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The Hamiltonian view of social evolution

Ågren, J. Arvid (2018) The Hamiltonian view of social evolution. [Preprint]

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Hamilton’s Rule, named after the evolutionary biologist Bill Hamilton, and the related concepts of inclusive fitness and kin selection, have been the bedrock of the study of social evolution for the past half century. In ’The Philosophy of Social Evolution’ (Oxford University Press, 2017), Jonathan Birch provides a comprehensive introduction to the conceptual foundations of the Hamiltonian view of social evolution, and a passionate defence of its enduring value in face of the recent high profile criticism. In this review essay, I first outline the version of Hamilton’s Rule defended by Birch, dubbed Hamilton’s Rule General, and its derivation. With this in place, I then navigate through the fierce disagreements that Hamilton’s Rule generates among social evolution researchers and evaluate Birch’s central argument of the book that HRG serves as an organizing framework for social evolution research under which we can compare and interpret more detailed causal models. I then spend the remainder of the review discussing what I take to be three of the most exciting implications of Hamilton’s thinking raised by Birch: (1) the extension of Hamilton’s Rule to mobile genetic elements, (2) maximization of inclusive fitness models and the idea of adaptation as organism design, and (3) the relationship between Hamilton’s approaches to social behaviour and the gene’s-eye view of evolution.

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Item Type: Preprint
Ågren, J. Arvidja495@cornell.edu0000-0003-3619-556X
Keywords: Hamilton’s Rule; gene’s-eye view; inclusive fitness; fitness maximization; selfish genetic elements
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Depositing User: Dr J. Arvid Ågren
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2018 12:17
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2018 12:17
Item ID: 14572
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Date: 18 April 2018

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