Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels

How Human Values Evolve

Author: Ian Morris

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400865514

Category: History

Page: 400

View: 5627

Most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and that violence and wealth inequality are bad. But most people who lived during the 10,000 years before the nineteenth century thought just the opposite. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, biology, and history, Ian Morris explains why. Fundamental long-term changes in values, Morris argues, are driven by the most basic force of all: energy. Humans have found three main ways to get the energy they need—from foraging, farming, and fossil fuels. Each energy source sets strict limits on what kinds of societies can succeed, and each kind of society rewards specific values. But if our fossil-fuel world favors democratic, open societies, the ongoing revolution in energy capture means that our most cherished values are very likely to turn out not to be useful any more. Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels offers a compelling new argument about the evolution of human values, one that has far-reaching implications for how we understand the past—and for what might happen next. Originating as the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, the book includes challenging responses by classicist Richard Seaford, historian of China Jonathan Spence, philosopher Christine Korsgaard, and novelist Margaret Atwood.
Posted in History

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels

How Human Values Evolve

Author: Ian Morris,Stephen Macedo,Christine M. Korsgaard,Jonathan D. Spence

Publisher: University Center for Human Va

ISBN: 9780691175898

Category: History

Page: 400

View: 500

"Most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and that violence and wealth inequality are bad. But most people who lived during the 10,000 years before the nineteenth century thought just the opposite. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, biology, and history, Ian Morris, author of the best-selling Why the West Rules--for Now, explains why. The result is a compelling new argument about the evolution of human values, one that has far-reaching implications for how we understand the past--and for what might happen next. Fundamental long-term changes in values, Morris argues, are driven by the most basic force of all: energy. Humans have found three main ways to get the energy they need--from foraging, farming, and fossil fuels. Each energy source sets strict limits on what kinds of societies can succeed, and each kind of society rewards specific values. In tiny forager bands, people who value equality but are ready to settle problems violently do better than those who aren't; in large farming societies, people who value hierarchy and are less willing to use violence do best; and in huge fossil-fuel societies, the pendulum has swung back toward equality but even further away from violence. But if our fossil-fuel world favors democratic, open societies, the ongoing revolution in energy capture means that our most cherished values are very likely to turn out--at some point fairly soon--not to be useful any more. Originating as the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, the book includes challenging responses by novelist Margaret Atwood, philosopher Christine Korsgaard, classicist Richard Seaford, and historian of China Jonathan Spence"--
Posted in History

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels

How Human Values Evolve

Author: Ian Morris,Richard Seaford,Christine M. Korsgaard,Jonathan D. Spence,Stephen Macedo,Margaret Atwood

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780691160399

Category: History

Page: 369

View: 370

The author of the best-selling Why the West Rules—for Now theorizes on the effect that the evolution of human values has had on democracy and gender equality in the 10,000 years prior to the nineteenth century.
Posted in History

The Measure of Civilization

How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations

Author: Ian Morris

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400844762

Category: Social Science

Page: 400

View: 2204

In the last thirty years, there have been fierce debates over how civilizations develop and why the West became so powerful. The Measure of Civilization presents a brand-new way of investigating these questions and provides new tools for assessing the long-term growth of societies. Using a groundbreaking numerical index of social development that compares societies in different times and places, award-winning author Ian Morris sets forth a sweeping examination of Eastern and Western development across 15,000 years since the end of the last ice age. He offers surprising conclusions about when and why the West came to dominate the world and fresh perspectives for thinking about the twenty-first century. Adapting the United Nations' approach for measuring human development, Morris's index breaks social development into four traits--energy capture per capita, organization, information technology, and war-making capacity--and he uses archaeological, historical, and current government data to quantify patterns. Morris reveals that for 90 percent of the time since the last ice age, the world's most advanced region has been at the western end of Eurasia, but contrary to what many historians once believed, there were roughly 1,200 years--from about 550 to 1750 CE--when an East Asian region was more advanced. Only in the late eighteenth century CE, when northwest Europeans tapped into the energy trapped in fossil fuels, did the West leap ahead. Resolving some of the biggest debates in global history, The Measure of Civilization puts forth innovative tools for determining past, present, and future economic and social trends.
Posted in Social Science

