nonhuman and Human Primates
Douglas P. Fry & Anna Szala
24 Social Signaling, Conflict Management, and the Construction of Peace
Paul ("Jim") Roscoe
25 The Challenge of Getting Men to Kill: A View from Military Science
Richard J. Hughbank & Dave Grossman
26 Man the Singer: Song Duels as an Aggression Restraint Mechanism for
Nonkilling Conflict Management
Joám Evans Pim

Section VI: Conclusions
27 Cooperation for Survival: Creating a Global Peace System
Douglas P. Fry


Customer Reviews


Douglas P. Fry, Ph.D., is Director of Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research at Abo Akademi University in Vasa, Finland and an adjunct research scientist in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Fry is author of Beyond War (2007, Oxford) and The Human Potential for Peace (2006, Oxford).

By: Douglas P Fry(Editor), Frans de Waal(Foreword By)
624 pages, 19 b/w photos, 8 b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"This encyclopedic collection of excellent, wide-ranging, and myth-busting essays by renowned scholars should be required reading for anyone interested in how we came to be who we are and the future of humankind. A much-needed paradigm shift is in the making because of the increased recognition that we are not inherently destructive and competitive beings. This remarkable book will facilitate this transition as we expand our compassion footprint and give peace the chance it deserves. Cooperation, empathy, and peace will prevail if we allow them to."

– Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals, and The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons For Expanding Our Compassion Footprint

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