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The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology [Kindle Edition]

Robert Wright
4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (45 Kundenrezensionen)

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An accessible introduction to the science of evolutionary psychology and how it explains many aspects of human nature. Unlike many books on the topic,which focus on abstractions like kin selection, this book focuses on Darwinian explanations of why we are the way we are--emotionally and morally. Wright deals particularly well with explaining the reasons for the stereotypical dynamics of the three big "S's:" sex, siblings, and society.

An accessible introduction to the science of evolutionary psychology and how it explains many aspects of human nature. Unlike many books on the topic,which focus on abstractions like kin selection, this book focuses on Darwinian explanations of why we are the way we are--emotionally and morally. Wright deals particularly well with explaining the reasons for the stereotypical dynamics of the three big "S's:" sex, siblings, and society.


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6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A classic worth a second look and an update 21. Mai 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Although first published in 1994, a long time ago in the rapidly developing science of evolutionary psychology, Robert Wright's seminal book remains an excellent introduction to the subject. The text crackles with an incisive wit that says, yes we're animals, but we can live with that. The discussion is thorough, ranging from a rather intense focus on Charles Darwin and his life through the sexist and morality debate occasioned by the publication of Edward O. Wilson's Sociobiology in 1975, to the rise of the use of primate comparisons fueled by Jane Goodall's instant classic, The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior (1986). Wright has some rather serious fun with human sexual behavior as seen from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, but he spends even more time worrying (to no good effect, in my opinion) about altruism and the shaky concept of kin selection. The title is partly ironic, since much of the material suggests that we are something less than "moral." The "Everyday Life" in the title is an allusion to Freud (The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, 1904) who makes a dual appearance in the text, first as a kind of not-yet-illuminated precursor to modern Darwinian thought, and second as the reigning champ of psychology that evolutionary psychology is out to dethrone. (See especially page 314.)
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." The discoveries of evolutionary psychology about the differing reproductive strategies of the sexes offend some people in the same way that Darwin's insight about our kinship with (other) animals offended the Victorians.
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6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Ein Kunde
This was the book that introduced me to Evolutionary Psychology several years ago. Since then, I have read The Anatomy of Love by Helen Fisher (which got the highest possible recommendation from the U of Chicago Feminist Majority Book Review - they called it "just plain wrong"), The Evolution of Desire by David Buss, Chimpanzee Politics, Peacemaking among Primates and Good Natured by Franz de Waal and The Adapted Mind, edited by Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides and James Tooby. Of these, I would rate The Adapted Mind as a better (but much more technical) introduction to Evolutionary Psychology, The Evolution of Desire as the most interesting, and Good Natured as the least depressing. Unlike Wright, the other authors have done a lot of original research and their books are cited in Wright's book. Furthermore, Wright's and Fisher's books seem the least straightforward and worst organized of the lot. One more point, if you're looking to uplift your spirits and improve your self-esteem, stay away from these books in general and Wright's book in particular. De Waal said that a fundamental thesis of Wright's book was that we are "all hypocrites in constant denial of our thoroughly selfish nature," and both Wright and de Waal are probably correct. Then again, this level of inwardly directed cynicism is something that we all could stand to develop.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Profoundly Unscientific, Poorly Reasoned 30. Dezember 1999
I am a student of evolutionary psychology and evolution, and I found this book a poor representation of both. This book fails to provide anything more than carefully selected biological jargon to support the author's desire for a world based on Victorian principles of sexual restraint and life-long monogamy. Wright is under several delusions. First, that pretty women have more sexual restraint. Gee, Wright, I guess that means that all those women in pornography and Playboy are grotesque! The reality is that attractive women have the opportunity to play at high-stakes in the world of sexual economics. Being in high demand, they have two choices -- they can withhold supply to the highest bidder (marriage) or, they can supply sex to many lesser bidders in the form of dates, serial monogamy, prostitution, or other sex work. Which a woman chooses is PURELY CULTURAL. Today in the first world, thanks to the economic power and reproductive choices women now enjoy, most women choose serial monogamy. In Victorian times they choose marriage. In societies in which marriage is drudgery and prostitution is legal, the most independent woman will choose prostitution. Where prostitutes are killed, of course, only the very desperate will risk it. To say that NATURE dictates monogamous life-long marriage as the MORALLY superior choice is pure and utter fantasy.
