Darwin-L Message Log 2:114 (October 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<2:114>From CHARBEL%BRUFBA.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU  Fri Oct 22 16:47:12 1993

Date: Fri, 22 Oct 93 18:09:31 BS3
Subject: Kropotkin, Nowak e May
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Tom Waters asked if anyone thinks Nowak and May's work on spatial
prisoner's dilemma has something to do with Kropotkin's book about
mutual aid in biological communities (1902). As I have already written
in Darwin-L, I think their conclusions are, broadly speaking, very similar.
Cooperators survive in the 'struggle for existence' simply because they are
able to form groups and, then, to establish *territories*; a good term for
this behaviour is *population viscosity*, by Hamilton. As soon as I can, I
will try to end an article about the importance of studying the history of
a polemics to differentiate clearly the sides in the discussion. In the
altruism debate, I think the conflict is between the principle of non-
contradiction  and the dialectics  compromise to contradiction. Depending
upon the context in which the selective process takes place, to cooperate and
not to cooperate can both lead to survival. I believe that, if the scientific
method were based upon dialectical logic, we would advance faster in the
production of knowledge. It is only a starting point for a discussion. I
will not go further. I would like, as Tom Waters, also to hear (or, better,
to read in an incredible distance from the hands which wrote it - Have you
thought about the implications of the networks to the scientific enterprise?)
about the possible relations of Kropotkin's book to the work of Nowak and

  Charbel Nino El-Hani, Institute of Biology/MsC in Education, Federal
University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Address: Charbel@BRUFBA.

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