Why Are Men So Violent?

Why Are Men So Violent?

Jesse J. Prinz

It will not have gone unnoticed that men are more violent than women. Men perpetrate about 90 percent of the world’s homicides and start all of the wars. But why? A recent article in a prominent science journal contends that evolution has shaped men to be warriors. More specifically, the authors claim that men are biologically programmed to form coalitions that aggress against neighbors, and they do so in order to get women, either through force or by procuring resources that would make them more desirable. The male warrior hypothesis is alluring because it makes sense of male violence, but it is based on a dubious interpretation of the science. In my new book, I point out that such evolutionary explanations of behavior are often worse than competing historical explanations. The same is true in this case. There are simpler historical explanations of male violence, and understanding these is important for coping with the problem.

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