Art & Energy

How Culture Changes

Author: Barry Lord

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 1933253940

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 280

View: 6159

In Art & Energy, Barry Lord argues that human creativity is deeply linked to the resources available on Earth for our survival. From our ancient mastery of fire through our exploitation of coal, oil, and gas, to the development of today's renewable energy sources, each new source of energy fundamentally transforms our art and culture—how we interact with the world, organize our communities, communicate and conceive of and assign value to art. By analyzing art, artists, and museums across eras and continents, Lord demonstrates how our cultural values and artistic expression are formed by our efforts to access and control the energy sources that make these cultures possible.
Posted in Business & Economics

Why the West Rules - For Now

The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

Author: Ian Morris

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

ISBN: 1551995816

Category: History

Page: 768

View: 5310

Why does the West rule? In this magnum opus, eminent Stanford polymath Ian Morris answers this provocative question, drawing on 50,000 years of history, archeology, and the methods of social science, to make sense of when, how, and why the paths of development differed in the East and West — and what this portends for the 21st century. There are two broad schools of thought on why the West rules. Proponents of "Long-Term Lock-In" theories such as Jared Diamond suggest that from time immemorial, some critical factor — geography, climate, or culture perhaps — made East and West unalterably different, and determined that the industrial revolution would happen in the West and push it further ahead of the East. But the East led the West between 500 and 1600, so this development can't have been inevitable; and so proponents of "Short-Term Accident" theories argue that Western rule was a temporary aberration that is now coming to an end, with Japan, China, and India resuming their rightful places on the world stage. However, as the West led for 9,000 of the previous 10,000 years, it wasn't just a temporary aberration. So, if we want to know why the West rules, we need a whole new theory. Ian Morris, boldly entering the turf of Jared Diamond and Niall Ferguson, provides the broader approach that is necessary, combining the textual historian's focus on context, the anthropological archaeologist's awareness of the deep past, and the social scientist's comparative methods to make sense of the past, present, and future — in a way no one has ever done before. From the Hardcover edition.
Posted in History

War! What Is It Good For?

Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots

Author: Ian Morris

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374711038

Category: History

Page: 512

View: 608

A powerful and provocative exploration of how war has changed our society—for the better "War! . . . . / What is it good for? / Absolutely nothing," says the famous song—but archaeology, history, and biology show that war in fact has been good for something. Surprising as it sounds, war has made humanity safer and richer. In War! What Is It Good For?, the renowned historian and archaeologist Ian Morris tells the gruesome, gripping story of fifteen thousand years of war, going beyond the battles and brutality to reveal what war has really done to and for the world. Stone Age people lived in small, feuding societies and stood a one-in-ten or even one-in-five chance of dying violently. In the twentieth century, by contrast—despite two world wars, Hiroshima, and the Holocaust—fewer than one person in a hundred died violently. The explanation: War, and war alone, has created bigger, more complex societies, ruled by governments that have stamped out internal violence. Strangely enough, killing has made the world safer, and the safety it has produced has allowed people to make the world richer too. War has been history's greatest paradox, but this searching study of fifteen thousand years of violence suggests that the next half century is going to be the most dangerous of all time. If we can survive it, the age-old dream of ending war may yet come to pass. But, Morris argues, only if we understand what war has been good for can we know where it will take us next.
Posted in History

Endangered Languages

Language Loss and Community Response

Author: Lenore A. Grenoble,Lindsay J. Whaley

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521597128

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 361

View: 1252

This book provides an overview of the issues surrounding language loss. It brings together work by theoretical linguists, field linguists, and non-linguist members of minority communities to provide an integrated view of how language is lost, from sociological and economic as well as from linguistic perspectives. The contributions to the volume fall into four categories. The chapters by Dorian and Grenoble and Whaley provide an overview of language endangerment. Grinevald, England, Jacobs, and Nora and Richard Dauenhauer describe the situation confronting threatened languages from both a linguistic and sociological perspective. The understudied issue of what (beyond a linguistic system) can be lost as a language ceases to be spoken is addressed by Mithun, Hale, Jocks, and Woodbury. In the last section, Kapanga, Myers-Scotton, and Vakhtin consider the linguistic processes which underlie language attrition.
Posted in Language Arts & Disciplines

