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Collective action in the fraternal transitions

Birch, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0001-7517-4759 (2012) Collective action in the fraternal transitions. Biology and Philosophy, 27 (3). pp. 363-380. ISSN 0169-3867

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10539-012-9312-8

Abstract

Inclusive fitness theory was not originally designed to explain the major transitions in evolution, but there is a growing consensus that it has the resources to do so. My aim in this paper is to highlight, in a constructive spirit, the puzzles and challenges that remain. I first consider the distinctive aspects of the cooperative interactions we see within the most complex social groups in nature: multicellular organisms and eusocial insect colonies. I then focus on one aspect in particular: the extreme redundancy these societies exhibit. I argue that extreme redundancy poses a distinctive explanatory puzzle for inclusive fitness theory, and I offer a potential solution which casts coercion as the key enabler. I suggest that the general moral to draw from the case is one of guarded optimism: while inclusive fitness is a powerful tool for understanding evolutionary transitions, it must be integrated within a broader framework that recognizes the distinctive problems such transitions present and the distinctive mechanisms by which these problems may be overcome.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://link.springer.com/journal/10539
Additional Information: © 2013 Springer
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 09:32
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:33
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/61814

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