Recent advances in the understanding of human sociality
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Contributor(s): Professor Joseph Heath | Major unanswered questions involve the relationship between biological and sociocultural factors in promoting cooperativeness, as well as the vulnerability of human social systems to stagnation or collapse. We have amassed a great deal of theory regarding these questions, but our scientific knowledge remains fragmented. In recent years, however, a few pieces of the puzzle have begun to be fitted together. In this lecture Joseph Heath discusses two important advances: first, gene-culture coevolutionary theory, which has shed light on a number of fundamental questions about the early emergence of human sociality, and second, recent work on the development of hierarchy and the state, which has made it possible integrate fundamental sociological insights about how complex societies are maintained. He will attempt to show how these advances move us closer to having a unified scientific understanding of human sociality.