PETER G. BROWN ULTRA SOCIAL The Evolution of Human Nature and the Quest for a Sustainable Future JOHN GOWDY Ultrasocial Ultrasocial argues that rather than environmental destruction and extreme Front Cover.

Author: John M. Gowdy

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781108838269

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 282

View: 915

Society is an ultrasocial superorganism whose requirements take precedence over individuals. What does this mean for humanity's future?
Categories: Business & Economics

Cultural Evolution

Cultural Evolution

This argument suggests the following definition: Ultrasocial institutions are institutions that enable cooperation at the level of larger-scale human groups. They are characterized by the tension between benefits they yield at the ...

Author: Peter J. Richerson

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262019750

Category: Psychology

Page: 504

View: 393

Leading scholars report on current research that demonstrates the central role of cultural evolution in explaining human behavior. Over the past few decades, a growing body of research has emerged from a variety of disciplines to highlight the importance of cultural evolution in understanding human behavior. Wider application of these insights, however, has been hampered by traditional disciplinary boundaries. To remedy this, in this volume leading researchers from theoretical biology, developmental and cognitive psychology, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, history, and economics come together to explore the central role of cultural evolution in different aspects of human endeavor. The contributors take as their guiding principle the idea that cultural evolution can provide an important integrating function across the various disciplines of the human sciences, as organic evolution does for biology. The benefits of adopting a cultural evolutionary perspective are demonstrated by contributions on social systems, technology, language, and religion. Topics covered include enforcement of norms in human groups, the neuroscience of technology, language diversity, and prosociality and religion. The contributors evaluate current research on cultural evolution and consider its broader theoretical and practical implications, synthesizing past and ongoing work and sketching a roadmap for future cross-disciplinary efforts. Contributors Quentin D. Atkinson, Andrea Baronchelli, Robert Boyd, Briggs Buchanan, Joseph Bulbulia, Morten H. Christiansen, Emma Cohen, William Croft, Michael Cysouw, Dan Dediu, Nicholas Evans, Emma Flynn, Pieter François, Simon Garrod, Armin W. Geertz, Herbert Gintis, Russell D. Gray, Simon J. Greenhill, Daniel B. M. Haun, Joseph Henrich, Daniel J. Hruschka, Marco A. Janssen, Fiona M. Jordan, Anne Kandler, James A. Kitts, Kevin N. Laland, Laurent Lehmann, Stephen C. Levinson, Elena Lieven, Sarah Mathew, Robert N. McCauley, Alex Mesoudi, Ara Norenzayan, Harriet Over, Jürgen Renn, Victoria Reyes-García, Peter J. Richerson, Stephen Shennan, Edward G. Slingerland, Dietrich Stout, Claudio Tennie, Peter Turchin, Carel van Schaik, Matthijs Van Veelen, Harvey Whitehouse, Thomas Widlok, Polly Wiessner, David Sloan Wilson
Categories: Psychology

Wellbeing and Aspirational Culture

Wellbeing and Aspirational Culture

The evolutionary record for ultrasocial termites and ants shows just how 'locked-in' this form of economic production is: “No secondary reversals to the ancestral life style are known in either group, which suggests that the transitions ...

Author: Kevin Moore

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 9783030156435

Category: Psychology

Page: 243

View: 631

This book addresses the paradox that, despite quantifiable advances, people often struggle to experience positive wellbeing. Kevin Moore argues that two key insights can help resolve this paradox: first, that we live in an ‘aspirational culture’ that has its roots in the agrarian revolution and now demands constant economic growth, individual ambition, and self-improvement while promoting change and uncertainty; and second, that we are persons, and persons are created when cultures interact with our biology. Accordingly, our wellbeing depends on how personhood develops through that interaction. Bringing together wellbeing and personhood research from multiple disciplines, Moore explains how aspirational cultures are detrimental to wellbeing because they consistently undermine and disrupt the ordinary tasks of life that are essential to sustaining our personhood and wellbeing. He concludes that if we are serious about improving wellbeing, we have to create a culture not based on aspiration but which, instead, focuses on supporting persons and personhood.
Categories: Psychology

The Edge of Evolution

The Edge of Evolution

The most complex version of sociality is called ultrasocial, which has now been studied across dozens of species. Its features are both familiar and, when framed in clinical biological terms, a bit alarming. In an ultrasocial species, ...

