"Every adult on the planet has experienced anger," says Stephen Downes, a University of Utah philosophy professor and a conference organizer. "Some of us have committed violent acts against others out of anger. Why we feel this way and why some of us act in the way we do is a question that has consumed students of human nature for thousands of years."
"Evolutionary theory gives some of the most revealing insights into this issue," he adds. "Bringing together a group of the world's leading experts on evolution and aggression is an appropriate tribute to Darwin in this 'Darwin year'" the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and 150th anniversary of his "On the Origin of Species."
While the modern view has grown more complex, Cashdan says that for decades, "there has been a lot of unproductive debate between people who argue that 'humans are naturally aggressive' and others who contend that 'humans are naturally peaceful.' There is plenty of evidence to support both claims: violence, reconciliation and cooperation are all part of human nature."
Cashdan adds: "We begin with the working assumption that natural selection has shaped human nature to be both violent and peaceful, and ask how evolutionary arguments can help us to understand the factors that lead to both violent and peaceful outcomes. This can help show which policy changes are likely to be successful, and where we can most usefully intervene to allow the better angels
|Contact: Lee Siegel|
University of Utah