The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates (Paperback)

by Frans de Waal

Format: Paperback 320 pages

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In this engaging book, leading primatologist and thinker Frans de Waal offers an illuminating new perspective on human nature. Bringing together his pioneering research on primate behaviour, the latest findings in evolutionary biology and insights from moral philosophy, de Waal explains that we don't need the spectres of God or the law in order to act morally. Instead, our moral nature stems from our biology - specifically, our primate social emotions, which include empathy, reciprocity and fairness. We can glimpse this in the behaviour of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom: chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbours and bonobos will voluntarily open a door to offer a companion access to their own food. Building on a wealth of evidence, de Waal reveals that morality is not dictated to us by religion or social strictures but is the product of our biological nature.

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WW Norton & Co


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