Author: Ronald Edwards

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780190212117

Category: Science

Page: 200

View: 654

In this interdisciplinary work, author Ron Edwards offers an innovative rereading of H. G. Wells' "The Island of Dr. Moreau." Edwards utilizes his twenty-five years in biology and the ethics of animal research to examine the bioethical implications of Wells' work and its relevance to contemporary scientific and philosophical discussions. He tackles the myth of human exceptionalism, the notion that we are fundamentally different from the rest of the animal kingdom. We must view ourselves, he argues, not as from animals, but as animals. The approachable tone is suitable for a wide audience of the scientifically curious. At the same time, great care is given to providing an accurate and considered treatment of the technical aspects of the novel, including the scientific plausibility of Dr. Moreau's experiment. Never before have Wells' ideas been examined in such detail by an evolutionary biologist with the author's considerable experience. The implications are far-reaching, touching on key topics in animal rights, evolution, and the relationship between religion and science. Its approachability and dedication to technical accuracy produces a unique perspective on Wells' classic. Anyone with an interest in confronting some of the central issues of human existence through the lens of fiction will be rewarded with an original and thought-provoking work.
Categories: Science

Gaining Control

Gaining Control

Aggregation into ultrasocial groups was made possible by the accumulation of significant resource surpluses, largely following from the agricultural revolution. This meant large groups of people cooperating despite being largely ...

Author: Robert Aunger

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191002854

Category: Psychology

Page: 200

View: 268

'Gaining control' tells the story of how human behavioral capacities evolved from those of other animal species. Exploring what is known about the psychological capacities of other groups of animals, the authors reconstruct a fascinating history of our own mental evolution. In the book, the authors see mental evolution as a series of steps in which new mechanisms for controlling behavior develop in different species - starting with early representatives of this kingdom, and leading to a species - us - that can engage in a large number of different types of behavioral control. Key to their argument is the idea that each of these steps — from reflexes to instincts, drives, emotions, and cognitive planning - can be seen as a novel type of psychological adaptation in which information is 'inherited' by an animal from its own behavior through new forms of learning - a form of major evolutionary transition. Thus the mechanisms that result from these steps in increasingly complex behavioral control can also be seen as the fundamental building blocks of psychology. Such a perspective on behaviour has a number of implications for practitioners in fields ranging from experimental psychology to public health. Short, provocative, and insightful, this book will be of great interest and use to evolutionary psychologists and biologists, anthropologists and the scientific community as a whole.
Categories: Psychology

Posthumanist Learning

Posthumanist Learning

I do not exclude that humans as an ultra-social species overlap with other species – only that Tomasello and colleagues show us that we merge with humans and non-humans in particular ways as ultrasocial beings. As humans, we have always ...

Author: Cathrine Hasse

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781317298687

Category: Psychology

Page: 390

View: 357

In this text Hasse presents a new, inclusive, posthuman learning theory, designed to keep up with the transformations of human learning resulting from new technological experiences, as well as considering the expanding role of cyborg devices and robots in learning. This ground-breaking book draws on research from across psychology, education, and anthropology to present a truly interdisciplinary examination of the relationship between technology, learning and humanity. Posthumanism questions the self-evident status of human beings by exploring how technology is changing what can be categorised as ‘human’. In this book, the author applies a posthumanist lens to traditional learning theory, challenging conventional understanding of what a human learner is, and considering how technological advances are changing how we think about this question. Throughout the book Hasse uses vignettes of her own research and that of other prominent academics to exemplify what technology can tell us about how we learn and how this can be observed in real-life settings. Posthumanist Learning is essential reading for students and researchers of posthumanism and learning theory from a variety of backgrounds, including psychology, education, anthropology, robotics and philosophy.
Categories: Psychology

Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling

Costly ultrasocial institutions can evolve and be maintained as a result of competition between societies: societies with traits that enable greater control and coordination of larger numbers will out-compete those that lack such traits ...

