The Moral Animal

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The Moral Animal
The Moral Animal, first edition.jpg
Cover of the first edition
AuthorRobert Wright
CountryUnited States
SubjectsSocial evolution, Evolutionary psychology, Morality, Ethics
PublisherVintage Books
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages466 pages (paperback)
ISBN0-679-76399-6 (1st edition, hardcover)

The Moral Animal is a 1994 book by the journalist Robert Wright, in which the author explores many aspects of everyday life through evolutionary biology.


Wright explores many aspects of everyday life through evolutionary biology. He provides Darwinian explanations for human behavior and psychology, social dynamics and structures, as well as people's relationships with lovers, friends, and family.

Wright borrows extensively from Charles Darwin's better-known publications, including On the Origin of Species (1859), but also from his chronicles and personal writings, illustrating behavioral principles with Darwin's own biographical examples.


The New York Times Book Review chose The Moral Animal as one of the 12 best books of 1994; it was a national bestseller and has been published in 12 languages. The paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould criticized the book in The New York Review of Books.[1] In a somewhat critical review of the book, neurologist Amy Wax wrote that "One measure of his [Wright's] success is that most of the incoherences in the book can be traced to weaknesses in the body of work he seeks to present, and not in Wright's exposition."[2] The linguist Steven Pinker in a review in the New York Times Book Review praised The Moral Animal as "fiercely intelligent, beautifully written and engrossingly original book", but found fault with the author's "larger ethical arguments."[3]

See also[edit]


Bibliographical information[edit]

  • Robert Wright (1995-08-29). The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology. Vintage. ISBN 978-0-679-76399-4.

External links[edit]