Zoon Politikon: The Evolution of Human Socio-Political Systems

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Boehm, C; Gintis, H; Van Schaik, C
Year of Publication: In Press
Journal: Behavioural Processes
Date Published: In Press
Publication Language: eng
Abstract:

We deploy the most up-to-date evidence available in various behavioral fields in support of the following hypothesis: The emergence of bipedalism and cooperative breeding in the hominin line, together with environmental developments that made a diet of meat from large animals adaptive, as well as cultural innovations in the form of fire, cooking, and lethal weapons, created a niche for hominins in which there was a significant advantage to individuals with the ability to communicate and persuade in a moral context. These forces added a unique political dimension to human social life which, through gene-culture coevolution, became Homo ludens—Man, the game player—with the power to conserve and transform the social order. Homo sapiens became, in the words of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, a zoon politikon.

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