Why Humans Cooperate: A Cultural and Evolutionary Explanation

Natalie Henrich; Joseph Henrich

My review 2021-05-25

Argues for the hypothesis that human cooperation and culture must be viewed in an evolutionary context. Genetic and cultural evolution are two parallel processes that have affected the emergence of modern Homo sapiens. The propensity for culture has created a new environment for human genetic evolution. The authors discuss the limits of the usual explanations for human cooperation: kinship, reciprocity and game theory. These are valid, but insufficient, to explain all phenomena regarding human culture and cooperation. I find the exposition very readable. It combines an ethnography of the Chaldeans in Detroit with a review of the theoretical framework proposed by the authors.