Publication 4089

Bennett M. J. (2016) A constructivist epistemology of hate. In: Dunbar E., Blanco A. & Crèvecoeur-MacPhail D. A. (eds.) The psychology of hate crimes as domestic terrorism: US and global issues. Volume 1: Theoretical, legal, and cultural factors. Praeger, Santa Barbara CA: 317–350. Fulltext at
All organisms behave, but, as far as we know, only humans also explain behavior. Organisms routinely destroy other organisms for various reasons, but only humans ask why. One answer is “hatred.” Clearly it is not necessary to hate another organism in order to destroy it, but the idea is commonly invoked as an explanation for human violence. Has this always been the case with us humans? Or is “hate” (and other explanations of behavior) some kind of evolutionary adaptation? If so, what kind of evolution is involved in the development of explanations, and how might they serve to support individual and/or species survival? In other words, what are some of the epistemological roots of “hate” and what are some of the ontological’ consequences of constructing such an explanation?

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