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The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology (Anglais) Broché – 29 août 1995

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Are men literally born to cheat? Does monogamy actually serve women's interests? These are among the questions that have made The Moral Animal one of the most provocative science books in recent years. Wright unveils the genetic strategies behind everything from our sexual preferences to our office politics--as well as their implications for our moral codes and public policies. Illustrations.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5 231 commentaires
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the most important books I've ever read. 4 septembre 2015
Par The Hibernian Autodidact - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
My education has been steeped in what many writers refer to as the "Standard Social Scientific Model" - one of the assumptions of the SSSM is that environmental and cultural influences are the dominant consideration in shaping a human life, and that a person's nature is either a secondary or non-existent consideration. Because of this, I had been very resistant for years to any book focusing on human nature, or genetic explanations for simple or complex human behavior. Robert Wright's "The Moral Animal" changed all this. Part of what brought this about is the fact that Wright is such a clear and lucid writer. Frankly, had this book been written by someone of lesser skills with explanation, I probably would've put it down. Now, in my work as a psychotherapist, I'm much more likely to think in terms of what challenges of evolutionary importance are my clients having trouble coping with, such as issues regarding status, procreation, and things that would've spelled death to our neolithic ancestors. Furthermore, another conclusion that I've reached after reading this book is that Charles Darwin is given not given enough credit in psychology writing for his brilliant insights into human feelings and behavior; this needs to change. As Darwin said, if you want to understand people, just watch a troop of baboons, if you ever have the opportunity.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Immoral Animal 12 février 2014
Par Christpher Hays - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Excellent introduction to Evolutionary Psychology, in part because of how well written it is and also in no small measure due to the force of the ideas the author introduces. All this, despite being nearly 20 years in print.

The chapter on self-deception itself is easily worth the price of the book. In sum, it seems, despite our collective avowed love of something called “the truth”, there is apparently more survival value in dissembling, to such an extent that the inclination is now hopelessly wired into our brains. Thus, the primary role of our conscious, “rational” mind is simply to rationalize our behavior, like a good trial lawyer, not only to others, but more importantly, to ourselves as well, with effectiveness in persuading others increasing the more success you have in duping yourself.

I can’t disagree. It’s been my observation throughout most of my life and to see it laid out in print along with an evolutionary explanation for why it should be so provides confirmatory evidence, at least for me. Not only that, when you look around and see it so prevalently on the news, with talking heads, with politicians, with bosses, coworkers, friends and even with yourself, the net result is not outrage so much as a sort of resignation to the notion that this is the way things are. The obvious lesson, of course, is to attempt to train yourself to keep your eyes and ears open, knowing full well that the voice you hear in your own head is the one you are most susceptible to believing in and the one least likely to possess even a modicum of credibility. Good luck.

The one remarkable place in the book where the author illustrates this error himself is where he indicates, after hundreds of pages of demonstrating otherwise, that humans are somehow capable of stepping outside of this perspective; that simply because we are “wired” to act according to our hunter-gatherer brains, does not mean we cannot chose to do otherwise. This, on the heels of a commentary about the hollowness of the notion of “free will”.

