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Title:The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates
Format Type:Ebook
Author:
Publisher:W. W. Norton Company
ISBN:0393073777
ISBN 13:
Number of Pages:289
Category:Science, Non fiction, Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, Evolution, Animals

The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates by Frans de Waal

PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that human morality is not imposed from above but instead comes from within Moral behavior does not begin and end with religion but is in fact a product of evolution .

For many years de Waal has observed chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbors and bonobos share their food Now he delivers fascinating fresh evidence for the seeds of ethical behavior in primate societies that further cements the case for the biological origins of human fairness Interweaving vivid tales from the animal kingdom with thoughtful philosophical analysis de Waal seeks a bottom up explanation of morality that emphasizes our connection with animals In doing so de Waal explores for the first time the implications of his work for our understanding of modern religion Whatever the role of religious moral imperatives he sees it as a Johnny come lately role that emerged only as an addition to our natural instincts for cooperation and empathy .

But unlike the dogmatic neo atheist of his book s title de Waal does not scorn religion per se Instead he draws on the long tradition of humanism exemplified by the painter Hieronymus Bosch and asks reflective readers to consider these issues from a positive perspective What role if any does religion play for a well functioning society today And where can believers and nonbelievers alike find the inspiration to lead a good life .

Rich with cultural references and anecdotes of primate behavior em The Bonobo and the Atheist em engagingly builds a unique argument grounded in evolutionary biology and moral philosophy Ever a pioneering thinker de Waal delivers a heartening and inclusive new perspective on human nature and our struggle to find purpose in our lives

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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society, Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are, The Ape and the Sushi Master: Reflections of a Primatologist, Peacemaking Among Primates, Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes, The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates, Good Natured - The Origins of Right & Wrong in Humans & Other Animals (Paper), Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved
Does biology condemn the human species to violence and war Previous studies of animal behavior incline us to answer yes but the message of this book is considerably more optimistic Without denying our heritage of aggressive behavior Frans de Waal describes powerful checks and balances in the makeup of our closest animal relatives and in so doing he shows that to humans making peace is as natural as making war br br In this meticulously researched and absorbing account we learn in detail how different types of simians cope with aggression and how they make peace after fights Chimpanzees for instance reconcile with a hug and a kiss whereas rhesus monkeys groom the fur of former adversaries By objectively examining the dynamics of primate social interactions de Waal makes a convincing case that confrontation should not be viewed as a barrier to sociality but rather as an unavoidable element upon which social relationships can be built and strengthened through reconciliation br br The author examines five different species chimpanzees rhesus monkeys stump tailed monkeys bonobos and humans and relates anecdotes culled from exhaustive observations that convey the intricacies and refinements of simian behavior Each species utilizes its own unique peacemaking strategies The bonobo for example is little known to science and even less to the general public but this rare ape maintains peace by means of sexual behavior divorced from reproductive functions sex occurs in all possible combinations and positions whenever social tensions need to be resolved Make love not war could be the bonobo slogan br br De Waal s demonstration of reconciliation in both monkeys and apes strongly supports his thesis that forgiveness and peacemaking are widespread among nonhuman primates an aspect of primate societies that should stimulate much needed work on human conflict resolution, strong A em New York Times em Bestseller Astonishing has the makings of a classic and one fantastic read em People em strong br br What separates your mind from an animal s Maybe you think it s your ability to design tools your sense of self or your grasp of past and future all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet s preeminent species But in recent decades these claims have eroded or even been disproven outright by a revolution in the study of animal cognition Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools elephants that classify humans by age gender and language or Ayumu the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame Based on research involving crows dolphins parrots sheep wasps bats whales and of course chimpanzees and bonobos Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are and how we ve underestimated their abilities for too long br br People often assume a cognitive ladder from lower to higher forms with our own intelligence at the top But what if it is more like a bush with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens em our em minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed De Waal s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal and human intelligence, p It s the animal in us we often hear when we ve been bad But why not when we re good i Primates and Philosophers i tackles this question by exploring the biological foundations of one of humanity s most valued traits morality p p In this provocative book primatologist Frans de Waal argues that modern day evolutionary biology takes far too dim a view of the natural world emphasizing our selfish genes Science has thus exacerbated our reciprocal habits of blaming nature when we act badly and labeling the good things we do as humane Seeking the origin of human morality not in evolution but in human culture science insists that we are moral by choice not by nature p p Citing remarkable evidence based on his extensive research of primate behavior de Waal attacks Veneer Theory which posits morality as a thin overlay on an otherwise nasty nature He explains how we evolved from a long line of animals that care for the weak and build cooperation with reciprocal transactions Drawing on both Darwin and recent scientific advances de Waal demonstrates a strong continuity between human and animal behavior In the process he also probes issues such as anthropomorphism and human responsibilities toward animals p p Based on the Tanner Lectures de Waal delivered at Princeton University s Center for Human Values in i Primates and Philosophers i includes responses by the philosophers Peter Singer Christine M Korsgaard and Philip Kitcher and the science writer Robert Wright They press de Waal to clarify the differences between humans and other animals yielding a lively debate that will fascinate all those who wonder about the origins and reach of human goodness br br The University Center for Human Values Series p, An important and timely message about the biological roots of human kindness br Desmond Morris author of i The Naked Ape i br br Are we our brothers keepers Do we have an instinct for compassion Or are we as is often assumed only on earth to serve our own survival and interests In this thought provoking book the acclaimed author of i Our Inner Ape i examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals including humans br br By studying social behaviors in animals such as bonding the herd instinct the forming of trusting alliances expressions of consolation and conflict resolution Frans de Waal demonstrates that animals and humans are preprogrammed to reach out He has found that chimpanzees care for mates that are wounded by leopards elephants offer reassuring rumbles to youngsters in distress and dolphins support sick companions near the water s surface to prevent them from drowning From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces bodies and voices we ve been designed to feel for one another br br De Waal s theory runs counter to the assumption that humans are inherently selfish which can be seen in the fields of politics law and finance and which seems to be evidenced by the current greed driven stock market collapse But he cites the public s outrage at the U S government s lack of empathy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a significant shift in perspective one that helped Barack Obama become elected and ushered in what may well become an Age of Empathy Through a better understanding of empathy s survival value in evolution de Waal suggests we can work together toward a more just society based on a more generous and accurate view of human nature br br Written in layman s prose with a wealth of anecdotes wry humor and incisive intelligence i The Age of Empathy i is essential reading for our embattled times