Language and Nationalism in Europe

Author: Stephen Barbour,Cathie Carmichael

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191584077

Category:

Page: 332

View: 6233

This book examines the role of language in the present and past creation of social, cultural, and national identities in Europe. It considers the way in which language may sometimes reinforce national identity (as in England) while tending to subvert the nation-state (as in the United Kingdom). After an introduction describing the interactive roles of language, ethnicity, culture, and institutions in the character and formation of nationalism and identity, the book considers their different manifestations throughout Europe. Chapters are devoted to Britain and Ireland; France; Spain and Portugal; Scandinavia; the Netherlands and Belgium; Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg; Italy; Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic; Bulgaria, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Albania, Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo; Greece and Turkey; the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, the Baltic States, and the Russian Federation. The book concludes with a consideration of the current relative status of the languages of Europe and how these and the identities they reflect are changing and evolving.
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Conquerors

How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire

Author: Roger Crowley

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 0812994019

Category: History

Page: 400

View: 9143

In Conquerors, New York Times bestselling author Roger Crowley gives us the epic story of the emergence of Portugal, a small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers—a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal’s discovery of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy. Crowley relies on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of tiny Portugal’s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Conquerors reveals the Império Português in all of its splendor and ferocity, bringing to life the personalities of the enterprising and fanatical house of Aviz. Figures such as King Manuel “the Fortunate,” João II “the Perfect Prince,” marauding governor Afonso de Albuquerque, and explorer Vasco da Gama juggled their private ambitions and the public aims of the empire, often suffering astonishing losses in pursuit of a global fortune. Also central to the story of Portugal’s ascent was its drive to eradicate Islamic culture and establish a Christian empire in the Indian Ocean. Portuguese explorers pushed deep into the African continent in search of the mythical Christian king Prester John, and they ruthlessly besieged Indian port cities in their attempts to monopolize trade. The discovery of a route to India around the horn of Africa was not only a brilliant breakthrough in navigation but heralded a complete upset of the world order. For the next century, no European empire was more ambitious, no rulers more rapacious than the kings of Portugal. In the process they created the first long-range maritime empire and set in motion the forces of globalization that now shape our world. At Crowley’s hand, the complete story of the Portuguese empire and the human cost of its ambition can finally be told. Praise for Conquerors “Excellent . . . Crowley’s interpretations are nuanced and fair.”—The Christian Science Monitor “In a riveting narrative, Crowley chronicles Portugal's horrifically violent trajectory from ‘impoverished, marginal’ nation to European power, vying with Spain and Venice to dominate the spice trade.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Brings to life the Portuguese explorers . . . perfect for anyone who likes a high seas tale.”—Publishers Weekly “Readers of Crowley’s previous books will not be disappointed by this exciting tale of sea battles, land campaigns and shipwrecks. . . . Crowley makes a good case for reclaiming Portugal’s significance as forger of the first global empire.”—The Daily Telegraph “Crowley has shown a rare gift for combining compelling narrative with lightly worn academic thoroughness as well as for balancing the human with the geopolitical—qualities on display here. The story he has to tell may be a thrilling one but not every historian could tell it so thrillingly.”—Michael Prodger, Financial Times “A fast-moving and highly readable narrative . . . [Crowley’s] detailed reconstruction of events is based on a close reading of the works of the chroniclers, notably Barros and Correa, whose accounts were written in the tradition of the chronicles of chivalry.”—History Today
Posted in History

Burial and Ancient Society

The Rise of the Greek City-State

Author: Ian Morris

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521387385

Category: Social Science

Page: 262

View: 3557

This study of the changing relationships between burial rituals and social structure in Early Iron Age Greece will be required reading for all archaeologists working with burial evidence, in whatever period. This book differs from many topical studies of state formation in that unique and particular developments are given as much weight as those factors which are common to all early states. The ancient literary evidence and the relevant historical and anthropological comparisons are extensively drawn on in an attempt to explain the transition to the city-state, a development which was to have decisive effects for the subsequent development of European society.
Posted in Social Science

