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CFI Canada's Science & Philosophy Book Club Message Board › March 25 Book Club Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism and Shame

March 25 Book Club Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism and Shame

Christine A. Gagno...
user 63281172
Toronto, ON
Post #: 4
March 25th, 2013 7pm-9pm

Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism and Shame

By Christopher Boehm (evolutionary anthropologist) (418p) (2012)

Tracing the development of altruism and group social control over 6 million years, Boehm argues that our moral sense is a sophisticated defense mechanism that enables individuals to survive and thrive in groups. One of the biggest risks of group living is the possibility of being punished for our misdeeds by those around us. Bullies, thieves, free-riders, and especially psychopaths - those who make it difficult for others to go about their lives - are the most likely to suffer this fate. Getting by requires getting along, and this social type of selection singles out altruists for survival. This selection pressure has been unique in shaping human nature, and it bred the first stirrings of conscience in the human species. Ultimately, it led to the fully developed sense of virtue and shame that we know today.
A former member
Post #: 1
As a counterpoint to Dawkins and Boehm, I'd like to suggest Mind & Cosmos by Thomas Nagel for a future book selection. Some of you may have seen the piece on the book by Joseph Brean in today's National Post:


Also recommended is a review by Andrew Ferguson in The National Standard:


Just sayin'.

~ Paul
A former member
Post #: 2
Sorry, the review by Andrew Ferguson was of course published in The Weekly Standard.
A former member
Post #: 3
Here's another gem:
Physicists Debate the Many Varieties of Nothingness
By Michael Moyer | Scientific American | March 22, 2013:
Ya gotta love Jim Holt! :)
A former member
Post #: 4
NYT Book Review:­

An Existential Detective Story
By Jim Holt
298 pp. Liveright Publishing/W. W. Norton & Company.

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