In an incendiary 2010 Nature article, M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita, and E. O. Wilson present a savage critique of the best-known and most widely used framework for the study of social evolution, W. D. Hamilton’s theory of kin selection. More than a hundred biologists have since rallied to the theory’s defence, but Nowak et al. maintain that their arguments ‘stand unrefuted’. Here I consider the most contentious claim Nowak et al. defend: that Hamilton’s rule, the core explanatory (...) principle of kin selection theory, ‘almost never holds’. I first distinguish two versions of Hamilton’s rule in contemporary theory: a special version (HRS) that requires restrictive assumptions, and a general version (HRG) that does not. I then show that Nowak et al. are most charitably construed as arguing that HRS almost never holds, while HRG buys its generality at the expense of explanatory power. While their arguments against HRS are fairly uncontroversial, their arguments against HRG are more contentious, yet these have been largely overlooked in the ensuing furore. I consider the arguments for and against the explanatory value of HRG, with a view to assessing what exactly is at stake in the debate. I suggest that the debate hinges on issues concerning the causal interpretability of regression coefficients, and concerning the explanatory function Hamilton’s rule is intended to serve. (shrink)
Paul MacLean, founder and long-time chief ofthe Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior,National Institutes of Health, is a pioneeringfigure in the emergent field of evolutionaryneuroscience. His influence has been widelyfelt in the development of biologicalpsychiatry and has led to a considerableliterature on evolutionary approaches toclinical issues. MacLean's work is alsoenjoying a resurgence of interest in academicareas of neuroscience and evolutionarypsychology which have previously shown littleinterest or knowledge of his extensive work. This chapter builds on MacLean's work to bringtogether new insights (...) into the neuralarchitecture of human development, hierarchy,conflict behavior, and reciprocity in the formof the Conflict Systems Neurobehavioral Model. Hamilton 's rule of kinship altruism orinclusive fitness is proposed to be the gene'seye complement to MacLean's evolutionaryneuroscience and the CSN Model derivedtherefrom. Hierarchy, conflict behavior andreciprocity are also central issues in healthydevelopment as well as in clinical syndromes ofdepression, mania, and other socialmaladjustments. The emerging insights permitthe integration of the concept of inclusivefitness underpinning evolutionary psychologywith MacLean's perspective on evolutionaryneuroscience as well as the definition of newchallenges for mental health and socialstability. The policy implications areindicated. (shrink)
Hamilton’s theory of inclusive fitness is a widely used framework for studying the evolution of social behavior, but controversy surrounds its status. Hamilton originally derived his famous rb > c rule for the spread of a social gene by assuming additivity of costs and benefits. However, it has recently been argued that the additivity assumption can be dispensed with, so long as the −c and b terms are suitably defined, as partial regression coefficients. I argue that this way of (...) generalizing Hamilton’s rule to the nonadditive case, while formally correct, faces conceptual problems. (shrink)
Hamilton’s theory of kin selection is the best-known framework for understanding the evolution of social behavior but has long been a source of controversy in evolutionary biology. A recent critique of the theory by Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson sparked a new round of debate, which shows no signs of abating. In this overview, we highlight a number of conceptual issues that lie at the heart of the current debate. We begin by emphasizing that there are various alternative formulations of Hamilton’s (...)rule, including a general version, which is always true; an proximate version, which assumes weak selection; and a special version, which demands other restrictive assumptions. We then examine the relationship between the neighbor-modulated fitness and inclusive fitness approaches to kin selection. Finally, we consider the often-strained relationship between the theories of kin and multilevel selection. (shrink)
