This volume explores from multiple perspectives the subtle and interesting relationship between the theory of rational choice and Darwinian evolution. In rational choice theory, agents are assumed to make choices that maximize their utility; in evolution, natural selection 'chooses' between phenotypes according to the criterion of fitness maximization. So there is a parallel between utility in rational choice theory and fitness in Darwinian theory. This conceptual link between fitness and utility is mirrored by the interesting parallels between formal models of evolution and rational choice. The essays in this volume, by leading philosophers, economists, biologists and psychologists, explore the connection between evolution and rational choice in a number of different contexts, including choice under uncertainty, strategic decision making and pro-social behaviour. They will be of interest to students and researchers in philosophy of science, evolutionary biology, economics and psychology.
Samir Okasha is Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction (2002) and Evolution and the Levels of Selection (2006). Ken Binmore is Professor Emeritus of Economics at University College London and a Visiting Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Natural Justice (2005), Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction (2007) and Rational Decisions (2008).
Editors introduction; 1. Towards a Darwinian theory of strategic decision-making: games and the biological roots of behaviour Peter Hammerstein; 2. What do humans maximize? Claire El Mouden, Maxwell Burton-Chellew, Andy Gardner and Stuart West; 3. Natural selection and rational decisions Alasdair Houston; 4. Evolution, dynamics and rationality: the limits of ESS methodology Simon Huttegger and Kevin Zollman; 5. Are rational actor models 'rational' outside small worlds? Henry Brighton and Gerd Gigerenzer; 6. Pull, push or both? Indirect evolution in economics and beyond Siegfried Berninghaus, Werner Guth and Hartmut Kliemt; 7. Schelling formalized: strategic choices of non-rational behaviour David H. Wolpert and Julian Jamison; 8. Human cooperation and reciprocity Jack Vromen; 9. Team reasoning, framing and cooperation Natalie Gold; 10. An evolutionary perspective on the unification of the behavioural sciences Herbert Gintis; 11. From fitness to utility Kim Sterelny.