Santa Fe Institute

Lethal weapons as instruments of human social organization

Oct. 29, 2012 8:42 a.m.

SFI External Professor Herbert Gintis is featured in an article that explores an emerging hypothesis that projectile weapons were an important driver of early human social organization.

"At the heart of this theory is a simple idea: the invention of weapons that could kill at a distance meant that power became uncoupled from physical strength," the article reads. "Even the puniest subordinate could now kill an alpha male, with the right weapon and a reasonable aim. Those who wanted power were forced to obtain it by other means – persuasion, cunning, charm – and so began the drive for the cognitive attributes that make us human."

Read the article in New Scientist (October 13, 2012, subscription required)

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