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The Ant and the Peacock : Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today - Helena Cronin

The Ant and the Peacock

Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today

By: Helena Cronin, John Maynard Smith (Foreword by)

Paperback Published: 27th December 1993
ISBN: 9780521457651
Number Of Pages: 508

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The "ant" and the "peacock" stand for two puzzles in Darwinism--altruism and sexual selection. How can natural selection favor those, such as the worker ant, that renounce tooth and claw in favor of the public-spirited ways of the commune? And how can "peacocks"--flamboyant, ornamental and apparently useless--be tolerated by the grimly economical Darwinian reaper? Helena Cronin has a deep understanding of today's answers to these riddles and their roots in the nineteenth century; the analysis is new and exciting and the explanations lucid and compelling.

'Part detective story and part philosophical enquiry, The Ant and the Peacock offers a paradox in every paragraph.' J. G. Ballard, Weekend Telegraph 'Nobody with an interest in how the human mind has come to work the way it does can fail to be gripped by it.' The Economist 'In her racy and provocative way, Dr Cronin tells a story that sums up the essence of neo-Darwinism ... Part detective story and part philosophical enquiry, The Ant and the Peacock offers a paradox in every paragraph ...' Weekend Telegraph 'The finest study of the evolution of Darwinian thought that we have to date ... Cronin's special understanding of the sexual force in evolution's drive adds a most important dynamic to this work.' The New England Review of Books

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Darwinism, its Rivals and its Renegades
Walking archivesp. 3
A world without Darwinp. 7
1859p. 7
Rivals and follies: 1859 and beyondp. 35
Goodbye to all thatp. 47
Darwinism old and newp. 53
Anticipations of things pastp. 53
Organism to genep. 59
Structures to strategistsp. 66
Complexities and diversitiesp. 79
Demarcations of designp. 81
The scrapheap of chancep. 87
'Strange deviations tied together'p. 93
Artefacts of our mindsp. 106
The Peacock
The sting in the peacock's tailp. 113
Flying in the face of natural selectionp. 113
The career of a controversyp. 118
Nothing but natural selection?p. 123
'The advocate of pure Darwinism'p. 123
Coloration for protectionp. 124
Coloration for recognitionp. 129
Explaining away displayp. 131
Coloration without selectionp. 133
Males for Darwin, females for Wallace?p. 146
Wallace's legacy: A century of natural selectionp. 155
Can females shape males?p. 165
Only humans can choosep. 165
Not choosing, just lookingp. 167
'The instability of a vicious feminine caprice'p. 168
The trouble with tastep. 174
Do sensible females prefer sexy males?p. 183
Good taste or good sense?p. 183
Darwin's solution: Beauty for beauty's sakep. 183
Wallace's solution: Not just a pretty tailp. 186
Is 'good sense' sensible?p. 191
Fisher's solution: Good taste makes good sensep. 201
'Until careful experiments are made ...'p. 205
Ghosts of Darwinism surpassedp. 231
The changing face of sexual selectionp. 231
A happy ending to the peacock's talep. 243
The Ant
Altruism nowp. 253
The problem with altruismp. 253
The problem solvedp. 253
'Altruism' reanalysedp. 264
Altruism thenp. 267
Nature most cruelp. 267
Altruism unseenp. 274
Altruism levelled downp. 283
The social insects: Kind kinp. 293
Make dove, not war: Conventional forcesp. 311
Human altruism: A natural kind?p. 325
Darwin: Morality as natural historyp. 325
Wallace: Wise before the eventp. 353
Huxley: Morality at enmity with naturep. 367
Spencer: Darwinian bodies, Lamarckian mindsp. 371
Rhetorical skirmishesp. 378
Breeding between the linesp. 381
The origin of speciesp. 381
Speciating for the greater goodp. 387
Selection's great divide: Mating or weaning?p. 390
The problem for Darwin and Wallacep. 395
Darwin against creation: Incidental, not endowedp. 400
Darwin against natural selection: Incidental, not selectedp. 402
Darwin's adaptive interludep. 407
Wallace: The power of natural selectionp. 416
Origins elusivep. 425
Epiloguep. 431
Note on the letters of Darwin and Wallacep. 433
Bibliographyp. 439
Indexp. 475
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521457651
ISBN-10: 0521457653
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 508
Published: 27th December 1993
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.22 x 15.19  x 3.05
Weight (kg): 0.75

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