This paper attempts to reconcile critics and defenders of inclusive fitness by constructing a synthesis that does justice to the insights of both. I argue that criticisms of the regression-based version of Hamilton’s rule, although they undermine its use for predictive purposes, do not undermine its use as an organizing framework for social evolution research. I argue that the assumptions underlying the concept of inclusive fitness, conceived as a causal property of an individual organism, are unlikely to be exactly (...) true in real populations, but they are approximately true given a specific type of weak selection that Hamilton took, on independent grounds, to be responsible for the cumulative assembly of complex adaptation. Finally, I reflect on the uses and limitations of “design thinking” in social evolution research. The debate about the foundations of inclusive fitness theory that has followed in the wake of Nowak, Tarnita and Wilson’s critique has been remarkably polarizing. After several rounds of rebuttals and replies, there is still little evidence of any serious reconciliation between the theory’s critics and its defenders. It doesn’t have to be this way. I believe that, on the main points of disagreement, it is possible to find a way forward that does justice to the insights of both camps. My aim in this paper is to find that way forward. (shrink)
Inclusive fitness theory provides conditions for the evolutionary success of a gene. These conditions ensure that the gene is selfish in the sense of Dawkins (The selfish gene, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1976): genes do not and cannot sacrifice their own fitness on behalf of the reproductive population. Therefore, while natural selection explains the appearance of design in the living world (Dawkins in The blind watchmaker: why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design, W. W. Norton, New York, (...) 1996), inclusive fitness theory does not explain how. Indeed, Hamilton’s rule is equally compatible with the evolutionary success of prosocial altruistic genes and antisocial predatory genes, whereas only the former, which account for the appearance of design, predominate in successful organisms. Inclusive fitness theory, however, permits a formulation of the central problem of sociobiology in a particularly poignant form: how do interactions among loci induce utterly selfish genes to collaborate, or to predispose their carriers to collaborate, in promoting the fitness of their carriers? Inclusive fitness theory, because it abstracts from synergistic interactions among loci, does not answer this question. Fitness-enhancing collaboration among loci in the genome of a reproductive population requires suppressing alleles that decrease, and promoting alleles that increase the fitness of its carriers. Suppression and promotion are effected by regulatory networks of genes, each of which is itself utterly selfish. This implies that genes, and a fortiori individuals in a social species, do not maximize inclusive fitness but rather interact strategically in complex ways. It is the task of sociobiology to model these complex interactions. (shrink)
The theories of inclusive fitness and multilevel selection provide alternative perspectives on social evolution. The question of whether these perspectives are of equal generality remains a divisive issue. In an analysis based on the Price equation, Queller argued (by means of a principle he called the separation condition) that the two approaches are subject to the same limitations, arising from their fundamentally quantitative-genetical character. Recently, van Veelen et al. have challenged Queller’s results, using this as the basis for a broader (...) critique of the Price equation, the separation condition, and the very notion of inclusive fitness. Here we show that the van Veelen et al. model, when analyzed in the way Queller intended, confirms rather than refutes his original conclusions. We thereby confirm (i) that Queller’s separation condition remains a legitimate theoretical principle and (ii) that the standard inclusive fitness and multilevel approaches are indeed subject to the same limitations. (shrink)
Most recently Smart and Thébault revived an almost forgotten debate between Katzav and Ellis on the compatibility of Hamilton’s Principle with Dispositional Essentialism. Katzav’s arguments inter alia aim to show that HP presupposes a kind of metaphysical contingency which is at odds with the basic tenets of DE, and offers explanations of a different type and direction from those given by DE. In this paper I argue that though dispositional essentialists might adequately respond to these arguments, the question about the (...) compatibility of HP with DE has not been answered yet; therefore, dispositional essentialists have not yet provided an illuminating DE-friendly metaphysical account of HP. (shrink)
This paper discusses alternative measures of assortative matching and relates them to Sewall Wright’s F-statistic. It also explores applications of measures of assortativity to evolutionary dynamics. We generalize Wright’s statistic to allow the possibility that some types match more assortatively than others, and explore the possibility of identifying parameters of this more general model from the observed distribution of matches by the partners’ types.
