A Talent for Friendship: Rediscovery of a Remarkable Trait

ISBN : 9780199386451

John Edward Terrell
320 ページ
162 x 242 mm

This book frames our biological and psychological capacity to make friends as an evolved ability, comparing friendship to other evolved traits of human beings such as walking upright on two legs, having opposable thumbs and a prominent chin, and possessing the capacity for speech and complex abstract reasoning. Professor John Terrell investigates how the human brain has evolved to perform two functions essential to friendship that, at first glance, appear to be at odds with one another: remaking the outside world to suit our collective needs, and escaping into our own inner thoughts and imagining how things might and ought to be. We must all deal with our species' hereditary legacy-that we are social animals who need to include others in our lives for our biological and psychological survival. Yet we are also able to exercise the cognitive freedom to detach from the adaptive realities and demands of life. These thought patterns have important consequences for how we understand aggression and cooperation. Terrell claims that conflict is best understood in terms of friendship-as challenges that emerge when we are forced to reconcile the inner, private worlds of our imaginations with the experienced realities of our daily lives and each other.


Part I. What Makes Us Human?
1. Being Human
2. Baron von Pufendorf
3. Ghost Theories
4. The Secret Lives of Lou, Laurence, and Leslie
Part II. The Archaeology of Friendship
5. Suddenly All Was Chaos
6. A Wimpy Idea
7. In the Footsteps of A. B. Lewis
8. Confronting the Obvious
9. The Archaeology of Friendship
10. The Sign of the Sea Turtle
11. Drawing Conclusions
Part III. Selfish Desires
12. Houston, We've Had a Problem
13. You Can't Get There From Here
14. The Wizard of Down House
15. The Numbers Game
Part IV. The Social Baseline
16. Animal Cooperation
17. The Question of Animal Awareness
18. Babies and Big Brains
19. Mission Impossible
Part V. Social Being
20. Alone in a Crowd
21. A State of Mind
22. It's Who You Know
23. Bloodlust, Fear, and Other Emotions
Part VI. Principles To Live By
24. The Lady or the Tiger?
25. A Kiss is Just a Kiss?
26. Friend or Facebook?
27. What was the Garden of Eden like?
28. The Strength of Weak Ties
29. Meet Me on the Marae
30. Being in a Family Way


John Edward Terrell, Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago