“Was Hayek Right About Group Selection After All?” Review Essay of Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, by Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson

“Was Hayek Right About Group Selection After All?” Review Essay of Unto Others: The Evolution... One of the most controversial aspects of Hayek's social theory was his acceptance of the concept of cultural group selection. The publication of Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior provides an opportunity to revisit this much-maligned component of Hayek's thought. Sober and Wilson are concerned with biological group selection, but much of their argument is equally applicable to cultural group selection. This essay revisits Hayek's views on cultural group selection in light of the model proposed by Sober and Wilson. Comparing their model to Hayek's model suggests that group selection theories are more plausible than traditionally thought and that their viability in any given situation is an empirical, not an a priori, question. So long as there are benefits to a group from greater levels of altruism and cooperation, and so long as free rider problems can be mitigated, group selection models are plausible. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals

“Was Hayek Right About Group Selection After All?” Review Essay of Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, by Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Economics; Public Finance; Political Science; History of Economic Thought/Methodology
ISSN
0889-3047
eISSN
1573-7128
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1007806214727
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

One of the most controversial aspects of Hayek's social theory was his acceptance of the concept of cultural group selection. The publication of Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior provides an opportunity to revisit this much-maligned component of Hayek's thought. Sober and Wilson are concerned with biological group selection, but much of their argument is equally applicable to cultural group selection. This essay revisits Hayek's views on cultural group selection in light of the model proposed by Sober and Wilson. Comparing their model to Hayek's model suggests that group selection theories are more plausible than traditionally thought and that their viability in any given situation is an empirical, not an a priori, question. So long as there are benefits to a group from greater levels of altruism and cooperation, and so long as free rider problems can be mitigated, group selection models are plausible.

Journal

The Review of Austrian EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 16, 2004

References

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