Theory of Reproductive Strategies

  • Robin I. M. Dunbar
Part of the Studies in Behavioural Adaptation book series (SBA)


Progress in science (by which I mean the steady development in our ability to explain and predict what happens in nature) depends on our having theories. Without a theory, we can only describe what we see; we cannot explain why things are as they are because facts only acquire significance when they are interpreted within a particular theoretical structure. (Some philosophers even doubt whether it is possible to describe events in the world without a theory, but there is no need to go this far in the present context: for lucid introductions to the philosophy of science, see Chalmers 1978 and Gale 1979.) A theoretical framework allows us to formulate questions about the phenomena we see, thus allowing us to interrogate nature directly by formulating and testing hypotheses about the causes and consequences of these events. Obviously, the more precise the questions we ask, the more likely we are to find the right answer, even if the theory itself is in fact wrong: precise questions allow us to rule out incorrect hypotheses more quickly, so forcing us to examine the biology involved more closely.


Reproductive Output Reproductive Strategy Inclusive Fitness Lifetime Reproductive Success Primate Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Robin Dunbar 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin I. M. Dunbar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of LiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations