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  1. Modelling Religious Signalling.Carl Brusse - 2019 - Dissertation, Australian National University
    The origins of human social cooperation confound simple evolutionary explanation. But from Darwin and Durkheim onward, theorists (anthropologists and sociologists especially) have posited a potential link with another curious and distinctively human social trait that cries out for explanation: religion. This dissertation explores one contemporary theory of the co-evolution of religion and human social cooperation: the signalling theory of religion, or religious signalling theory (RST). According to the signalling theory, participation in social religion (and its associated rituals and sanctions) acts (...)
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  • Altruistic Deception.Jonathan Birch - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 74:27-33.
    Altruistic deception (or the telling of “white lies”) is common in humans. Does it also exist in non-human animals? On some definitions of deception, altruistic deception is impossible by definition, whereas others make it too easy by counting useful-but-ambiguous information as deceptive. I argue for a definition that makes altruistic deception possible in principle without trivializing it. On my proposal, deception requires the strategic exploitation of a receiver by a sender, where “exploitation” implies that the sender elicits a behaviour in (...)
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  • Inclusive Fitness and the Problem of Honest Communication.Justin P. Bruner & Hannah Rubin - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):115-137.
    Inclusive fitness has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, with many critics claiming the framework leads to incorrect predictions. We consider one particularly influential heuristic for estimating inclusive fitness in the context of the very case that motivated reliance on it to begin with: the Sir Philip Sidney signalling game played with relatives. Using a neighbour-modulated fitness model, we show when and why this heuristic is problematic. We argue that reliance on the heuristic rests on a misunderstanding of what (...)
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