Why war? Motivations for fighting in the human state of nature

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter addresses the causes of fighting among hunter-gatherers, whose way of life represents 99.5% of the history of the genus Homo and about 90% of that of Homo sapiens sapiens. Based on anthropological observations on the behavior of extant and recently extinct hunter-gatherer societies, compared with animal behavior, the chapter begins with somatic and reproductive causes. It proceeds to demonstrate that other motives, such as dominance, revenge, the security dilemma, and pugnacity, originally arose from the somatic and reproductive competition. Rather than being separate, all motives come together in an integrated motivational complex, shaped by the logic of evolution and natural selection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMind the Gap
Subtitle of host publicationTracing the Origins of Human Universals
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783642027253
ISBN (Print)9783642027246
StatePublished - 2010


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