Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 257–267 | Cite as

Cooperation, conflict, sex and bargaining

Joan Roughgarden’s: The genial gene. University of California Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-520-25826-6
  • Samir OkashaEmail author
  • Ken Binmore
  • Jonathan Grose
  • Cédric Paternotte

The Genial Geneis an ambitious, intriguing and rather controversial book. Roughgarden seeks to establish what she sees as a radical new theory, called ‘social selection’, as an alternative to orthodox neo-Darwinist ideas about co-operative and social behaviour, particularly in relation to mating, sexual reproduction and the rearing of offspring. Her chief foil is sexual selection theory, which she rightly sees as enjoying paradigmatic status among modern evolutionists concerned with mate choice and related phenomena. The opposition between ‘sexual’ and ‘social’ selection is the book’s central organizing theme, though readers should note that Roughgarden construes both rather broadly, as umbrella terms covering a variety of different (and logically separable) ideas. The book’s sub-title—‘Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness’—reveals Roughgarden’s main objection to the evolutionary orthodoxy she seeks to undermine, namely that it portrays organisms as fundamentally selfish and treats...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samir Okasha
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ken Binmore
    • 1
  • Jonathan Grose
    • 1
  • Cédric Paternotte
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BristolBristolUK

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