Evolutionary Ethics, Aggression, and Violence: Lessons from Primate Research

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 32 (1):18-23 (2004)
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This paper is unusual for this journal because most readers do not deal professionally with animals. Information from primatology, however, is relevant to consideration of violence between people. I will focus mainly on aggression and peacemaking among nonhuman primates, but will address related topics as well. I do not use the term “aggression” to refer only to violent behavior, but to any overt conflict between individuals. Although I am a professor of psychology, I am a biologist by training. When I was a student many years ago, the major scholarly work on this topic was Konrad Lorenz’s On Aggression. It set into motion contemporary research on aggression from a biological perspective by making the controversial claim that aggression is an instinct not only in animals, but also in human beings. My own research and that of others suggests a slightly different view, namely, that aggression between individuals is a last resort when conflict resolution fails.



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Citations of this work

The Biological Essence of Law.Hendrik Gommer - 2012 - Ratio Juris 25 (1):59-84.

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References found in this work

On Aggression.Konrad Lorenz, Robert Ardrey, Desmond Morris & Lionel Tiger - 1971 - Science and Society 35 (2):209-219.

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