The Gaia Hypothesis

Science on a Pagan Planet

Author: Michael Ruse

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022606039X

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 4700

In 1965 English scientist James Lovelock had a flash of insight: the Earth is not just teeming with life; the Earth, in some sense, is life. He mulled this revolutionary idea over for several years, first with his close friend the novelist William Golding, and then in an extensive collaboration with the American scientist Lynn Margulis. In the early 1970s, he finally went public with the Gaia hypothesis, the idea that everything happens for an end: the good of planet Earth. Lovelock and Margulis were scorned by professional scientists, but the general public enthusiastically embraced Lovelock and his hypothesis. People joined Gaia groups; churches had Gaia services, sometimes with new music written especially for the occasion. There was a Gaia atlas, Gaia gardening, Gaia herbs, Gaia retreats, Gaia networking, and much more. And the range of enthusiasts was—and still is—broad. In The Gaia Hypothesis, philosopher Michael Ruse, with his characteristic clarity and wit, uses Gaia and its history, its supporters and detractors, to illuminate the nature of science itself. Gaia emerged in the 1960s, a decade when authority was questioned and status and dignity stood for nothing, but its story is much older. Ruse traces Gaia’s connection to Plato and a long history of goal-directed and holistic—or organicist—thinking and explains why Lovelock and Margulis’s peers rejected it as pseudoscience. But Ruse also shows why the project was a success. He argues that Lovelock and Margulis should be commended for giving philosophy firm scientific basis and for provoking important scientific discussion about the world as a whole, its homeostasis or—in this age of global environmental uncertainty—its lack thereof. Melding the world of science and technology with the world of feeling, mysticism, and religion, The Gaia Hypothesis will appeal to a broad range of readers, from students and scholars of the history and philosophy of science to anyone interested in New Age culture.
Posted in Science

A New Companion to Homer

Author: Ian Morris,Barry B. Powell

Publisher: BRILL

ISBN: 9789004099890

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 755

View: 9363

This volume is the first English-language survey of Homeric studies to appear for more than a generation, and the first such work to attempt to cover all fields comprehensively. Thirty leading scholars from Europe and America provide short, authoritative overviews of the state of knowledge and current controversies in the many specialist divisions in Homeric studies. The chapters pay equal attention to literary, mythological, linguistic, historical, and archaeological topics, ranging from such long-established problems as the "Homeric Question" to newer issues like the relevance of narratology and computer-assisted quantification. The collection, the third publication in Brill's handbook series, "The Classical Tradition," will be valuable at every level of study - from the general student of literature to the Homeric specialist seeking a general understanding of the latest developments across the whole range of Homeric scholarship.
Posted in Literary Criticism

The Tragedy of the European Union

Disintegration or Revival?

Author: George Soros

Publisher: Public Affairs

ISBN: 1610394216

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 208

View: 1705

The European Union could soon be a thing of the past. Xenophobia is rampant and commonly reflected in elections across the continent. Great Britain may hold a referendum on whether to abandon the union altogether. Spurred by anti-EU sentiments due to the euro crisis, national interests conflict with a shared vision for the future of Europe. Is it too late to preserve the union that generated unprecedented peace for more than half a century? This is no mere academic question with limited importance for America and the rest of the world. In the past decade, the EU has declined from a unified global power to a fractious confederation of states with staggering unemployment resentfully seeking relief from a reluctant Germany. If the EU collapses and the former member states are transformed again from partners into rivals, the US and the world will confront the serious economic and political consequences that follow. In a series of revealing interviews conducted by Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz, George Soros—a man of vast European experience whose personal past informs his present concerns—offers trenchant commentary and concise, prescriptive advice: The euro crisis was not an inevitable consequence of integration, but a result of avoidable mistakes in politics, economics, and finance; and excessive faith in the self-regulating financial markets that Soros calls market fundamentalism inspired flawed institutional structures that call out for reform. Despite the considerable perils of this period, George Soros maintains his faith in the European Union as a model of open society. This book is a testament to his vision for a peaceful and productive Europe.
Posted in Business & Economics

Reason in a Dark Time

Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed -- and What It Means for Our Future

Author: Dale Jamieson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199337675