In the Sleeping Beauty problem, Beauty is woken once if a coin lands heads or twice if the coin lands tails but promptly forgets each waking on returning to sleep. Philosophers have divided over whether her waking credence in heads should be a half or a third. Beauty has centered beliefs about her world and about her location in that world. When given new information about her location she should update her worldly beliefs before updating her locative beliefs. When she (...) conditionalizes in this way, her credence in heads is a half before and after being told it is Monday. In applications of Dutch Book arguments to the Sleeping Beauty problem, the probability of a particular outcome has often been confounded with consequences of that outcome. Heads and tails are equally likely but twice as much is at stake if the coin falls tails because Beauty is fated to make the same choice twice. As a consequence, the possibility of tails should be given twice the weight of the possibility of heads when deciding whether to bet on heads even though heads and tails are equally likely. (shrink)
Recent studies in the evolution of cooperation have shifted focus from altruistic to mutualistic cooperation. This change in focus is purported to reveal new explanations for the evolution of prosocial behavior. We argue that the common classification scheme for social behavior used to distinguish between altruistic and mutualistic cooperation is flawed because it fails to take into account dynamically relevant game-theoretic features. This leads some arguments about the evolution of cooperation to conflate dynamical scenarios that differ regarding the basic conditions (...) on the emergence and maintenance of cooperation. We use the tools of evolutionary game theory to increase the resolution of the classification scheme and analyze what evolutionary inferences classifying social behavior can license. (shrink)
The law of varying action and Hamilton's principle of classical mechanics are discussed. It is now clear that the law of varying action, introduced by Hamilton in his papers of 1834 and 1935, was never recognized by either the mathematicians or other scientists who followed him. Why this occurred is discussed in this paper.
Hamilton's principle and Hamilton's law are discussed. Hamilton's law is then applied to achieve direct solutions to time-dependent, nonconservative, initial value problems without the use of the theory of differential or integral equations. A major question has always plagued competent investigators who use “energy methods,” viz., “Why is it that one can derive the differential equations for a system from Hamilton's principle and then solve these equations (at least in principle) subject to applicable initial and boundary (...) conditions; but one cannot obtain a solution directly from Hamilton's principle except in very special cases?” This paper provides the answer to that question. In Hamilton's own words, “... the peculiar combination it [i.e., Hamilton's law] involves, of the principles of variations with those of partial differentials, for the determination and use of an important class of integrals, may constitute, when it shall be matured by the future labors of mathematicians, a separate branch of analysis.”. (shrink)
This paper reconstructs Sir William Hamilton's argument for thinking that the unconditioned is not an object of thought, a conclusion he abbreviates with the slogan ‘to think is to condition’. The paper describes Hamilton's conception of formal logic as the study of the laws of thought and claims that this conception allows these laws, particularly those of non-contradiction and excluded middle, to play a substantive role in Hamilton's argument.
Among the problems C. D. Bailey has questioned in a recent paper (Ref. 1) are a precise and general formulation of Hamilton's variational principle and the establishment of a sufficiency criterion for this to be a minimum principle. In this paper, we will try to answer these questions using the geometric theory of classical mechanics.
It has been recognized in the literature of the calculus of variations that the classical statement of the principle of least action (Hamilton's principle for conservative systems) is not strictly correct. Recently, mathematical proofs have been offered for what is claimed to be a more precise statement of Hamilton's principle for conservative systems. According to a widely publicized version of this more precise statement, the action integral for conservative systems is a minimum for discrete systems for small time (...) intervals only and is never minimum for continuous systems. In this paper, two contradictions to this “more precise” statement are demonstrated, one for a discrete system and one for a continuous system. (shrink)
This paper consists roughly of three parts. In the first part, an attempt has been made to find some tenable interpretation of Hamilton's logic. This results in accepting that Hamilton's logic can be "saved" if it is understood as being an everday language version of Euler's relations, i.e., extensional relations between terms (classes). In the second part, the propositions of Euler and the propositions of Aristotle are compared and found to be interdefinable: every proposition of Aristotle can be (...) defined by a disjunction of Euler's propositions, and every proposition of Euler can be defined by a conjunction of Aristotle's propositions. In the third part, extensional interpretation is applied to the traditional logic. As a result the 19 traditional syllogisms are reduced to 11. (shrink)
