La dernière séance du séminaire PhilBio reçoit Kim Sterelny (Université de Wellington) qui intervient sur le thème : "Cooperation, Culture and Conflict".
In this paper I develop a big picture conceptual model of the evolution of human cooperation, and contrast it to an alternative big picture based on group selection. The crucial claim is that hominin history has seen three major transitions in cooperation, and hence poses three deep puzzles about the origins and stability of cooperation. The first is the transition from great ape social lives to the lives of Pleistocene mutualist foragers; the second is from mutualist cooperation to cooperation based on direct and indirect reciprocation; the third is the stability of the social contract through the early Holocene transition to complex hierarchical societies. The first two of these transitions is driven mainly by individual advantage: cooperation paid off for individual foragers, initially through mutualist interaction; then through reciprocation. This argument leads to a reanalysis of the role of violence and the nature of the freeriding threat to cooperation. But the conditions that select for cooperative individuals in the Pleistocene were eroded in the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. So we need an alternative account of the survival, and indeed the expansion, of cooperation in the Holocene. Group selection driven by intercommunal conflict may well play a central role in this transition.