Category: Nature

Page: 288

View: 5449

From the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference there was a concerted international effort to stop climate change. Yet greenhouse gas emissions increased, atmospheric concentrations grew, and global warming became an observable fact of life. In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, the volume also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change. Our failure to prevent or even to respond significantly to climate change, Jamieson argues, reflects the impoverishment of our systems of practical reason, the paralysis of our politics, and the limits of our cognitive and affective capacities. The climate change that is underway is remaking the world in such a way that familiar comforts, places, and ways of life will disappear in years or decades rather than centuries. Climate change also threatens our sense of meaning, since it is difficult to believe that our individual actions matter. The challenges that climate change presents go beyond the resources of common sense morality -- it can be hard to view such everyday acts as driving and flying as presenting moral problems. Yet there is much that we can do to slow climate change, to adapt to it and restore a sense of agency while living meaningful lives in a changing world.
Posted in Nature

On Deep History and the Brain

Author: Daniel Lord Smail

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520252899

Category: History

Page: 271

View: 8755

"This is surely a new paradigm for the study of history that will be regarded as revolutionary but which is also well justified. To my knowledge, no other book integrates the study of human history with principles of biological and cultural evolution on such an ambitious scale."--David Sloan Wilson, author of Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion and the Nature of Society "This is one of the most exciting books I've read in years. It is so accessible, so groundbreaking, so stimulating, so important that I imagine the next generation of historians will be deeply influenced by what Smail has to say here. Simply dazzling."--Lynn Hunt, author of Inventing Human Rights
Posted in History

Against the Grain

A Deep History of the Earliest States

Author: James C. Scott

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300231687

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 3933

An account of all the new and surprising evidence now available for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations that contradict the standard narrative Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction. Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the “barbarians” who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.
Posted in History

A Different Kind of Animal: How Culture Transformed Our Species

How Culture Transformed Our Species

Author: Robert Boyd

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400888522

Category: Science

Page: 248

View: 6165

How our ability to learn from each other has been the essential ingredient to our remarkable success as a species Human beings are a very different kind of animal. We have evolved to become the most dominant species on Earth. We have a larger geographical range and process more energy than any other creature alive. This astonishing transformation is usually explained in terms of cognitive ability—people are just smarter than all the rest. But in this compelling book, Robert Boyd argues that culture—our ability to learn from each other—has been the essential ingredient of our remarkable success. A Different Kind of Animal demonstrates that while people are smart, we are not nearly smart enough to have solved the vast array of problems that confronted our species as it spread across the globe. Over the past two million years, culture has evolved to enable human populations to accumulate superb local adaptations that no individual could ever have invented on their own. It has also made possible the evolution of social norms that allow humans to make common cause with large groups of unrelated individuals, a kind of society not seen anywhere else in nature. This unique combination of cultural adaptation and large-scale cooperation has transformed our species and assured our survival—making us the different kind of animal we are today. Based on the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, A Different Kind of Animal features challenging responses by biologist H. Allen Orr, philosopher Kim Sterelny, economist Paul Seabright, and evolutionary anthropologist Ruth Mace, as well as an introduction by Stephen Macedo.
Posted in Science

The Creation of Inequality

How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire

Author: Kent Flannery

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674064976

Category: History

Page: 622

View: 6030

Flannery and Marcus demonstrate that the rise of inequality was not simply the result of population increase, food surplus, or the accumulation of valuables but resulted from conscious manipulation of the unique social logic that lies at the core of every human group. Reversing the social logic can reverse inequality, they argue, without violence.
Posted in History

Winds of Change

Short Stories about Our Climate

Author: Robert Sassor

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781927685150

Category:

Page: 274

View: 7172

Winds of Change: Short Stories about Our Climate is a diverse collection of eighteen insightful, witty, and emotional short stories about climate change. The selected stories are the result of a short story contest run by Eco-fiction.com in the summer of 2014. In collaboration with 100,000 Poets (Artists/Authors) for Change, Eco-fiction.com engaged authors from Vancouver, BC, and other places around the world, to create speculative fiction about a harsh reality: our planet-at-risk. With a foreword by Michael Rothenberg, Winds of Change also includes several poems by Stephen Siperstein and Carolyn Welch. "About time some serious writers and artists engaged with the biggest issue of our time-maybe all time. These stories show that engagement fully underway!" -Bill McKibben, founder 350.org
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