Author: Mark Dunford

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 9781137591524

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 244

View: 968

This edited collection brings together academics and practitioners to explore the uses of Digital Storytelling, which places the greatest possible emphasis on the voice of the storyteller. Case studies are used as a platform to investigate questions of concept, theory and practice, and to shine an interrogative light on this emergent form of participatory media. The collection examines the creative and academic roots of Digital Storytelling before drawing on a range of international examples to consider the way in which the practice has established itself and evolved in different settings across the world.
Categories: Performing Arts

How We Use Stories and Why That Matters

How We Use Stories and Why That Matters

According to Turchin and his colleagues, warfare is a chief 'selection pressure' on cultures over a 10,000year period, leading to ever larger or 'ultrasocial' units (empires): The conceptual core of the model invokes the following ...

Author: John Hartley

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9781501351655

Category: Social Science

Page: 312

View: 490

Using compelling examples and analysis, How We Use Stories and Why That Matters shows what the New York Shakespeare Riots tell us about class struggle, what Death Cab for Cutie tells us about media, what Kate Moss's wedding dress tells us about authorship, and how Westworld and Humans imagine very different futures for Artificial Intelligence: one based on slavery, the other on class. Together, these knowledge stories tell us about how intimate human communication is organised and used to stage organised conflict, to test the 'fighting fitness' of contending groups – provoking new stories, identities and classes along the way. This book guides the reader through the tangled undergrowth of communication and cultural expression towards a new understanding of the role of group-mediating stories at global and digital scale. It argues that media and networked systems perform and bind group identities, creating bordered fictions within which economic and political activities are made meaningful. Now that computational and global scale, big data, metadata and algorithms rule the roost even in culture, subjectivity and meaning, we need population-scale frameworks to understand individual, micro-scale sense-making practices. To achieve that, we need evolutionary and systems approaches to understand cultural performance and dynamics. The opposing universes of fact (science, knowledge, education) and fiction (entertainment, story and imagination) – so long separated into the contrasting disciplines of natural sciences and the humanities – can now be understood as part of one turbulent sphere of knowledge-production and innovation.
Categories: Social Science

Why We Dance

Why We Dance

Moreover, as scientists are realizing, humans are not just social animals, we are ultrasocial animals. Although our immediate circles of association may range to 150, we live comfortably, sometimes preferably, in colonies of thousands ...

Author: Kimerer L. LaMothe

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231538886

Category: Philosophy

Page: 320

View: 292

Within intellectual paradigms that privilege mind over matter, dance has long appeared as a marginal, derivative, or primitive art. Drawing support from theorists and artists who embrace matter as dynamic and agential, this book offers a visionary definition of dance that illuminates its constitutive work in the ongoing evolution of human persons. Why We Dance introduces a philosophy of bodily becoming that posits bodily movement as the source and telos of human life. Within this philosophy, dance appears as an activity that humans evolved to do as the enabling condition of their best bodily becoming. Weaving theoretical reflection with accounts of lived experience, this book positions dance as a catalyst in the development of human consciousness, compassion, ritual proclivity, and ecological adaptability. Aligning with trends in new materialism, affect theory, and feminist philosophy, as well as advances in dance and religious studies, this work reveals the vital role dance can play in reversing the trajectory of ecological self-destruction along which human civilization is racing.
Categories: Philosophy

Cheating Monkeys and Citizen Bees

Cheating Monkeys and Citizen Bees

back and forth , which included trips by Alexander and his colleague Paul Sherman to Africa to actually see the creatures , Jarvis and Alexander realized that they indeed had found the first eusocial ( ultrasocial ) mammal .

Author: Lee Alan Dugatkin

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674001672

Category: Nature

Page: 208

View: 623

Here biologist Lee Dugatkin outlines four paths to cooperation shared by humans and other animals: family dynamics, reciprocal transactions (or "tit for tat"), so-called selfish teamwork, and group altruism. He draws on a wealth of examples—from babysitting among mongooses and food sharing among vampire bats to cooperation in Hutterite communities and on kibbutzim—o show not only that cooperation exists throughout the animal kingdom, but how an understanding of the natural history of altruism might foster our own best instincts toward our fellow humans.
Categories: Nature