The other delusion Wright holds is that men loathe women they sleep with unless they are married, and that women are best off withholding sex lest their willingness destroy any budding love he may have had for her. This is also backward logic. It is indeed true that men will have sex with women they dislike, and almost immediately after the act they will be reminded of his dislike and flee.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Exciting field, disappointing book 24. März 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Evolutionary psychology is a fantastically exciting, expanding new area of interest, research and publication. Unfortunately, this book, while it does contain some interesting research (other people's), is often hijacked by a lack of focus (is it a serious science book or not?) and the author's annoying tendency to reinforce his own political agenda with somewhat shaky, self-serving logic. More than a few caveats are missing from his mis-application of some isolated ideas (which are not necessarily inherently flawed, just incomlete) to the whole of human society and gender relations. Fascinating for Pat Robertson clones who demand some rudimentary science, but the rest of us can do better. Try Matt Ridley, Jared Diamond, Sarah Blaffer-Hrdy, Natalie Angier, or even Stephen Pinker. This is not the only book out there on this subject, and it is certainly not the best one. While there are undeniably differences between the sexes, evolutionary theory does not automatically validate that old set of sexist premises. Most of human prehistory is still highly speculative at this point... it is important to keep in mind that in a science so young and speculative, a theorist's own sociocultural biases are bound to shape things. Don't trade in your schoolbooks for a copy of "The Rules" just yet. But don't give up on evolutionary theory either. Wright is just one of many- perverting science with his own odious set of prejudices and assumptions.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Powerful Theory Beautifully Explained
This compelling, amusing, and carefully argued book sheds light on a theory of human nature that has devastating explanatory power, but which has been too long suppressed by... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 31. Mai 2000 von J. Mcgregor
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Point Of Genetics
Many reviewers seem to miss the point. A book like this introduces us to the idea that genetics has an operational purpose, and each side of the species (male and female) may have... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 18. Mai 2000 von Peter L. Swinford
2.0 von 5 Sternen Old hat science and misogyny masquerading as cutting edge...
Don't waste your time or money. Though the science is adequate and the logic occasionally interesting to follow, the author cannot hide his thinly veiled sexist victorian... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 24. März 2000 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Careful readers benefit from Wright's insights
Wright's work, which continues Dawkins' and Darwin's, makes evolutionary psychology clear and accessible. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 14. Januar 2000 von D. Braverman
5.0 von 5 Sternen It will take some time ...
... but eventually the evidence that our brains are simply more complex versions of the brains of our animal cousins will be overwhelming. Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 17. Dezember 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Moral Animal
Fabulous book. Makes you think about the actions we perform everyday in our life and why. Helps to understand people and natural instincts. It is a fascinating book.
Am 5. Dezember 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen convincing and important
I reccommend this book to everyone with an open mind, and with a bit of curiosity about the human animal and the way it behaves. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 5. Dezember 1999 von Mike Ferrell
4.0 von 5 Sternen One of the best introductions to Evolutionary Psychology
Though a few other books related to Evolutionary Psychology have been written since this, it is still one of the best introductions to the field. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 1. Dezember 1999 von Alan Koslowski
1.0 von 5 Sternen Men dominate women. Evolutionary psych proves it.
All I want to say is summed up in this paragraph from The Moral Animal. It is deeply disturbing to me that this type of mysogeny is being published and lauded (by male reviewers,... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 22. November 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Simply fantastic - best book I've read in years
As annoying as it is, those of us who spent years getting degrees in philosophy would have been better off studying biology, because that's where elegant, integrating answers to... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 19. November 1999 veröffentlicht
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