Clockwork Saints:the Evolutionary Purpose of Altruism

Clockwork Saints:the Evolutionary Purpose of Altruism


By (author) Matt Ridley

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 295 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 16mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 30 April 1998
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140264450
  • ISBN 13: 9780140264456
  • Sales rank: 527,982

Product description

If evolution by natural selection relentlessly favors self-interest, why do human beings live in complex societies and show so much cooperative spirit? In The Origins of Virtue, Matt Ridley, a zoologist and former American editor of the Economist, shows that recent research in a number of fields has suggested a resolution of the apparent contradiction between self-interest and mutual aid. Brilliantly orchestrating the new findings of geneticists, psychologists, and anthropologists, The Origins of Virtue re-examines the everyday assumptions upon which we base our actions towards others, whether we are nurturing parents, siblings, or trade partners. The Origins of Virtue searches for the roots of that capacity for trust, contrasts it with the social instincts of ants, baboons, and naked mole rats, and draws provocative conclusions for our understanding of politics. Ridley not only traces the evolution of society but shows us how breakthroughs in computer programming, microbiology, and economics have all played their role in providing us with a unique perspective on how and why we relate to each other.

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Author information

Matt Ridley has worked as a science editor, Washington correspondent, and American editor for the "Economist." A research fellow of the Institute for Economic Affairs and a Trustee of the International Centre for Life, he lives in Northumberland, England.

Table of contents

The Origins of Virtue Acknowledgments Prologue Chapter One: The Society of Genes Chapter Two: The Division of Labour Chapter Three: The Prisoner's Dilemma Chapter Four: Telling Hawks from Doves Chapter Five: Duty and the Feast Chapter Six: Public Goods and Private Gifts Chapter Seven: Theories of Moral Sentiments Chapter Eight: The Tribal Primates Chapter Nine: The Source of War Chapter Ten: The Gains from Trade Chapter Eleven: Ecology as Religion Chapter Twelve: The Power of Property Chapter Thirteen: Trust Sources and Notes Index