Kropotkin.. Updating Mutual Aid

O. Wilson and Peter Kropotkin are not often discussed in the same breath. Yet Kropotkin, who in his professional life was a geographer, devoted a substantial work (Mutual Aid, 1902) to elaborating his ideas on cooperation as an important factor in species evolution. Although his ideas never achieved dominance, as evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould observed in 1997, “Kropotkin was no crackpot.” His efforts were a reaction to Social Darwinism, the misbegotten, deformed progeny of Darwin’s biological theories of evolution,…

….However, in recent years, Wilson has reversed his position on the importance of the paradigm he championed. Kin selection theory, now the dominant model, is, Wilson believes, inadequate to explain the observed cooperative behavior that species, from humans to ants, exhibit. His alternative theory: that groups of perhaps quite unrelated individuals who cooperative amongst themselves achieve greater evolutionary success. The idea is certainly intuitive. In a social species like humans, it is evident that cooperation is a fundamental component of our natures…..cont/

via ideas and action » Kropotkin Selection? Updating Mutual Aid.

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