PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Inclusive fitness and the problem of honest communication

Inclusive fitness has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, with many critics claiming the framework leads to incorrect predictions. We show that one particularly influential heuristic for estimating inclusive fitness is unreliable, yielding incorrect predictions in the very case that motivated reliance on it to begin with: communication among relatives with conflicting interests. Using a neighbor-modulated fitness model, we show when and why this heuristic fails. We do not argue that the inclusive fitness framework as a whole is problematic, but that a heavily relied on method for calculating inclusive fitness misrepresents the biological reality of interactions among kin.

Author Information:

Justin Bruner    
Australian National University

Hannah Rubin    
Logic and Philosophy of Science
University of California, Irvine


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