This paper consists roughly of three parts. In the first part, an attempt has been made to find some tenable interpretation of Hamilton's logic. This results in accepting that Hamilton's logic can be "saved" if it is understood as being an everday language version of Euler's relations, i.e., extensional relations between terms. In the second part, the propositions of Euler and the propositions of Aristotle are compared and found to be interdefinable: every proposition of Aristotle can be defined (...) by a disjunction of Euler's propositions, and every proposition of Euler can be defined by a conjunction of Aristotle's propositions. In the third part, extensional interpretation is applied to the traditional logic. As a result the 19 traditional syllogisms are reduced to 11. (shrink)
Hamilton introduced two conceptions of social fitness, which he called neighbour-modulated fitness and inclusive fitness. Although he regarded them as formally equivalent, a re-analysis of his own argument for their equivalence brings out two important assumptions on which it rests: weak additivity and actor's control. When weak additivity breaks down, neither fitness concept is appropriate in its original form. When actor's control breaks down, neighbour-modulated fitness may be appropriate, but inclusive fitness is not. Yet I argue that, despite its more (...) limited domain of application, inclusive fitness provides a distinctively valuable perspective on social evolution. (shrink)
This paper studies the possible influences on Boole's logic of the writings related to the controversy over the quantification of the predicate between the philosopher William Hamilton and the mathematician Augustus De Morgan. As Boole himself testified in the introduction to his book The mathematical analysis of logic , this controversy was the external agent that stimulated him into writing up his earlier thoughts about a new conception of logic. But in addition to the external role that was played by (...) the controversy, it seems that other kinds of influences on Boole of Hamilton's and De Morgan's ideas about logic, which were made explicit in writings related to the controversy, can also be traced. (shrink)
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill took thirty years to complete and is acknowledged as the definitive edition of J.S. Mill and as one of the finest works editions ever completed. Mill's contributions to philosophy, economics, and history, and in the roles of scholar, politician and journalist can hardly be overstated and this edition remains the only reliable version of the full range of Mill's writings. Each volume contains extensive notes, a new introduction and an index. Many of the (...) volumes have been unavailable for some time, but the Works are now again available, both as a complete set and as individual volumes. (shrink)
Few philosophers have published at the impressively prolific rate that Roger Scruton has. Of the forty-two books by Scruton listed in a special bibliography at the end of Scruton’s Aesthetics, no fewer than nine of them have been devoted to topics in aesthetics. The present volume, edited by Andy Hamilton and Nick Zangwill, arises out of a 2008 conference devoted to Scruton’s seminal work in this field. While sympathetic in tone, the majority of the essays critically engage with Scruton’s views (...) on a number of topics in aesthetics, with particular attention devoted to issues of music and of architecture. Although Scruton’s frequently discussed and sometimes provocative views will be familiar to most readers, the contributions to this volume manage well in reconstructing enough of the background to be intelligible to the reader not already well-versed in Scruton’s wide-ranging body of work. (shrink)
Summary In the early post-Enlightenment period, informed by the history of Scottish and European thought, Thomas Carlyle (1795?1881) and Sir William Hamilton (1788?1856) alerted readers to a melancholy future emerging from mechanical theories of the mind. Opposing a Lockean strand in British and French philosophy, their concerns involved predictions about, among other things, a descent into pessimism and nihilism, and the end of metaphysics and moral philosophy. Arguably influenced by Carlyle and Hamilton, William James's (1842?1910) much later Varieties of Religious (...) Experience (1902) evinces a similar opposition to medical materialist psychology. Confronting a profound shift within Enlightenment thought, towards the increasing dominance of mechanical theories, Carlyle, Hamilton, and James were variously resisting the mechanisation of the human condition and an agency-eradicating instrumentalism. Part of that resistance involved humour and certain indications of hope for humanity that, as Carlyle put it, ?mechanism is not always to be our hard taskmaster?. Once immensely influential, Carlyle, Hamilton, and James are presently marginalised figures. However, Jürgen Habermas's distinction between communicative and instrumental rationality suggests that what was at stake for these thinkers is of continuing relevance. Their work deserves to be explored to recover nineteenth-century Scottish philosophy's participation in a discourse of transnational status and significance. (shrink)