David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 4 (4):457-481 (1989)
A fundamental philosophical question that arises in connection with evolutionary theory is whether the fittest patterns of behavior are always the most rational. Are fitness and rationality fully compatible? When behavioral rationality is characterized formally as in classical decision theory, the question becomes mathematically meaningful and can be explored systematically by investigating whether the optimally fit behavior predicted by evolutionary process models is decision-theoretically coherent. Upon investigation, it appears that in nontrivial evolutionary models the expected behavior is not always in accord with the norms of the standard theory of decision as ordinarily applied. Many classically irrational acts, e.g. betting on the occurrence of one event in the knowledge that the probabilities favor another, can under certain circumstances constitute adaptive behavior.One interesting interpretation of this clash is that the criterion of rationality offered by classical decision theory is simply incorrect (or at least incomplete) as it stands, and that evolutionary theory should be called upon to provide a more generally applicable theory of rationality. Such a program, should it prove feasible, would amount to the logical reduction of the theory of rational choice to evolutionary theory.
|Keywords||Evolution evolutionary biology fitness decision theory theory of choice rationality rational behavior reductionism|
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Citations of this work BETA
Armin W. Schulz (2014). Niche Construction, Adaptive Preferences, and the Differences Between Fitness and Utility. Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):315-335.
Andrea Polonioli (forthcoming). Adaptive Rationality, Biases, and the Heterogeneity Hypothesis. Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-17.
Andrea Polonioli (2014). Evolution, Rationality, and Coherence Criteria. Biological Theory 9 (3):309-317.
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