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Origins of Virtue (Penguin Press Science) (edition 1997)
by Matt Ridley
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140264450, Paperback)Human life, scientific journalist Matt Ridley suggests, is a complex balancing act: we behave with self-interest foremost in mind, but also in ways that do not harm, and sometimes even benefit, others. This behavior, in a strange way, makes us good. It also makes us unique in the animal world, where self-interest is far more pronounced. "The essential virtuousness of human beings is proved not by parallels in the animal kingdom, but by the very lack of convincing animal parallels," Ridley writes. How we got to be so virtuous over millions of years of evolution is the theme of this entertaining book of popular science, which will be of interest to any student of human nature.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 03 Jan 2013 22:40:15 -0500)
"If evolution by natural selection relentlessly favors self-interest, why do human beings live in complex societies and show so much cooperative spirit? In The Origins of Virtue, Matt Ridley, a zoologist and former American editor of the Economist, shows that recent research in a number of fields has suggested a resolution of the apparent contradiction between self-interest and mutual aid. Brilliantly orchestrating the new findings of geneticists, psychologists, and anthropologists, The Origins of Virtue re-examines the everyday assumptions upon which we base our actions towards others, whether we are nurturing parents, siblings, or trade partners." "The Origins of Virtue searches for the roots of that capacity for trust, contrasts it with the social instincts of ants, baboons, and naked mole rats, and draws provocative conclusions for our understanding of politics. Ridley not only traces the evolution of society but shows us how breakthroughs in computer programming, microbiology, and economics have all played their role in providing us with a unique perspective on how and why we relate to each other."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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