By James Silverberg, J. Patrick Gray
This e-book explores the position of aggression in primate social platforms and its implications for human habit.
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Extra info for Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates
In a "triangle": a pecks b, b pecks c, and c again pecks a. [Perhaps] strength has given a despotism over b, courage has made b despot over c, and circumstances have caused c to become despot over a (Schjelderup-Ebbe 1935:952-953). His admonitions about the single-determinant fallacy and the frequency of triangles (Sade's "cycles," Chapter 3) have often been ignored, as mass media popularizers and some scientific ethologists resonated back and forth to stereotype the dominance hierarchy as linear (transitive), rigid and based essentially on fighting ability.
He argues that such explanations are simplistic: they neglect the role human consciousness plays when actors interpret social events as situations where violence is an acceptable, or even the only possible, response. ) determined by forces that individuals cannot control. Robarchek seeks to replace this image of humans as reactive entities and to explain violence and war as resulting from the behavior of humans who are: active decision makers picking their ways through fields of options and constraints in pursuit of individually and culturally defined goals in a culturally constituted reality which they themselves are actively constructing (Robarchek 1989:904; for a similar perspective on the role of human cognition in explaining preindustrial warfare, see Vayda (1989)).
It does not, however, allow him to reject the Equality (EQ) hypothesis stating that the pattern results from a situation where it is just as difficult for A to defeat X, who is far removed in the dominance hierarchy, as it is for A to defeat B, who is only one step below in the hierarchy. As Sade notes, this finding contradicts the common assumption that rank differences between animals correlate with differences in fighting ability, meaning that, at the very least, individuals in the lower portion of the hierarchy are significantly weaker or less capable in fighting, than those in the upper portion.