Agents and Goals in Evolution, by Samir Okasha [Book Review]

Mind 128 (512):1408-1416 (2019)
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In this essay review of Samir Okasha's Agents and Goals in Evolution, I reflect on the rationale for agential thinking in biology, and consider whether the rationale is the same for genes as for organisms. I also discuss Okasha's ingenious examples of the evolution of irrational behaviour, and in particular the evolution of violations of the "independence axiom" of rational choice theory. These examples rely on a crucial distinction between aggregate and idiosyncratic risk.

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Jonathan Birch
London School of Economics


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