The Aggression Systems
Human Aggression - Introduction Page 5

Table of Contents


Preface Pages 1 - 2


Human aggression - introduction Pages 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8


Evolution of aggression - introduction Pages  9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14


Brain mechanisms of aggression - introduction Pages 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20


Dynamics of aggression - introduction Pages 21 - 22 - 23


Certainly, one cannot claim that all expressions of anger and aggression are positive. Instead, whether aggression is positive or negative depends upon the social context and the assessment that one makes of positive and negative forces for social progress/in the world.

But what about the claim that individual aggression is the cause of social evils such as war? This claim is considered and rejected in the initial paper reprinted here: On the Role of Anger in War and Peace. There are two myths upon which the claims are based: the myth that war is instinctive and the myth that humanity is inherently evil.

The myth that war is instinctive is based upon a number of popular misconceptions, including two that are specifically dispelled in the papers presented here. First, it is often claimed that warriors themselves are motivated by individual aggression. This is shown to be false by a close analysis of the behavior of warriors in so-called "primitive" warfare (See the reprint of There Is No Instinct for War). Second, it is said that war must be instinctive because of the fact that men tend to be warriors rather than women. In the reprinted papers of Biology Does Not Make Men More Aggressive than Women and Why There Are So Few Women Warriors , it is shown how women have been excluded from warfare not so much because of sex differences in aggressiveness or strength, but instead because of a contradiction arising from marital residency systems. This contradiction arose, in turn, as a function of war.

The myths and misconceptions about the causes of war reflect a fundamental confusion about the causation of human institutional behavior. Social institutions are not simply the sum of individual behaviors, but have laws of development and change that must be studied as such. War, for example, should be studied in the same way that we study other social institutions such as marriage, slavery. colonialism, state formations, international organizations, economic institutions, etc.

(Continued on next page)

previous page
home page
next page