War and Human Nature: Crash Course World History [10:36]


War is a dominant part of world history and many have argued that it is an equally important and innate part of human nature, ingrained in both our sociology and psychology.  However, there are many philosophers, sociologists, and others who increasingly argue against this thesis.  The cycle can be broken and dispositions overcome.  Crash Course provides a great introduction to this discussion, citing great thinkers and research in archaeology, anthropology, evolutionary psychology, and other fields.

Discussion Questions

  • What are Hobbes’ and Rousseau’s competing views of human nature and violence?  Which do you think was more right?  Do you agree with modern archaeology and anthropology’s assessment?
  • Did pre-historic societies even have ‘war’ as we know it?  What might they ‘group conflicts’ have been like?
  • What are some plausible evolutionary psychological explanations of violence and group conflict?  What is the scarce resources explanation?  What is the group identity explanation?
  • Do you think that we are biologically disposed to war and have to be taught peace, or vice verse?  Or is it a combination of nature and nurture?

Keywords: war, history, world, global, conflict, human nature, society, politics, fighting, psychology, sociology, violence, culture


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