Since its publication in 1965, Brian Barry's seminal work has occupied an important role in the revival of Anglo-American political philosophy. A number of ideas and terms in it have become part of the standard vocabulary, such as the distinction between "ideal-regarding" and "want-regarding" principles and the division of principles into aggregative and distributive. The book provided the first precise analysis of the concept of political values having trade-off relations and its analysis of the notion of the public interest has (...) also been significant. (shrink)
Neo-Darwinian theories of cultural evolution are apt to be criticized on the grounds that they merely borrow from the theory of natural selection concepts that are then metaphorically applied to conventional historical narratives to which they add no more, if anything, than an implicit presupposition of progress from one predetermined stage to the next. Such criticisms, of which a particularly forceful example is a recent article in this journal by Fracchia and Lewontin, can however be shown to be seriously misconceived. (...) The fundamental process of heritable variation and competitive selection of information affecting phenotype underlies both biological and cultural evolution despite the obvious differences between the mechanisms of information transfer by genetic inheritance and by exosomatic imitation and learning. Information transfer is in neither case a metaphor standing for any other thing, and in neither case does change over time proceed in accordance with developmental laws from which the future evolution of either species or cultures could be predicted in advance. For all the unresolved questions that remain, neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory has demonstrated the mutual compatibility of idiographic and nomothetic explanation in the study of species and of cultures alike. (shrink)
This essay is written in the belief that it is possible to say both where Max Weber's philosophy of social science is mistaken and how these mistakes can be put right. Runciman argues that Weber's analysis breaks down at three decisive points: the difference between theoretical pre-suppositions and implicit value-judgements; the manner in which 'idiographic' explanations are to be subsumed under causal laws; and the relation of explanation to description in sociology. The arguments which Weber put forward are fundamental to (...) the methodology of the social sciences, and since his death it has come to be increasingly widely held that with perhaps the sole exception of Mill's System of Logic there is still no other body of work of comparable importance in the academic literature on these topics. Runciman's attempt to correct Weber's mistakes therefore constitutes in itself a valuable contribution to the philosophy of social science. (shrink)
I was prompted to write a book by re-reading Republic, Leviathan, and The Communist Manifesto for the first time in half a century and wondering how well they would stand up in the light of what present-day sociologists can fairly claim to know that Plato, Hobbes, and Marx did not. None of them were doing social science as that term is nowadays understood. But all three advance conclusions derived from evidence for how human beings do, or would, or might, behave (...) under different environmental and historical conditions. If these arguments are bad ones, this will presumably undermine the larger purposes which the three texts are intended to serve. Or will it? (shrink)
It may be as well to begin from the locus classicus , Engels to Mehring, July 14th, 1893: “Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker consciously, it is true, but with a false consciousness. The real motive forces impelling him remain unknown to him; otherwise it simply would not be an ideological process”.
Guala is right to draw attention to the difficulty of extrapolating from the experimental evidence for weak or strong reciprocity to what is observed in the However, there may be more strong reciprocity in real-world communities than he allows for, as strikingly illustrated in the example of the Mafia.
In their response to my article, Fracchia and Lewontin have not refuted any of my three principal objections to theirs; they have ignored altogether my suggestion that evolutionary game theory illustrates particularly clearly the benefits that neo-Darwinian concepts and methods can bring to the human behavioral sciences; and they have attributed to me a version of “methodological individualism” to which I do not subscribe. It is, as is usual at this stage of a Kuhnian paradigm shift, too soon to say (...) how much selectionist theory can contribute to the human behavioral sciences in general and comparative sociology in particular. But selectionism’s critics achieve nothing by alleging that its proponents are committed to propositions to which they do not in fact assent and deny propositions with which they in fact agree. (shrink)
Introduction, W G Runciman Social Evolution in Primates: The Role of Ecological Factors and Male Behaviour, Carel P van Schaik Determinants of Group Size in Primates: A General Model, R I M Dunbar Function and Intention in the Calls of Non-Human Primates, Dorothy L Cheney & Robert M Seyfarth Why Culture is Common, but Cultural Evolution is Rare, Robert Boyd & Peter J Richerson An Evolutionary and Chronological Framework for Human Social Behaviour, Robert A Foley Friendship and the Banker?s Paradox: (...) Other Pathways to the Evolution of Adaptations for Altruism, John Tooby & Leda Cosmides The Early Prehistory of Human Social Behaviour: Issues of Archaeological Inference and Cognitive Evolution, Steven Mithen The Emergence of Biologically Modern Populations in Europe: A Social and Cognitive ?Revolution??, Paul Mellars Responses to Environmental Novelty: Changes in Men?s Marriage Strategies in a Rural Kenyan Community, Monique Borgerhoff Mulder Genetic Language Impairment: Unruly Grammars, M Gopnik, J Dalalakis, S E Fukuda, S Fukuda & E Kehayia The Emergence of Cultures among Wild Chimpanzees, Christophe Boesch Terrestriality, Bipedalism and the Origin of Language, Leslie C Aiello Conclusions, John Maynard Smith. (shrink)
Notes on Contributors Preface Ofer Bar-Yosef, From Sedentary Foragers to Village Hierarchies: The Emergence of Social Institutions Alasdair Whittle, Different Kinds of History: On the Nature of Lives and Change in Central Europe, c. 6000 to the Second Millennium BC Richard Bradley, The Birth of Architecture Colin Renfrew, Commodification and Institution in Group-Oriented and Individualizing Societies Jerome H Barkow et al., Social Competition, Social Intelligence, and Why the Bugis Know More about Cooking than about Nutrition Ken Binmore, How and Why (...) did Fairness Norms Evolve? Robert A Foley, Evolutionary Perspectives on the Origins of Human Social Institutions Peter J Richerson & Robert Boyd, Institutional Evolution in the Holocene: The Rise of Complex Societies W G Runciman, From Nature to Culture, from Culture to Society Index. (shrink)