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Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny af…
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Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny (original 2000; udgave 2001)

af Robert Wright

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,1491612,895 (3.95)17
In a book sure to stir argument for years to come, Robert Wright challenges the conventional view that biological evolution and human history are aimless. Ingeniously employing game theory - the logic of 'zero-sum' and 'non-zero-sum' games - Wright isolates the impetus behind life's basic direction: the impetus that, via biological evolution, created complex, intelligent animals, and then via cultural evolution, pushed the human species towards deeper and vaster social complexity. In this view, the coming of today's independent global society was 'in the cards' - not quite inevitable, but, as Wright puts it, 'so probable as to inspire wonder'. In a narrative of breathtaking scope and erudition, yet pungent wit, Wright takes on some of the past century's most prominent thinkers, including Isaiah Berlin, Karl Popper, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins. Wright argues that a coolly specific appraisal of humanity's three-billion-year past can give new spiritual meaning to the present and even offer political guidance for the future. This book will change the way people think about the human prospect.… (mere)
Medlem:Brad_W
Titel:Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
Forfattere:Robert Wright
Info:Vintage (2001), Paperback, 448 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek, Skal læses
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny af Robert Wright (2000)

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Engelsk (15)  Hollandsk (1)  Alle sprog (16)
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I really wanted to like this book. I am sympathetic to its general premise: that human history is generally "Whiggish" and has moved in the direction of greater peace and prosperity over time. (I loved Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, which made a similar point but in what I found a much more solid manner.) And I found its opening chapters, looking at pre-state societies through anthropological and archaeological, to be fascinating.

But as Wright moved forward in development, from pre-historical states to the realm of history, I grew less enchanted. This wasn't a coincidence: I know a lot more about classical, medieval and early modern history than I do about prehistory and anthropology, and I immediately identified where Wright's breezy, 10,000-foot view was omitting important counterexamples. (One immediate one: his dismissal of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire as a relative nonevent ran directly against The Evolution of God: it was similarly breezy, as well as sharing a similar obsession with the philosopher Philo of Alexandria.)

I like big-picture books. I just think Wright's historical case could have done with another 100 pages worth of examples. Perhaps those could have been inserted in place of the book's misplaced second section, which detoured from cultural evolution back to biological evolution to reapply the same thesis.

Of course, I don't need to wish for that. Pinker's more solidly written Better Angels essentially took Wright's general thesis, stripped it of his metaphysical musings, and backed it up with a bevy of prehistorical, historical and psychological research to produce a much more compelling read. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
Could not read it

Big Ship ( )
  bigship | Oct 16, 2018 |
I enjoyed the book, although I found it a bit too dense. Thoroughly researched, but took too long to get the messsges across which therefore became a little lost. The main idea is that humans are shaped by both biological and cultural evolution. That biological is no longer determining natural selection, that there is an inevitable direction towards increasing complexity, that if humans hadn’t evolved intelligence, another animal would have. And not one necessarily closely related to us. Eg dolphins show many traits of cultural evolution. I got a bit lost about the idea of purpose in the design of life. Recommended for the hardy few. ( )
  jvgravy | Jan 1, 2018 |
Didn't read all of this ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
Didn't read all of this ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
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In a book sure to stir argument for years to come, Robert Wright challenges the conventional view that biological evolution and human history are aimless. Ingeniously employing game theory - the logic of 'zero-sum' and 'non-zero-sum' games - Wright isolates the impetus behind life's basic direction: the impetus that, via biological evolution, created complex, intelligent animals, and then via cultural evolution, pushed the human species towards deeper and vaster social complexity. In this view, the coming of today's independent global society was 'in the cards' - not quite inevitable, but, as Wright puts it, 'so probable as to inspire wonder'. In a narrative of breathtaking scope and erudition, yet pungent wit, Wright takes on some of the past century's most prominent thinkers, including Isaiah Berlin, Karl Popper, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins. Wright argues that a coolly specific appraisal of humanity's three-billion-year past can give new spiritual meaning to the present and even offer political guidance for the future. This book will change the way people think about the human prospect.

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