To quickly follow up on my last post: I don’t want to give the impression that Frans de Waal is not an important thinker on topics like culture, society and morality. He is. I almost always take something valuable away from an encounter with de Waal. But I am also sometimes puzzled by how de Waal positions his own work.
I was reading an interesting interview with de Waal here, which is what got me thinking about him and digressing about him below. I highly recommend reading this interview and other work by de Waal, because I think he far too often gets misconstrued as some sort of sentimentalist Margaret Mead II, which he is not at all. He is hard headed about things and pretty instructive about the heavy ideological valence of a lot of recent discussion around the topic of human nature and evolution.
Also while doing some quick research on this topic I stumbled upon Letters from Le Vrai, which seems pre-occupied with many of the same topics I’ve been on about recently. Also well worth reading.