Evolution and Rationality

Evolution and Rationality : Decisions, Co-operation and Strategic Behaviour

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This volume explores from multiple perspectives the subtle and interesting relationship between the theory of rational choice and Darwinian evolution. In rational choice theory, agents are assumed to make choices that maximize their utility; in evolution, natural selection 'chooses' between phenotypes according to the criterion of fitness maximization. So there is a parallel between utility in rational choice theory and fitness in Darwinian theory. This conceptual link between fitness and utility is mirrored by the interesting parallels between formal models of evolution and rational choice. The essays in this volume, by leading philosophers, economists, biologists and psychologists, explore the connection between evolution and rational choice in a number of different contexts, including choice under uncertainty, strategic decision making and pro-social behaviour. They will be of interest to students and researchers in philosophy of science, evolutionary biology, economics and psychology.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 20 b/w illus. 3 tables
  • 113951220X
  • 9781139512206

Table of contents

Editors introduction; 1. Towards a Darwinian theory of strategic decision-making: games and the biological roots of behaviour Peter Hammerstein; 2. What do humans maximize? Claire El Mouden, Maxwell Burton-Chellew, Andy Gardner and Stuart West; 3. Natural selection and rational decisions Alasdair Houston; 4. Evolution, dynamics and rationality: the limits of ESS methodology Simon Huttegger and Kevin Zollman; 5. Are rational actor models 'rational' outside small worlds? Henry Brighton and Gerd Gigerenzer; 6. Pull, push or both? Indirect evolution in economics and beyond Siegfried Berninghaus, Werner Guth and Hartmut Kliemt; 7. Schelling formalized: strategic choices of non-rational behaviour David H. Wolpert and Julian Jamison; 8. Human cooperation and reciprocity Jack Vromen; 9. Team reasoning, framing and cooperation Natalie Gold; 10. An evolutionary perspective on the unification of the behavioural sciences Herbert Gintis; 11. From fitness to utility Kim Sterelny.show more

Review quote

'... philosophers of economics might feel that this book focuses too much on evolutionary theory, but I believe that it tackles a lot of questions that are of interest for them as well. It also shows that there is a lot we do not yet understand ... Evolution and Rationality provides strong evidence that biologists, economists and philosophers have a lot to gain from discussing these issues together.' Wiljan Van Den Berge, Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 'Evolution and Rationality is a stimulating collection of work that should be of interest to philosophers, biologists, psychologists and economists alike ... the book is an excellent and much needed contribution to an area that demands interdisciplinary attention.' Rory Smead, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences '... despite the increasing amount of literature on evolution and on rationality, this book represents a good picture of the state of the art and, at the same time, a useful tool for people studying cooperation and evolution.' International Review of Economics 'Evolution and Rationality is ideal for getting up to speed on the issues at the overlap of economic rationality and evolutionary theory.' Ryan Muldoon, Journal of Economics and Philosophyshow more

About Samir Okasha

Samir Okasha is Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (2002) and Evolution and the Levels of Selection (2006). Ken Binmore is Professor Emeritus of Economics at University College London and a Visiting Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Natural Justice (2005), Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction (2007) and Rational Decisions (2008).show more

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