CHF 2013: Animal

Frans de Waal: The Bonobo and the Atheist

Frans de Waal, recognized for his expertise on primate behavior and social intelligence, has produced some of his field’s most influential research. Having observed chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbors and bonobos share their food, he is convinced that the seeds of ethical behavior are found in primate societies. The translation to humans—their closest living relatives—is a natural step: are we by nature selfish and aggressive, or cooperative and peace-loving, and how have these traits evolved? Join him for a far-ranging exploration of the origins of morality.

This program is generously underwritten by Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross.

Images by Alissa Zhu

Speakers and Performers

Frans de Waal

Frans B. M. de Waal is a Dutch/American behavioral biologist. His first book, Chimpanzee Politics, compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. Ever since, he has drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from peacemaking and morality to culture. His latest book is The Bonobo and the Atheist. De Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in the Psychology Department of Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

Frans de Waal
Profile at Living Links

Good Reads

Morals Without God?
Frans de Waal's contribution to the NYT blog, The Stone
The Evolution of Empathy
An exploration of empathy in humans and animals

Online Resources

Do Animals Have Morals?
Frans de Waal's TEDx talk [video]
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