A great variety of political philosophies, libertarian, anarchist, pacifist, and even leftist, are essentially animated by some sentiment like Mr. Wollstein’s above. The appeal is obvious: a separate morality for collective action is rather inconvenient for a mind driven to consistency. More practically, to affirm the opposite would seem to . . .
Richard Dawkins’ best-known scientific achievement is popularizing the theory of gene-level selection in his book The Selfish Gene. Gene-level selection stands apart from both traditional individual-level selection and group-level selection as an explanation for human cooperation. Steven Pinker, similarly, wrote a long article on the “false allure” of group selection . . .
Right-wingers often claim that Leftists, especially the campus left, decide political questions based mainly on feelings, as opposed to their own supposedly hard-nosed evaluation of the facts. The charge isn’t entirely unfair, but it’s not quite accurate either.
Facts and Feelings
First, the charge imagines some sort of two-mode decision module in . . .
Human cooperation, I’ve argued before, is remarkable and unlikely. Even more remarkable is that it ever got beyond the tribal scale of a couple dozen to a couple hundred people, given that the institutions necessary to sustain cooperation at that scale are very different from those necessary to sustain anonymous . . .
A second pass at the themes in The Meta Level Doesn’t Justify Itself. I’ll roll the two together at some point in the indefinite future.
Imagine you need money, and somehow you find yourself sitting across from Warren Buffet pitching a new business venture.
From a purely self-interested perspective, your best scenario . . .
Hayek’s 1960 book The Constitution of Liberty was criticized when it came out for being unsystematic in its normative commitments. Its structure is more of a series of considerations on a theme – certainly less tidy than a deduction from Rothbardian non-aggression or Randian egoism. And on the question of coercion, . . .
This paper relates Smith’s dictum that “the division of labor is limited by the extent of the market” to evidence from anthropology and sociobiology to offer an increasing returns model of the evolution of exchange institutions from autarky, through various intermediate stages, and finally to monetary exchange as the extent . . .
Social cooperation is the major thing to be explained in both sociobiology and economics. It is, after all, quite a feat. From the perspective of the former, most species never achieve it at all. From the perspective of the latter, most societies never get very far along compared to the . . .