How cooperation became the norm: Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott, and Ben Fraser (eds): Cooperation and Its Evolution. MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2013, 608 pp, $55, ISBN: 978-0-262-01853-1

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Biology & Philosophy, ISSN: 0169-3867, Vol: 29, Issue: 3, Page: 433-444

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Jonathan Birch
Springer Nature
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Most of the contributions to Cooperation and Its Evolution grapple with the distinctive challenges presented by the project of explaining human sociality. Many of these puzzles have a ‘chicken and egg’ character: our virtually unparalleled capacity for large-scale cooperation is the product of psychological, behavioural, and demographic changes in our recent evolutionary history, and these changes are linked by complex patterns of reciprocal dependence. There is much we do not yet understand about the timing of these changes, and about the order in which different aspects of human social psychology (co-)evolved. In this review essay, I discuss four such puzzles the volume raises. These concern punishment and norm-psychology, moral judgement and the moral emotions, hierarchy and top-down coercion, and property rights and legal systems.

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