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Good Natured is a book by primatologist Frans de Waal on animal behavior and the evolution of ethics. Contents. 1 Publishing history; 2 Notes; 3 References. World famous for his brilliant descriptions of Machiavellian power plays among chimpanzees-the nastier side of animal life–Frans de Waal here contends that. Good Natured. Frans de Waal, Author, F. B. M. De Waal, Author, Waal De, Author Harvard University Press $ (p) ISBN

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I’ve been thinking about why I find this subject fascinating, and one reason is that this research challenges a fundamental notion of human nature advanced by some religions, which is that the humans are inherently natursd, and it is only by the grace of God that our sinful natures can be restrained or redeemed.

Dec 16, Ben rated it really liked it. Some folks find it depressing to imagine generosity and love as somehow biologically based, but I think its pretty darn interesting. Views Read Edit View history. Joel rated it liked it Apr 24, There is evidence in chimpanzee communities of quite evolved capacities such as sympathy for others’ distress, mourning the loss of a parent or child, and reciprocal altruism doing favors for others with no immediate expectation of reward.

Chimps who always favor stronger or more dominant chimps in altercations presumably to curry favor with the strongest allies usually are overthrown in the dominance hierarchy.

Explore further, but drop your anchor in Frans de Waal, that’s my philosophy.

With the advantage that comes with alliances comes an evolutionary factor that could select for the mental capability to guess what others are thinking to generalize the expectations that others will have of one’s behavior in an alliance. He’s certainly not over-excitable he’s a trifle under-excited for me and you can trust him. Through his eyes, we see how not just primates but all kinds of animals, from marine mammals to dogs, respond to social rules, help each other, share food, resolve conflict to mutual satisfaction, even develop a crude sense of justice and fairness.


De Waal identifies a number of behaviors with concomitant emotions in animals that lead to a sort of proto-morality.

What would have held primitive human and pre-human groups together, and how would moral systems have ever emerged? World famous for his brilliant descriptions of Machiavellian power plays among chimpanzees-the nastier side of animal life–Frans de Waal here contends that animals have a nice side as well. He is more or less ideally placed to answer that question, after years of perceptive research on captive chimpanzees, bonobos and monkeys… As de Waal fans will already know, chimpanzees and other primates come alive as individuals under his expert gaze… Sympathy, attachment, social norms, punishment, a sense of justice, reciprocation, peacemaking and community concern—all are writ large in chimpanzee society.

Now a respected ethologist, Frans de Waal, tackles the problem from a novel angle… Good Natured is no touchy-feely celebration of animal innocence, but a hardheaded study by a specialist in primate behavior with a wealth of observational experience. Jan 10, Bryn Hammond rated it it was amazing Shelves: The more we communicate across groups and cultures, the more we feel part of one large group, and the more our innate moral faculties seem to apply to everyone.

Refresh and try again. Much of the book details observations of primate behavior, especially that of chimpanzees and bonobos. The digital Loeb Classical Library loebclassics. To ask other readers questions about Good Naturedplease sign up. The emphasis on empirical research and analysis seriously helps the optimistic message. His nonsense books, mo …. While Irresistible is not based on her own experience, she entertains hopes of meeting her own Jamie Elliot-Fox someday.

Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals by Frans de Waal

Join Our Mailing List: As his work makes clear, a morality grounded in biology leads to an entirely different conception of what it means to he human–and humane. A brilliant look into the alternatives to Social Darwinism. This well-written and accessible science book offers evidence of morality and compassion in the animal kingdom.


Chimpanzees remember which members of their group have shared food with them in the past and which godo not and reward and punish those individuals, respectively, in the future. And yet, even in such dysfunctional environments think Somaliaelements of our common moral heritage remain – parents love and care for their children, friends protect friends, tribe members look out for other tribe members – and crimes are generally directed at those perceived to be outside the group.

Good Natured

Good Natured Frans B. Nov 16, Craig rated it it was amazing.

In this provocative book, a renowned scientist takes on those who have declared ethics uniquely human. Perhaps most interestingly, however, is that the domain hitherto of philosophers is now being contested by evolutionary biologists.

Some years ago, my cousin and I watched snow monkeys at an outdoor enclosure at the Minneapolis Zoo. Oct 18, Dw marked it as to-read. JT Dancer rated it really liked it Sep 12, Edward Lear is an apt character to think about at Christmas-time. Elements like these have served an evolutionary purpose by natyred group cohesion, stability, and success. Sep 27, Dan rated it really liked it Shelves: If you’re going to read about animal intelligence – animal emotion – and onwards to animal ethics – oh, do start with Frans df Waal.

Edward Lear is an apt character to think about at Christmas-time. The mother turned and screamed at the other monkey who made himself scarce with all due haste. The author, a biologist, backs this up with much research on primates, and especially chimpanzees, our closest relatives.