The End of War

The End of War

by John Horgan

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War is a fact of human nature. As long as we exist, it exists. That's how the argument goes.

But longtime Scientific American writer John Horgan disagrees. Applying the scientific method to war leads Horgan to a radical conclusion: biologically speaking, we are just as likely to be peaceful as violent. War is not preordained, and furthermore, it should be thought of as a solvable, scientific problem—like curing cancer. But war and cancer differ in at least one crucial way: whereas cancer is a stubborn aspect of nature, war is our creation. It’s our choice whether to unmake it or not.

In this compact, methodical treatise, Horgan examines dozens of examples and counterexamples—discussing chimpanzees and bonobos, warring and peaceful indigenous people, the World War I and Vietnam, Margaret Mead and General Sherman—as he finds his way to war’s complicated origins. Horgan argues for a far-reaching paradigm shift with profound implications for policy students, ethicists, military men and women, teachers, philosophers, or really, any engaged citizen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938073120
Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
Publication date: 08/12/2014
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey, John Horgan is a prize-winning journalist who has written for Scientific American , the New York Times , Time , Newsweek , the Washington Post , the Los Angeles Times , the New Republic , Slate , Discover , the London Times , the Times Literary Supplement , New Scientist , and other publications around the world. His previous books include The End of Science , published in 1996.

Table of Contents

Foreword 11


Living in Wartime 19

Chapter 1 War is Not Innate 35

Chapter 2 You Can't Blame It All on a Few Bad Apples 63

Chapter 3 Does Resource Scarcity Make Us Fight? (No, Not Necessarily) 85

Chapter 4 Is War a Cultural Contagion? (Yes) 107

Chapter 5 Choosing Peace 133

Chapter 6 The Power of Nonviolence 159

Epilogue: In Defense of Free Will 183

Appendix: A Brief Prehistory of Violence 191

Endnotes 197

Selected Bibliography 235

Index by Subject 243

Acknowledgements 253

About the Author 256

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