Frank, S. A. 2013. A new theory of cooperation. Pages 40–47 in Human Social Evolution: The Foundational Works of Richard D. Alexander, K. Summers and B. Crespi, eds. Oxford University Press.

When I first read Alexander’s (1987) The Biology of Moral Systems, I was stunned to find a truly new theory of biological cooperation. I had thought of the theory of social evolution as an already mature subject, fully developed with regard to fundamental concepts.  Yet, in Alexander’s book, I could see a completely new way to think about social evolution.  In this essay, I explain that new theory and where it came from.