By Alexander J. Field
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Extra resources for Altruistically Inclined?: The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity
It is true that in day-to-day life with my family or at work, I engage in interactions that have long and indefinite time horizons. But every time I venture on the freeway, walk down the main street of a new city, get onto a crowded subway car, or hike down a sparsely trav eled backcountry trail, I engage in encounters that are, in all likelihood, one shot. The "social structure" that makes the assumption of indefinitely repeated interaction realistic is one we are continually creating and re-creating.
The Coase position does, after all, and in contrast to Friedman, evi dence an interest in how the engine operates. But if we are to select emen dations or alterations to the assumptions reflected in the standard eco nomic model, the criteria for so doing should be more systematic than intuition, ultimately no more an adequate guide in developing alternatives than a justification for sticking with a poorly performing model . Persisting in regarding the mechanism(s) producing behavior as a black box, and continuing to rely only on our intuition, we are likely to end up with emended models that provide ex post rationales for anomalous observa tions but lack out-of-sample predictive power because they have not ade quately captured relevant cognitive or behavioral mechanisms .
Chapter 1 details this evi dence and expands on the issues involved in its explanation. Chapter 2 discusses the logic, mathematics, evidential foundation, and intellectual background of evolutionary models embodying multilevel selection and their role in understanding human altruism. Chapters 3 and 4 address alternate explanations for the emergence of complex social orga nization. Chapter 3 considers Robert Trivers's model of reciprocal altru ism, the concept of social norms, and research in evolutionary game the ory, particularly that of John Maynard-Smith and Robert Axelrod.
Altruistically Inclined?: The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity by Alexander J. Field