Co-operation, Competition and Emergent Order

Robert, Axelrod. The Evolution of Cooperation, Basic Books, New York: Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1984. 222 pp.

Axelrod’s work is useful in demonstrating that there is a built in logical advantage to cooperative strategies as guides to social interaction. Beginning with the iterated prisoners dilemma, Axelrod shows how Tit for Tat, the best overall strategy for winning was nice (never being first to defect), provocable, forgiving, and clear. He also examines gthe evolution of cooperation in even improbable circumstances, such as between opposing sides during war. Important to the subject of this list because rules generating emergent social orders are rules for cooperation that are undermined by uncooperative behavior, defined systemically. Suggests why such orders are so robust and powerful compared to less cooperative ones. Also important with respect to understanding the normative content inherent in social emergent systems.

Titles not yet annotated:

Robert, Axelrod. An Evolutionary Approach to Norms, American Political Science Review, 80. 1095-1111.

Heylighen, Francis. Selfish Memes and the Evolution of Cooperation. Journal of Ideas. 2:4. 77-84.