Are human beings less violent than before? Why do we adopt certain moral and political judgements? Why is the gap between rich and poor getting bigger? How do we decide which criminal policies are effective? What is the Population Challenge for the 21st Century? What is social science? In Big Ideas in Social Science, David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton put these and more of our society’s burning questions to 18 of the world’s leading social scientists including Steven Pinker, Ann Oakley, Lawrence Sherman, Kate Pickett, Robert J. Shiller and Doreen Massey. The result is a collection of thought-provoking discussions that span the fields of sociology, politics, economics, criminology, geography and many more. From the people who brought us the Philosophy Bites series, Big Ideas in Social Science is a fascinating and accessible introduction to the key ideas and findings of the social sciences. The interviews for this book are based on a series of podcasts, Social Science Bites, sponsored by SAGE. Social Science Bites was inspired by the popular Philosophy Bites podcast (, which was founded by David and Nigel in 2007 and has so far had 26 million downloads. Philosophy Bites has spawned three books, Philosophy Bites, Philosophy Bites Back and Philosophy Bites Again.



Robin Dunbar

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Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research interests lie in the evolution of sociality, with particular reference to ungulates, primates, and humans. He has been particularly interested in the structure and dynamics of human social networks and their implications for community cohesion.

David Edmonds: How many close friends do you have? How many friends, more loosely defined, do you have? How many acquaintances do you have? How many other people can you remember? According to Robin Dunbar, most people are likely to give similar answers to these questions, and that has important implications for how humans should ...

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