Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
November 2018
Fred's Rating: 
Robert Wright
Total Pages: 

New Republic senior editor Robert Wright's account of the latest trends in Darwinian theory describes the logic behind the emerging evolutionary psychology; the subjects range from friendship and romance to xenophobia and sibling rivalry. (For his books I’ve read, click on his name.)

I was given the paperback edition but I give here Amazon’s website for the Kindle edition because it includes, using Amazon’s ‘Look inside’ option, the author’s important 13-pp Introduction as well as his 14-pp Chapter One: Sex, Romance, and Love:

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this book's covers at the website above.]

The home page has a ‘way too brief’ review. I recommend the reader scroll down the home page to read Amazon’s ‘Top customer reviews’ – the first one by ‘The Hibernian Autodidact’ and the third review by ‘Amazon Customer (click on ‘Read more’). If this still leaving you wondering if you want to read this book, then I suggest you read the second ‘Top customer review’ by Christopher Hays.

The author chose to analyze Charles Darwin in this book. Nearly all readers today have learned that Darwin, by design, restricted his first evolution book – The Origin of Species – to presenting the idea of evolution as determining the “most fit for survival of a species” as primarily via competition between individuals. Darwin saved for his second evolution book – The Descent of Man (book 719)– by adding the important aspect of cooperation within a species, such as ‘kin selection,’ ‘tribe selection’ and other communal actions, as important among hominoids, both the early hominoids and, of course, the top hominoid – us, homo sapiens. Darwin was somewhat ambiguous about cooperation for sentient species in general, as Robert Wright points out. Wright’s proposal in the current book is in part to clarify what Darwin was ambiguous about by describing in much detail why he believes that evolutionary psychology is the proper theory to remove any such ambiguity.

The only additional comment by me is that I thought there were topics not addressed about Darwin’s life and mindset and also about the evolutionary psychology of this ‘foundational’ book on this theory. But I think that this book deserves a rating of five stars as an important read for understanding the science of evolutionary psychology.