Richard D. Alexander is an accomplished entomologist who turned his attention to solving some of the most perplexing problems associated with the evolution of human social systems. Using impeccable Darwinian logic and elaborating, extending and adding to the classic theoretical contributions of pioneers of behavioral and evolutionary ecology like George Williams, William Hamilton and Robert Trivers, Alexander developed the most detailed and comprehensive vision of human social evolution of his era. His ideas and hypotheses have inspired countless biologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other social scientists to explore the evolution of human social behavior in ever greater detail, and many of his seminal ideas have stood the test of time and come to be pillars of our understanding of human social evolution. Human Social Evolution presents classic papers or chapters by Dr. Alexander, each focused on an important theme from his work. Introductions by Dr. Alexander's former students and colleagues highlight the importance of his work to the field, describe more recent work on the topic, and discuss current issues of contention and interest.
Introduction - Kyle Summers and Bernard Crespi
Part I - General Foundations
Chapter 1: Insect Behavior & Evolution
Introduction by Mary Jane West-Eberhard, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Excerpt from Alexander, R. D. 1969. Comparative animal behavior and systematics. In: Systematic Biology. Proceedings of the International Conference on Systematics (Ann Arbor, Michigan, July 1967). National Academy of Sciences Publication 1962: 494-517.
Chapter 2: Cooperation
Introduction by Steven Frank, University of California at Irvine.
Excerpt from: Alexander, R.D. 1986. The Biology of Moral Systems. New York, Aldine Press.
Chapter 3: Eusociality in Naked Mole Rats
Introduction by Paul Sherman, Cornell University.
Excerpt from Alexander, R.D., Noonan, K.M. and Crespi, B.J. 1991. The Evolution of Eusociality. In P. Sherman, J. Jarvis and R.D. Alexander (eds). The Biology of the Naked Mole Rat: 3-44. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Chapter 4: Parent-offspring Conflict and Manipulation
Introduction by David Queller, Washington University.
Excerpt from Alexander, R.D. 1974. The evolution of social behavior. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 5:325-383.
Part II - Human Social Evolution
Chapter 5: Biology and Culture
Introduction by Mark Flinn, University of Missouri
Excerpt from Alexander, R.D. Evolution and culture. In Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior: an Anthropological Perspective. N. Chagnon and W.G. Irons (eds). Pp 59-78. North Scituate, MA: Duxbury Press.
Chapter 6: Intergroup Competition and Within-group Cooperation
Introduction by Bobbi Low, University of Michigan.
Excerpt from Alexander, R.D. and Tinkle, D.W. 1968. Review of On Aggression by Konrad Lorenz and The Territorial Imperative by Robert Ardrey. Bioscience 18: 245-248.
Chapter 7: Kinship, Parental Care, and Human Societies
Introduction by Beverly Strassmann, University of Michigan.
Excerpt from Alexander, R.D. and Noonan, K.M. 1979. Concealment of Ovulation, parental care, and human social evolution. In N.A. Chagnon and W.G. Irons (eds). Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective. 436-453. North Scituate, MA: Duxbury Press.
Chapter 8: Human Childhood
Introduction by Paul Turke, University of Michigan.
Altriciality: Why are human babies helpless? In Alexander, R.D. 1990. How Did Humans Evolve? Reflections on a Uniquely Unique Species. Univ. Mich. Zool. Special Publication 1: 1-38.
Chapter 9: Indirect Reciprocity
Introduction by Karl Sigmund, University of Vienna.
Excerpt from Alexander, R.D. 1986. The Biology of Moral Systems. New York, Aldine Press.
Chapter 10: The Evolution of Intelligence
Introduction by Robin Dunbar, Oxford University.
Alexander, R.D. Evolution of the Human Psyche 1989. In P. Mellars and C. Stringer (eds). The Human Revolution. Behavioral and Biological Perspectives on the Origins of Modern Humans: pp. 455-513. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Chapter 11: Evolution of Morality
Introduction by David Lahti, City University of New York.
Alexander, R.D. Biology and the Moral Paradoxes. Journal of Biological Structures 5:389-395.
Chapter 12: Evolution and Humor
Introduction by Stanton Braude, Washington University.
Alexander, R.D. Ostracism and Indirect Reciprocity: The Reproductive Significance of Humor. 1986. Ethology and Sociobiology 7: 253-270.
Chapter 13: Ecological Constraints and Human Cooperation
Introduction by Laura Betzig, University of Michigan.
Excerpt from Alexander, R.D., Noonan, K.M. and Crespi, B.J. 1991. The Evolution of Eusociality. In P. Sherman, J. Jarvis and R.D. Alexander (eds). The Biology of the Naked Mole Rat: pp. 3-44. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Chapter 14: Evolution and Religion
Introduction by William Irons, Northwestern University.
Religion, Evolution and the Quest for Global Harmony - Original essay for this volume.
Chapter 15: Evolution and the Arts
Introduction by Kyle Summers, East Carolina University & Bernard Crespi, Simon Fraser University.
Excerpt from Alexander, R.D. 2003. Evolutionary Selection and the Nature of Humanity. Chapter 15. In: V. Hosle and Ch. Illies (eds). Darwinism and Philosophy. University of Notre Dame Press.
Kyle Summers is Professor of Biology at East Carolina University. Bernard Crespi is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Simon Fraser University.