A Different Kind of Animal: How Culture Transformed Our Species - The University Center for Human Values Series (Hardback)
  • A Different Kind of Animal: How Culture Transformed Our Species - The University Center for Human Values Series (Hardback)
zoom

A Different Kind of Animal: How Culture Transformed Our Species - The University Center for Human Values Series (Hardback)

(author)
£22.00
Hardback 248 Pages / Published: 05/12/2017
  • In stock online
  • Free UK delivery

Usually despatched within 24 hours

  • This item has been added to your basket
Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. Please check by using Click & Collect
How our ability to learn from each other has been the essential ingredient to our remarkable success as a species Human beings are a very different kind of animal. We have evolved to become the most dominant species on Earth. We have a larger geographical range and process more energy than any other creature alive. This astonishing transformation is usually explained in terms of cognitive ability--people are just smarter than all the rest. But in this compelling book, Robert Boyd argues that culture--our ability to learn from each other--has been the essential ingredient of our remarkable success. A Different Kind of Animal demonstrates that while people are smart, we are not nearly smart enough to have solved the vast array of problems that confronted our species as it spread across the globe. Over the past two million years, culture has evolved to enable human populations to accumulate superb local adaptations that no individual could ever have invented on their own. It has also made possible the evolution of social norms that allow humans to make common cause with large groups of unrelated individuals, a kind of society not seen anywhere else in nature. This unique combination of cultural adaptation and large-scale cooperation has transformed our species and assured our survival--making us the different kind of animal we are today. Based on the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, A Different Kind of Animal features challenging responses by biologist Allen Orr, philosopher Kim Sterelny, economist Paul Seabright, and evolutionary anthropologist Ruth Mace, as well as an introduction by Stephen Macedo.

Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691177731
Number of pages: 248
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
In this lucid, well-argued treatise, anthropologist Robert Boyd avers that we are 'culture-saturated creatures', and that it is culturally transmitted knowledge that sets us apart and explains our dramatic range of behaviours, from rampant violence to great feats of cooperation.---Barbara Kiser, Nature
"Robert Boyd is surely right that we are a 'different kind of animal.' We possess language, we have sophisticated trade and cooperation, but we are also frighteningly deceptive and prone to spasms of unspeakable violence. Boyd shows here in compelling style how our possession of culture--the passing on of learned information--explains the highs, lows, and contradictions in our behaviors."--Mark Pagel, author of Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind
"What makes us unique? Are we really just smart chimpanzees? Why is our species both so cooperative and yet so violent? Addressing these questions, Robert Boyd adroitly combines detailed analyses of diverse societies, crystal-clear experimental studies, and rich descriptions of hunter-gatherer life with the precision that only mathematics can provide. Writing with the confidence of someone who has mastered his own field, and several others, Boyd boldly leads us on a scientific journey to discover who we are and where we came from."--Joseph Henrich, author of The Secret of Our Success
"Boyd sees culture as central to human evolution. This book's value lies not just in its eloquent presentation but also in its citing and righting of common misunderstandings of this view."--Richard McElreath, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
"A masterly summary of the argument that accumulated cultural know-how explains human adaptation, written by a true doyen of the field of cultural evolution. Expert or novice, we can all learn from Robert Boyd's superb book."--Kevin N. Laland, author of Darwin's Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind
"A Different Kind of Animal is a fascinating and accessible introduction to the very influential ideas that Boyd and his collaborators have developed over the past three decades."--Stephen P. Stich, coauthor of Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-Awareness, and Understanding Other Minds
A Different Kind of Animal is a fascinating introduction to a fertile field of cultural research that should be better-known. Approachable and clearly argued, it is a brave revival of the autonomy of culture and a breath of fresh air for those tired of the narrow claims of evolutionary psychology.--Cosmos

You may also be interested in...

Why Evolution is True
Added to basket
On Natural Selection
Added to basket
The Descent of Man
Added to basket
Climbing Mount Improbable
Added to basket
Big Bang
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
Life Ascending
Added to basket
£10.99
Paperback
Darwin's Notebook
Added to basket
On the Origin of Species
Added to basket
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Added to basket
The Origin of Species
Added to basket
On the Origin of Species
Added to basket
Human Evolution
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
Power, Sex, Suicide
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
Survivors
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
Creation
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback

Reviews

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.