A Treatise on Kindness
by Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison
Hardcover, 388 pages, ISBN: 9781536199574
Bilingual in English and Greek (translated by Niki Stavrou)
(ebook edition also available)
Authors interviewed by Marc Bekoff
From the publisher’s website:
This elegant treatise examines the nature of kindness through the fascinating lenses and contexts of ancient, medieval and contemporary philosophy, natural history, theories of mind, of natural selection, eco-psychology and sociobiology. It challenges the reader to consider the myriad potential consequences of human behavior, examining various iconographic moments from the history of art and science as a precursor to the concept and vital potentials for ecological conversion.
Focusing on the fundamental mechanisms of reciprocity among humans, other species, communities and nations, Tobias and Morrison lead readers on a remarkable journey whose itinerary, and the provocative questions explored, seek to affirm a pattern in evolution and in human thought that is emphatically oriented towards benevolence, not tyranny.
Prosociality in all species – making others happy, kind gestures at any and every juncture of life – has, as a discipline of enquiry, enjoyed a social scientific renaissance during the last decade. Can natural selection move rapidly enough to meet that ultimate challenge? Can our species re-evolve in real time, moving from the ideas, to the ideals, to their applied engineering in a real world that is ecologically hemorrhaging? Which all the critical moral and cognitive changes in social communion such new human nature, as the Authors suggest, clearly requires?