All the same, a quite remarkable book.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent and well written book, The Moral Animal Delivers more than one would expect. 16 février 2016
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Wright is evidently a good writer. He easily attracts the reader's attention, and takes them on a journey to understand the basics of evolutionary psychology.
The scientific content in the book is very clear and refined in order to paint a good enough picture of the foundations of evolutionary psychology, providing historical accounts and useful analogies to explain various concepts from that field of study.
My main criticism of the book is directed towards the parts which I can imagine are someone else's favorite part of the book. Namely, the parts detailing Darwin's life. I fully understand the literary significance of using Darwin as an example, but as a case to support Evo Psych, it seems like the writer is cherry picking events which fit his explanatory models. I believe simply using anthropological and psychological evidence is more appropriate to convince the reader, but I guess the writer had a different idea in mind. All in all, those parts were informative, but I found myself skimming them rather than actively reading them.
Perhaps another point I disliked about the book is how the writer claims he will always point out his sociopolitical inferences from the science, in order to not confuse the reader, but ends up adding his views about the ethical, social, and political implications of the science without clearly pointing out they are merely his personal opinions, at least not all the time.
In conclusion, Robert Wright is more than excellent in conveying the important ideas. And I believe The Moral Animal is a must read for any one who is interested in Evolutionary Psychology and the origin of human nature.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I Love this Book! 2 mai 2014
Par KB7500 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I went to Catholic high school so my education in evolution was equivalent to the idea that storks are where babies come from. After I graduated, I knew I was missing something and then I came upon this book. Now, the human condition makes sense, logical sense! I really think everyone should read this book. I've read it twice so far. I felt like I was Neo, when he saw the Matrix for the first time. Understand yourself and others!
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Of scientists and science writers 9 mai 2010
Par Leonardo Alves - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The Moral Animal (TMA) is a fine book. It mingles what were, back in 1994, the most recent findings in evolutionary psychology with the cultural atmosphere of Victorian England at the time when Charles Darwin was refining his famous theory about the origin of species by means of natural selection. This constant interweaving of modern and old, adding to the blend the writings of John Stuart Mill and Samuel Smiles, is what differentiates TMA from the bunch of human behaviour books.

TMA covers a lot of ground for a 400-page book (the juice of it). The downside, quite obviously, is that TMA is very superficial on some pivotal aspects. Game theory models, an important concept to understanding supposedly altruistic behaviour, are not sufficiently explained. For a better explanation on this topic read the chapter "Nice Guys Finish First" from Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. Another example is haplo-diploidy, the quirk of nature that makes ants and other social insects siblings more related to each other than your everyday diploid animal siblings (humans included). For a better explanation here refer to Matt Ridley's The Red Queen. The fears brought about by the Darwinian revolution in psychology: the Fear of Inequality; the Fear of Imperfectability; the Fear of Determinism; and the Fear of Nihilism are briefly discussed in TMA's chapter Blaming the Victim. These same fears are wonderfully dissected and debunked in Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate.

What makes TMA somewhat less appealing to me is the fact that Robert Wright despite being a competent science writer is not a scientist in the traditional sense i.e. he does not conduct original research, just helps popularize science. Of course I do recognize the role of science writers and I realize that many scientists are poor writers. Albert Einstein fathered many staggering theories but is not known for having written a remarkable book. The proto-science of evolutionary psychology, however, along with its contributing sciences of genetics, zoology, biology, anthropology have all been blessed by researchers that are also very talented writers.

So if you are after a fine, although somewhat dated, review of the field of evolutionary psychology you will certainly enjoy TMA. But if you are a hard-core fanatic like I am, you need to go for the original and ground breaking books. Some of them are even more dated than TMA but were written by the famous guys themselves and are not one bit less readable than TMA. Here is my short list of must reads::

1 - Desmond Morris trilogy:: The Naked Ape; The Human Zoo and Intimate Behaviour - Morris takes a beating on TMA but he shaped my early notions of human behaviour and I am very indebted to him. Despite that, I think his books are terrific even though have been proved wrong in some aspects;

2 - Edward O. Wilson:: Sociobiology and On Human Nature - One of the founding fathers of the new science - the new synthesis as he calls it - and a two time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non Fiction (The Ants and On Human Nature);

3 - Richard Dawkins:: The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype - Another founding father;

4 - Stephen Jay Gould:: The Mismeasure of Man - Get a different opinion by someone just as brilliant;

5 - Steven Pinker:: The Blank Slate - A more recent (2003) review of similar issues on a gem of a book (a Pulitzer finalist);

6 - Carl Sagan:: The Dragons of Eden - Another Pulitzer winner, fascinating though dated. Another interesting book from Sagan is Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors even though it disturbingly advocates the notion of The Noble Savage.

7 - Matt Ridley:: The Red Queen - OK, Matt Ridley is not a scientist as well in a strict sense - but what a good book he managed to write...

Leonardo Alves - Brazil 2010
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