The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule

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Macmillan, Jan 2, 2005 - Psychology - 368 pages
43 Reviews

From bestselling author Michael Shermer, an investigation of the evolution of morality that is "a paragon of popularized science and philosophy" The Sun (Baltimore)

A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an "evolutionary ethics," science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the very nature of humanity.

In The Science of Good and Evil, science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates; how and why morality motivates the human animal; and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence.

Along the way he explains the implications of scientific findings for fate and free will, the existence of pure good and pure evil, and the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamamö, infamously known as the "fierce people" of the tropical rain forest, to the Stanford studies on jailers' behavior in prisons. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.

 

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Review: The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule

User Review  - Yasser Mohammad - Goodreads

The book attempts to offer a middle way between absolutism and relativism in morality by arguing that morality is a universal human trait that evolved under the pressures for within group cooperation ... Read full review

Review: The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule

User Review  - SE Todd - Goodreads

Highly recommended to understanding benevolence and cruelty in humans. Read full review

All 14 reviews »

Contents

Title Page
THE ORIGINS OF MORALITY
EVOLUTIONARY ORIGINS
Also by Michael Shermer
MORAL
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Michael Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Science of Good and Evil, The Mind Of The Market, Why Darwin Matters, Science Friction, How We Believe and other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He lives in Southern California.

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