Modeling Rationality, Morality, and Evolution

By Peter A. Danielson | Go to book overview

17
Mutual Aid: Darwin Meets The Logic of Decision

Brian Skyrms


1. Mutual Aid

On June 18,1862 Karl Marx wrote to Frederick Engels, "It is remarkable how Darwin has discerned anew among beasts and plants his English society . . . It is Hobbes' bellum omnium contra omnes." Marx is being somewhat unfair to Darwin. But in 1888 "Darwin's Bulldog," Thomas Henry Huxley , published an essay entitled "The Struggle for Existence and its Bearing Upon Man," which was close to Marx's caricature:

The weakest and the stupidest went to the wall, while the toughest and the shrewdest, those who were best fitted to cope with their circumstances, but not the best in any other way survived. Life was a continuous free fight, and beyond the limited and temporary relations of the family, the Hobbesian war of each against all was the normal state of existence. ( Huxley 1888, p. 165)

Huxley's portrayal of "nature red in tooth and claw" had a great popular impact, and contributed to paving the way for the social Darwinism that he himself detested. The great anarchist, Prince Petr Kropotkin, was moved to publish an extended rebuttal in same periodical, Nineteenth Century, which had carried the piece by Huxley. Kropotkin's articles, which appeared over a period from 1890-1896, were collected in a book entitled Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. The introduction begins:

Two aspects of animal life impressed me most during my youth in Eastern Siberia and Northern Manchuria. One of them was the extreme severity of the struggle which most species of animals have to carry on against an inclement Nature . . . And the other was that even in those few spots where animal life teemed in abundance, I failed to find, although I was eagerly looking for it -- that bitter struggle for the means of existence,among animals belonging to the same species, which was considered by most Darwinists (though not always by Darwin himself) as the dominant characteristic of the struggle for life, and the main factor of evolution . . .

-379-

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Modeling Rationality, Morality, and Evolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Series Editors ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Contributors ix
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • References 9
  • Rationality 11
  • 2: Rationality and Rules 13
  • Notes 34
  • 3: Intention and Deliberation 41
  • References 54
  • 4: Following Through with One's Plans: Reply to David Gauthier 55
  • Notes 64
  • Notes 65
  • 5: How Braess' Paradox Solves Newcomb's Problem 67
  • Notes 86
  • 6: Economics of the Prisoner's Dilemma: A Background 92
  • Notes 111
  • Notes 115
  • 7: Modeling Rationality: A Normative or Descriptive Task? 119
  • References 132
  • Modeling Social Interaction 135
  • 8: Theorem 1 137
  • References 158
  • 9: The Failure of Success: Intrafamilial Exploitation in the Prisoner's Dilemma 161
  • References 184
  • 10: Transforming Social Dilemmas: Group Identity and Co-Operation 185
  • Conclusion 206
  • Acknowledgments 207
  • Notes 207
  • Notes 208
  • 11: Beliefs and Co-Operation 210
  • References 234
  • 12: The Neural Representation of the Social World 236
  • References 253
  • Morality 255
  • 13: Moral Dualism 257
  • Notes 278
  • Notes 281
  • 14: Categorically Rational Preferences and the Structure of Morality 282
  • Notes 301
  • References 301
  • 15: Why We Need a Moral Equilibrium Theory 302
  • Notes 330
  • Notes 338
  • 16: Morality's Last Chance 340
  • Notes 371
  • Notes 374
  • Evolution 377
  • 17: Mutual Aid: Darwin Meets the Logic of Decision 379
  • Notes 403
  • Notes 404
  • 18: Three Differences Between Deliberation and Evolution 408
  • Notes 420
  • Notes 421
  • 19: Evolutionary Models of Co-Operative Mechanisms: Artificial Morality and Genetic Programming 423
  • Acknowledgments 439
  • Notes 439
  • Notes 441
  • 20: Norms as Emergent Properties of Adaptive Learning: The Case of Economic Routines 442
  • Notes 459
  • Notes 461
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