Cooperation and Its Evolution


This collection reports on the latest research on an increasingly pivotal issue for evolutionary biology: cooperation. The chapters are written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and utilize research tools that range from empirical survey to conceptual modeling, reflecting the rich diversity of work in the field. They explore a wide taxonomic range, concentrating on bacteria, social insects, and, especially, humans.

Part I ("Agents and Environments") investigates the connections of social cooperation in social organizations to the conditions that make cooperation profitable and stable, focusing on the interactions of agent, population, and environment. Part II ("Agents and Mechanisms") focuses on how proximate mechanisms emerge and operate in the evolutionary process and how they shape evolutionary trajectories. Throughout the book, certain themes emerge that demonstrate the ubiquity of questions regarding cooperation in evolutionary biology: the generation and division of the profits of cooperation; transitions in individuality; levels of selection, from gene to organism; and the "human cooperation explosion" that makes our own social behavior particularly puzzling from an evolutionary perspective.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: The Ubiquity, Complexity, and Diversity of Cooperation
  2. I. Agents and Environments
  3. 1. The Evolution of Individualistic Norms
  4. 2. Timescales, Symmetry, and Uncertainty Reduction in the Origins of Hierarchy in Biological Systems
  5. 3. On Depending on Fish for a Living, and Other Difficulties of Living Sustainably
  6. 4. Life in Interesting Times: Cooperation and Collective Action in the Holocene
  7. 5. The Birth of Hierarchy
  8. 6. Territoriality and Loss Aversion: The Evolutionary Roots of Property Rights
  9. 7. Cooperation and Biological Markets: The Power of Partner Choice
  10. 8. False Advertising in Biological Markets: Partner Choice and the Problem of Reliability
  11. 9. MHC-Mediated Benefits of Trade: A Biomolecular Approach to Cooperation in the Marketplace
  12. 10. What We Don't Know about the Evolution of Cooperation in Animals
  13. 11. Task Partitioning: Is It a Useful Concept?
  14. 12. Cooperative Breeding in Birds: Toward a Richer Conceptual Framework
  15. II. Agents and Mechanisms
  16. 13. Why the Proximate-Ultimate Distinction Is Misleading, and Why It Matters for Understanding the Evolution of Cooperation
  17. 14. Emergence of a Signaling Network with Probe and Adjust
  18. 15. Bacterial Social Life: Information Processing Characteristics and Cooperation Coevolve
  19. 16. Two Modes of Transgenerational Information Transmission
  20. 17. What Can Imitation Do for Cooperation?
  21. 18. The Role of Learning in Punishment, Prosociality, and Human Uniqueness
  22. 19. Our Pigheaded Core: How We Became Smarter to Be Influenced by Other People
  23. 20. Altruistic Behaviors from a Developmental and Comparative Perspective
  24. 21. Culture-Gene Coevolution, Large-Scale Cooperation, and the Shaping of Human Social Psychology
  25. 22. Suicide Bombers, Weddings, and Prison Tattoos: An Evolutionary Perspective on Subjective Commitment and Objective Commitment
  26. 23. Communicative Functions of Shame and Guilt
  27. 24. Moral Disgust and the Tribal Instincts Hypothesis
  28. 25. Evolution, Motivation, and Moral Beliefs
  29. 26. The Many Moral Nativisms
  30. Contributors
  31. Index