On social tolerance and the evolution of human normative guidance

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Gonzalez-Cabrera, Ivan
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Discussions about the evolution of human social cognition usually portray the social environment of early hominins as highly hierarchical and dominant. In this evolutionary narrative, our propensity for violence was overcome in our lineage by a key increase of our intellectual capacities. However, I will argue in this paper that we are at least equally justified in believing that our early hominin ancestors were less aggressive and hierarchical than what is claimed by those models. This view is consistent with the available comparative and paleoanthropological evidence. I will show that this alternative model not only does not support long-held views of human origins but also has important consequences for debates about the evolution of our capacity for normative guidance.