Browsing Archives of Author »Peter Turchin«

Cooperation: this time, between Man and Woman

October 20, 2014


As I wrote in a previous blog, the first five weeks of this semester I spent away in Europe. During the first part of the trip I ran five Seshat workshops in Oxford, and then I went to Toulouse. What makes Toulouse and Oxford similar is that they are both homes to some of the […]

The History Manifesto against ‘Short-Termism’

October 14, 2014


David Armitage and Jo Guldi, two historians at Harvard and Brown, respectively, wrote an interesting article for the Aeon Magazine, Bonfire of the Humanities. Incidentally, Aeon is shaping up very nicely as a reliable source for thoughtful (and not dumbed-down) articles on a spectrum of interesting topics. Full disclosure: I published two articles in it […]

Five Seshat Workshops

October 9, 2014


Over the last five weeks I have been away from home, and I find that when I am traveling, it’s difficult to get in the mood for blog-writing. The whole point of blogging for me is that it should be relatively effortless. I typically write blogs in the evenings, and almost never during the workday. […]

The New Guinea Puzzle

September 1, 2014


On several occasions, when I presented the results of our model and data analysis that support the idea that the primary engine of the evolution of large-scale states is warfare, people objected by saying that there are lots of places on earth where warfare is very intense, but no states formed. One of the most […]

Counterproductive Way of War

August 28, 2014


Over the last two years I’ve written a number of blogs exploring the role of warfare in cultural group selection (you can see these blogs collected under the heading Ways of War in Popular Blogs and Series). Today I’d like to return to the question, What makes war productive as an engine of cultural evolution? […]

The War over War, Part II

August 18, 2014


In the first installment I argued against extreme positions about the prevalence of warfare in the Pleistocene. One problem underlying the controversy over warfare in the early human history is that different people use different definitions of war. So let me be clear and say what definition I use. It comes from the questions and […]

The War over War

August 12, 2014


I periodically get asked, what do I think about the controversy over Steven Pinker’s Better Angels? Truth is, I did not find anything particularly new in the book. For those of us interested in the role of war in social evolution most of the empirical material he goes over is quite familiar. There is a […]


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