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

  • Explores the connection between economic rationality and Darwinian adaptation from multiple perspectives
  • Highlights the diversity of viewpoints on the rational choice/evolutionary biology relationship
  • An interdisciplinary volume, containing contributions from leading economists, biologists, psychologists and philosophers

By: Samir Okasha(Editor), Ken Binmore(Editor)

296 pages, 20 b/w illustrations, 3 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jun 2014 | #215874 | ISBN-13: 9781107416840
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £30.99 $40/€34 approx
Hardback | Jun 2012 | #203777 | ISBN-13: 9781107004993
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £66.99 $86/€74 approx

About this book

Evolution and Rationality 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 Evolution and Rationality, 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.

"[...] 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


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

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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).

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).

- Peter Hammerstein
- Claire El Mouden
- Maxwell Burton-Chellew
- Andy Gardner
- Stuart West
- Alasdair Houston
- Simon Huttegger
- Kevin Zollman
- Jack Vromen
- Henry Brighton
- Gerd Gigerenzer
- Siegfried Berninghaus
- Werner Güth
- Hartmut Kliemt
- David H. Wolpert
- Julian Jamison
- Natalie Gold
- Herbert Gintis
- Kim Sterelny

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