In EHB : Sixteen misconceptions about the evolution of human cooperation, by West et al.

Now officially published online in Evolution and Human Behavior is a paper by West, El Mouden and Gardner (all from Oxford University) that has been circulating, as a manuscript, in the academic community for almost two years.

The paper (of which a copy can be found here) has several goals and everyone can find something in it. For the non-evolutionnist, it draws a pedagogic overview of the litterature on the evolution of cooperation (including in non-human species). For the evolutionnist, it nicely reviews some of the economic litterature, acknowledging the conceptual advances of this field in domains such as repeated interactions. For the cognitive anthropologist interested in the naturalistic foundations of cooperation, it clarifies some of the usual misconceptions behind widespread concepts such as group selection and strong-reciprocity. A must-read for all!

Here is the abstract:

The occurrence of cooperation poses a problem for the biological and social sciences. However, many aspects of the biological and social science literatures on this subject have developed relatively independently, with a lack of interaction. This has led to a number of misunderstandings with regard to how natural selection operates and the conditions under which cooperation can be favoured. Our aim here is to provide an accessible overview of social evolution theory and the evolutionary work on cooperation, emphasising common misconceptions.




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