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By Peter Singer

In A Darwinian Left, Peter Singer argues that the political left has misunderstood Darwinian rules and hence been opposed to the appliance of Darwinian pondering to politics. these at the political left who search a extra egalitarian society may still in its place include evolutionary rules and the right way to use evolutionary pondering in an effort to construct the type of cooperative society sought.

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Extra resources for A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation

Sample text

30 CHAPTER 2 Can the Left Accept a Darwinian View of Human Nature? Unpopular ideas In the twentieth century the dream of the perfectibility of humankind turned into the nightmares of Stalinist Russia, China under the Cultural Revolution, and Cambodia under Pol Pot. From these nightmares the left awoke in turmoil. There have been attempts to create a new and better society with less terrible results — Castro's Cuba, the Israeli kibbutzim - but none that are unqualified successes. The dream of perfectibility should be put behind us, and, with that, one barrier to a Darwinian left has been removed.

Axelrod's results, which have generally been supported by subsequent work in the field, can serve as a basis for social planning that should appeal to the left. His findings suggest that we should be able to create conditions that draw on our inherent grasp of the rules of mutually beneficial cooperation and thereby make it possible for mutually beneficial relationships to flourish where otherwise they would not. Here we have an example of the interaction between our biology and our social environment that shows clearly that Darwinian ways of thinking do not assume short-term selfishness.

Axelrod's results, which have generally been supported by subsequent work in the field, can serve as a basis for social planning that should appeal to the left. His findings suggest that we should be able to create conditions that draw on our inherent grasp of the rules of mutually beneficial cooperation and thereby make it possible for mutually beneficial relationships to flourish where otherwise they would not. Here we have an example of the interaction between our biology and our social environment that shows clearly that Darwinian ways of thinking do not assume short-term selfishness.

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