Cooperation and Conflict in General Evolutionary Processes

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9780471594871: Cooperation and Conflict in General Evolutionary Processes
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In May 1992, within the Arctic Circle and under the midnight sun, a small group of researchers from diverse disciplines met to study one of the most fundamental questions of existence: What are the roles of conflict and cooperation in the evolution of life?

The answers that came—from such fields as physics, literature, biology, economics, linguistics, and computer science—shed new light on this very old question.

Sponsored by the Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research, these internationally renowned scholars discussed and debated the complementary effects of individual self-interest and collective group interests. The twelve chapters in this volume, representing a wide range of perspectives, are the fruit of this meeting. They illustrate the dynamics of evolution and, contrary to many traditional ideas of nature, make a compelling case for the crucial role of cooperation in successful evolutionary adaptation.

The fascination of this volume lies in watching the push and pull of conflict and cooperation play out in such areas as economic organization, computer science, the development of urban structures, the evolution of languages, and molecular formation in the primeval environment.

Among the specific issues raised and illuminated:

  • What are the roles of stability vs. instability in the evolution of primitive life?
  • What does research into game theory and computer models tell us about the most successful survival strategies in conflict—cooperation dilemmas?
  • What parts do randomness and uncertainty play in the evolution of biological as well as mathematical systems?
  • What is the relationship between our stories of evolution and the process of evolution itself?
  • Is there a link between the evolution of our bodies and our ability to make choices about conflict or cooperation?
  • How is it possible for a cooperative entity to arise and prosper in a situation presumably driven by competition?
  • What were the mechanisms of genetic formation in the primordial world?
  • How does meaning evolve in the development of natural language?

Theoretical and evolutionary biologists, system theorists, economists, computer scientists, and mathematical modelers will find Cooperation and Conflict in General Evolutionary Processes a provocative and stimulating book that may open new perspectives on their own work.

Is Nature "red in tooth and claw''?

The twelve chapters in this volume offer an overview of the dynamics of evolutionary phenomena across a stimulating array of fields, including biology, economics, literature, physics, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. Written by internationally recognized experts, they trace the issue of conflict vs. cooperation through such topics as molecular formation, city planning, and the building of intellectual structures.

Urban Systems and Evolution —W. Brian Arthur

Modeling Errors and Parasites in the Evolution of Primitive Life: Possibilities of Spatial Self-Structuring —Clas Blomberg and Mikael Cronhjort

Cooperation: The Ghost in the Machinery of Evolution —John L. Casti

Randomness in Arithmetic and the Decline and Fall of Reductionism in Pure Mathematics —Gregory J. Chaitin

Narratives of Evolution and the Evolution of Narratives —N. Katherine Hayles

Biologically Bound Behavior, Free Will, and the Evolution of Humans —Philip Lieberman

A Hierarchy of Complex Behaviors in Microbiological Systems —Erik Mosekilde, Heidi Stranddorf, Jesper Skovhus Thomsen and Gerold Baier

Chaotic Dynamics of Linguistic-like Processes at the Syntactic and Semantic Levels: In Pursuit of a Multifractal Attractor —John S. Nicolis and Anastassis A. Katsikas

Cooperation and Chimera —Robert Rosen

Minimal Properties for Evolutionary Optimization —Peter Schuster

A Perception Machine Built of Many Cooperating Agents —Erik Skarman

Language, Evolution, and the Theory of Games —Karl Wärneryd

Theoretical and evolutionary biologists, system theorists, economists, computer scientists, and mathematical modelers will find Cooperation and Conflict in General Evolutionary Processes a strong stimulus to the evolution of their own ideas.

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From the Publisher:

A collection of articles comprising the behavior and modeling of couples systems. Examines the dynamics of evolution as it relates to an individual's self-interest and collective group interests. Twelve chapters, written by international experts, span such fields as philosophy, physics, biology and economics, offering a superb overview of how successful evolutionary adaptations rely on a judicious combination of self-interest and altruism. Can also be used as a supplementary graduate text.

About the Author:

About the editors

JOHN L. CASTI is Professor at the Institute for Econometrics, Operations Research, and System Theory at the Technical University of Vienna, Austria, and a researcher at the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Among his many publications are Reality Rules: Picturing the World in Mathematics, Volumes 1 and 2, and Alternate Realities: Mathematical Models of Nature and Man, all published by Wiley.

ANDERS KARLQVIST, of the Ministry of Education, Stockholm, Sweden, is also Adjunct Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

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