This is the first volume in the series ‘The Cognitive Science of Human Communication” (eds. by Anzai Y., Imai M., Iriki A., Umeda S., Katayama Y., Kameda T., Hiraki K. and Yamagishi T; five volumes) published by Iwanami Shoten.
The recent remarkable advancements in animal behavioral science and evolutionary biology reveal that a ‘harmonious life’ does exist in many cases among wild animals contrary to the previous perceptions of wild life as “only the strong survive” and “red in tooth and claw.” This book is an approach to this “harmonious life” to probe how it comes about in collective life.
How can people achieve a peaceful and harmonious society? This has been one of the main questions of the humanities and social sciences, from the ancient Greek and Chinese classics up to the modern philosophies of law and politics. Through the ages, thinkers in the humanities and social sciences have argued that human society is able to sustain the “peace and order ” by certain, explicit governing system (sovereign rights, legislative authorities, etc.) and/or social morals and ethics. Thomas Hobbes, a political philosopher of the 17th century, advanced an argument that was representative of this perspective in his Leviathan. Hobbes is well-known for arguing that “a war of every man against every man” results as men of equal dispositions exercise their natural rights freely, and that man must completely surrender his innate natural rights to a sovereign to avoid war and attain cohabitation, peace and justice. He then put forward the argument for absolute monarchism from the viewpoint of social contract theory, replacing the notion of the divine right of kings. From the post-Hobbesian era up to today, many political and legal philosophers advance their theories on human society and various types and designs of governance. The knowledge thus accumulated guides us in designing modern society, concerning the legislative management and administrative structures. New discoveries in biology, meanwhile, have been challenging the knowledge developed in the humanities and social sciences for the last three decades or so. How is it possible that animals, which–as we assume–do not possess explicit systems of laws, governments, social contracts, ethics, or morality, achieve “social cohabitation?” This fundamental question inspires a quest into the major question of what links homo sapiens and humanity, and attracts many leading academics today.
This book addresses various issues concerning cohabitation in society through a cross-examination of biologists and social scientists.
(Written by KAMEDA Tatsuya, Professor, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology / 2017)