One of Australia's brightest philosophers charts the evolution of morality from the first humans to today, and shows us how we can turn towards a better future.
Over thousands of years, humans have developed mechanisms to help us live together in ever-larger social groups. We developed a set of 'moral emotions' such as empathy, guilt and outrage, as well as a tendency to favour people in our in-groups and a propensity to punish perceived wrongdoers. Our culture also evolved, giving us powerful tools like religion and politics that could expand community sizes and maintain moral order.
While these mechanisms served our ancestors well, though, our evolved sense of right and wrong is out of step with the modern world. Social media can turn outrage into an addiction, gender equality is still hampered by caveman thinking, and implicit bias turns to explicit oppression. How do we separate what's natural from what's right? How can we reshape our thinking to thrive in the modern world?
Praise for How We Became Human:
'In the battle of our genes, our minds, our souls, which wins? Hate and love, good and evil, right and wrong. Let Tim Dean unlock the mystery of being human. There are some thinkers just made for our times: Dean is one of them.' Stan Grant
Dr Tim Dean is a philosopher and award-winning writer and teacher. He has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of New South Wales on the evolution of morality, and specialises in ethics, critical thinking, the philosophy of science and philosophy education. He is also an experienced science writer and editor, and was the Science & Technology Editor at The Conversation. Tim is the recipient of the Australasian Association of Philosophy Media Professionals' Award for his work on philosophy in the public sphere. He is an Honorary Associate in the Philosophy department at the University of Sydney and a core faculty member at The School of Life. He also teaches workshops on ethics and critical thinking to children through the Primary Ethics program in New South Wales and in high schools around Australia.