Stefan Klein, PhD, recipient of the prestigious Georg von Holtzbrink Prize for Scientific Journalism, is one of Europe’s premier science writers, as well as a trained physicist himself. His many books include the #1 international bestseller The Science of Happiness and have been translated into 25 languages. Ross Benjamin is a translator and a writer. He has received the prestigious Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship.
In this provocative book, renowned primatologist Frans de Waal argues that modern-day evolutionary biology takes far too dim a view of the natural world, emphasizing our "selfish" genes and reinforcing our habit of labeling ethical behavior as humane and the less civilized as animalistic. Seeking the origin of human morality not in evolution but in human culture, science insists that we are moral by choice, not by nature.
Citing remarkable evidence based on his extensive research of primate behavior, de Waal attacks "Veneer Theory," which posits morality as a thin overlay on an otherwise nasty nature. He explains how we evolved from a long line of animals that care for the weak and build cooperation with reciprocal transactions. Drawing on Darwin, recent scientific advances, and his extensive research of primate behavior, de Waal demonstrates a strong continuity between human and animal behavior. He probes issues such as anthropomorphism and human responsibilities toward animals. His compelling account of how human morality evolved out of mammalian society will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered about the origins and reach of human goodness.
Based on the Tanner Lectures de Waal delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values in 2004, Primates and Philosophers includes responses by the philosophers Peter Singer, Christine M. Korsgaard, and Philip Kitcher and the science writer Robert Wright. They press de Waal to clarify the differences between humans and other animals, yielding a lively debate that will fascinate all those who wonder about the origins and reach of human goodness.
“First and foremost, curiosity.”—Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Prize–winning chemist
When Stefan Klein, an acclaimed journalist, sits down to talk with 18 of the world’s leading scientists, he finds they’re driven by, above all, curiosity. When they talk about their work, they turn to what’s next, to what they still hope to discover. And they see inspiration everywhere: From the sports car that physicist Steven Weinberg says helped him on his quest for “the theory of everything” to the jazz musicians who gave psychologist Alison Gopnik new insight into raising children, they reveal how their paradigm-changing work entwines with their lives outside the lab. We hear from extraordinary natural and social scientists, including:Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on ego and selflessnessPrimatologist Jane Goodall on chimpanzee behaviorNeuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran on consciousnessGeographer Jared Diamond on chance in historyAnthropologist Sarah Hrdy on motherhoodAnd cosmologist Martin Rees on how “ultimately we ourselves are stardust.”
A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
In Leonardo's Legacy, award-winning science journalist Stefan Klein deciphers the forgotten legacy of this universal genius and persuasively demonstrates that today we have much to learn from Leonardo's way of thinking. Klein sheds light on the mystery behind Leonardo's paintings, takes us through the many facets of his fascination with water, and explains the true significance of his dream of flying. It is a unique glimpse into the complex and brilliant mind of this inventor, scientist, and pioneer of a new world view, with profound consequences for our times.