This collection reports on the latest research on an increasingly pivotal issue for evolutionary biology: cooperation. The chapters are written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and utilize research tools that range from empirical survey to conceptual modeling, reflecting the rich diversity of work in the field. They explore a wide taxonomic range, concentrating on bacteria, social insects, and, especially, humans.
Part I (“Agents and Environments”) investigates the connections of social cooperation in social organizations to the conditions that make cooperation profitable and stable, focusing on the interactions of agent, population, and environment. Part II (“Agents and Mechanisms”) focuses on how proximate mechanisms emerge and operate in the evolutionary process and how they shape evolutionary trajectories. Throughout the book, certain themes emerge that demonstrate the ubiquity of questions regarding cooperation in evolutionary biology: the generation and division of the profits of cooperation; transitions in individuality; levels of selection, from gene to organism; and the “human cooperation explosion” that makes our own social behavior particularly puzzling from an evolutionary perspective.
About the Editors
Kim Sterelny is Professor of Philosophy at Australian National University and Victoria University of Wellington. His books include Language and Reality (with Michael Devitt; second edition, MIT Press, 1999); Thought in a Hostile World, Dawkins vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest; and The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited (coedited with Brett Calcott; MIT Press, 2011).
Richard Joyce is Professor of Philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of The Myth of Morality, The Evolution of Morality (MIT Press, 2006) and co-editor (with Simon Kirchin) of A World Without Values.
Brett Calcott is a postdoctoral researcher at Australian National University and coeditor (with Kim Sterelny) of The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited (MIT Press, 2011).
Ben Fraser is a Lecturer in the Philosophy Program at Australian National University.