The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley


The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley ISBN: 9780140244045. Why are people nice to each other? What are the reasons for altruism? This book explains how the human mind has evolved a special instinct for social exchange, offering a lucid and persuasive argument about the paradox of human benevolence.

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‘A brilliant, lucid insight into the profound implications of modern biological thinking . . . With this book Matt Ridley establishes himself as one of the finest of contemporary science writers’ – Bryan Appleyard ‘Are we driven by a profoundly selfish, determinist impulse? OR is there an escape clause that enables us to be genuinely unselfish and good? . . . In an era in which biological science is challenging traditional ethics, he has raised the debate to a new level of seriousness and importance . . . a fine and intelligent writer’ – John Cornwell in the Sunday Times ‘Enthralling and provocative – up with the very best products of this golden age of accessible science writing . . . A fascinating and illuminating argument’ – Penelope Lively in the Daily Telegraph ‘Matt Ridley’s splendid book studies co-operation (and conflict) from the genes themselves to modern technological societies . . . ‘Our minds have been built by selfishness, but they have been built to be social, trustworthy and co-operative. That is the paradox this book has tried to explain.’ It has done it brilliantly’ – A.S. Byatt in the Express on Sunday ‘The thesis is attractive and well supported with evidence drawn from many disciplines’ – Laurence Hurst in the New Scientist ‘A tour de force – dashing, apophthegmatic, ingenious in argument and beautifully constructed – Galen Strawson in The Times Literary Supplement

Additional information

Weight 224 g
Dimensions 197 × 133 × 18 mm
Number of Pages


Paperback / softback