Social semantics: how useful has group selection been?

  title={Social semantics: how useful has group selection been?},
  author={S A West and Ashleigh S. Griffin and Andy Gardner},
  journal={Journal of Evolutionary Biology},
In our social semantics review (J. Evol. Biol., 2007, 415–432), we discussed some of the misconceptions and sources of confusion associated with group selection. Wilson (2007, this issue) claims that we made three errors regarding group selection. Here, we aim to expand upon the relevant points from our review in order to refute this claim. The last 45 years of research provide clear evidence of the relative use of the kin and group selection approaches. Kin selection methodologies are more… 
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Group Selection
The reason for the vehemence with which Williams (1966, 1975), Ghiselin (1974), Lack (1966) and other opponents of group selection have argued their case is, I think, their conviction that group selection assumptions, often tacit or unconscious, have been responsible for the failure to tackle important problems.
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In a recent paper, Traulsen and Nowak use a multilevel selection model to show that cooperation can be favored by group selection in finite populations [Traulsen A, Nowak M (2006) Proc Natl Acad Sci
How to Make a Kin Selection Model
A ‘‘direct fitness’’ formulation of inclusive fitness which often has a more straightforward derivation is proposed, and is illustrated first in a homogeneous population, with examples of group competition and partial dispersal behaviour, and then in a class-structured population.
The evolution of helping and harming on graphs: the return of the inclusive fitness effect
It is shown that it is possible to translate evolutionary graph theory models into classical kin selection models without disturbing at all the mathematics describing the net effect of selection on helping, and that costly helping evolves on graphs through limited dispersal and overlapping generations.
A Method for Analyzing Selection in Hierarchically Structured Populations
Individual fitness depends on the particular ecological, genetic, and social contexts in which organisms are found. Variation in individual context among subunits of a population thus raises
The genetical evolution of social behaviour. I.
Altruism and Related Phenomena, Mainly in Social Insects
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