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The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers

How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code

A sweeping psychological history of human goodness — from the foundations of evolution to the modern political and social challenges humanity is now facing.

How did humans, a species of self-centered apes, come to care about others? Since Darwin, scientists have tried to answer this question using evolutionary theory. In The Kindness of Strangers, psychologist Michael McCullough shows why they have failed and offers a new explanation instead. From the moment nomadic humans first settled down until the aftermath of the Second World War, our species has confronted repeated crises that we could only survive by changing our behavior. As McCullough argues, these choices weren’t enabled by an evolved moral sense, but with moral invention-driven not by evolution’s dictates but by reason.

Today’s challenges — climate change, mass migration, nationalism — are some of humanity’s greatest yet. In revealing how past crises shaped the foundations of human concern, The Kindness of Strangers offers clues for how we can adapt our moral thinking to survive these challenges as well.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Psychology / Social Psychology

On Sale: May 12th 2020

Price: $18.99 / $23.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 368

ISBN-13: 9781541617520

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"An inspiring and engrossing new look at human goodness. Without sentimentality or glibness, and wearing his depth and erudition lightly, McCullough enlightens us on when and why we care for others."—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now
"This is a controversial book, but McCullough's arguments are smart, clear, and ultimately persuasive."—Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University and author of Against Empathy
"Enlightened by evocative anecdotes and well-explained theory, The Kindness of Strangers is as original as it is persuasive."—Richard Wrangham, Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and author of The Goodness Paradox
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