Re: Group Selection

Paul Marsden (
Wed, 17 Feb 1999 09:08:03 -0000

From: "Paul Marsden" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Group Selection
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 09:08:03 -0000

>The reason I am a little (to put it mildly) surprised is that Wilson's
>sociobiology is a good deal softer than, for instance, that of Richard
>Alexander, and there is a good deal of room in it for cultural
>information. After all he did coin the phrase 'gene-culture leash
>theory'. I don't see any problem with sociobiology and memetics meeting
>in the middle along these lines (although of course I would incline
>towards culture being largely gene-independent).

>Hope you can amplify this interesting thread,

Do we not have a confusion over Wislons here - genetic leash E.O Wilson
(Consilience/Sociobiology) and D.S. Wilson (group Selectionism - Unto

Whilst D.S. Wilson's sociobiology may be softer than Alexander - I do not
think this is necessarily the case for E.O. Wilson. What I get out of
Alexander is the genetic equivalent to the memetic stance - he wants to
interpret non-rational human behaviour not from folk psychology but from an
inclusive evolutionary fitness heuristic. I, of course, like this very much
and think it is useful.

Paul Marsden
Graduate Research Centre in the Social Sciences
University of Sussex
tel/fax (44) (0) 117 974 1279

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