The latest thoughts on a title and an abstract for my long article on social preferences are above and below...wrote this after I took the train to M by mistake this morning and had to cool heels in station there...then a nice ride in to Newark talking with an old book group friend I'd lost touch w/ over the years our children grew up...
Currently, behavioral economics and evolutionary psychology are heterodox though dynamic subfields. Their heterodoxy is connected to the currently prevailing anti-modeling stance of the former, which is mainstream within psychology but not within economics, and to the currently prevailing “pro-modeling with egoism assumed” stance of the latter, which is mainstream within economics but not within psychology. This paper suggests that the subfields could fruitfully modify their approaches and join forces in a combined field of behavioral economics-evolutionary psychology (beep). The approach for beep advocated here involves modeling that incorporates social preferences, notably shame, altruism, and competitiveness, along with egoism. I will claim that interesting, if also highly tentative and debatable, results with implications for understanding social interaction, the governance of the self, modernity, and ideology can be obtained from simple models of evolutionarily stable social preferences in simple one-shot assurance, trust, and leadership games. I will suggest that beep if it were to come to pass would arguably allow for more potent defenses of status quos in regard to human nature and culture than mainstream economics and psychology do now. At the same time, I will suggest that beep would also be conducive to alternative stories that would arguably challenge status quos in regard to social interaction, self-governance, modern and traditional cultures, and ideology more effectively than current versions of critical humanism do.
[Ed: Re-reading this post a couple days later...]
[Rational irrationality is nice as a phrase, but it'd be good to also include the emotional social preference side of things in the title. Having done that, maybe it'd then be right to explain the main title in the subtitle rather than to refer to a passel of academic movements. The paper is in fair part about acadmeic movements, to be sure, but maybe none of that goes in the title...]
[another title then could be "Egoistic Altruism and Rational Irrationality: Ambivalence and Contradiction in Evolving Human Nature"...or could flip the order of the phrases]
[hat tip to Boehm and his "Ambivalence and Compromise in Human Nature" for this possible title...not sure about "evolving human nature" but I like it at this moment...the idea is to use the powerful "human nature" trope but to combine it with "evolving" rather than "evolved" to indicate that cultural and for that matter biological evolution is ongoing rather than done...could always just drop "evolving" and create a more powerful ring a la Boehm. And/or one could use "human character" instead of "human nature" for an original (I think) ethics-y phrase that might interest people and that implies more mutability than "human nature" does...]