Hierarchy in the Forest
Books (review list) || Classroom Resources || Hub   

Boehm, Christopher. 1999. Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-39031-8.

In Hierarchy in the Forest, Christopher Boehm analyses egalitarian societies and the links between morality and political organization. He compares modern humans with their ancestors and closest primate relatives. Boehm claims that under appropriate conditions, 'a large, ad hoc, community-wide political coalition serves as watchdog over individual behaviors that could lead to victimization of others, or to conflict within the group' (Katz 2000, p. 80). He profiles the politics of chimps, hunter-gatherers, tribesmen and other hominoids, and surveys the preadaptations that empower moral communities, such as effective communication skills. He also underscores the role of the early human social environment in shaping further biological evolution. This highlights the importance of understanding levels of organization in biology the genetic, the organismal, the psychological, and the social and how they interact, with regulation from the "top-down" as much as by development from the "bottom-up".

Search online booksellers: AbeBooks | Alibris | BookFinder

© 2008. Douglas Allchin | EVOLUTIONofMORALITY.net