The Fairness Instinct: The Robin Hood Mentality and Our Biological Nature by L Sun (Hardback, 2013)
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- DescriptionCombining research from the social sciences, hard sciences, and the humanities, this accessible cross-disciplinary book offers fascinating insights into a key component of human nature and society. Biologist L. Sun examines the innate sense of fairness displayed by human beings in all kinds of societies throughout history. He argues persuasively that it is an emotion and behavior rooted in our DNA, rather than a product of ideology or convention. Citing animal studies that show that even monkeys react negatively to patently unfair treatment, Sun delves into the issue of why this instinct may have evolved with a new biological framework. Specifically, he identifies two selective forces behind the evolution of fairness. One is the need for resolving conflicts of interest in social groups, and the other is a bottom-up drive pushing toward equality in resource sharing in the hierarchies of society. Turning to the down side of the fairness instinct, the author shows that when it plays too great a role in leveling inequalities, it can have negative repercussions, such as a society where outstanding achievers arouse envy and only mediocrity is condoned. Even worse is the vicious cycle of spite resulting from an injured sense of fairness, which can easily spill over into violence. Finally, the author considers the role that fairness plays in religion with its promise to ultimately overcome the prejudices and inequality of human society by offering the hope of divine justice.
- Author BiographyL. Sun (Ellensburg, WA) is professor of biology at Central Washington University. Trained at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China in biology and animal ecology, and then at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University in zoology and animal behavior, he has coauthored two books: The World of Mammals (in Chinese) and The Beaver--Natural History of a Wetlands Engineer. The latter won Choice magazine's Outstanding Academic Title award and was a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal for excellence in nature writing. For more information, see http: //www.cwu.edu/ lixing/.
- Author(s)L Sun
- PublisherPrometheus Books
- Date of Publication15/10/2013
- SubjectSociology & Anthropology: Professional
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintPrometheus Books
- Weight617 g
- Width162 mm
- Height236 mm
- Spine25 mm
- Format DetailsSewn,Cloth over boards
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