apparent self-sacrifice -Reply

jwalker jwalker at
Tue Jul 18 06:01:49 MDT 1995

On Mon, 17 Jul 1995, Lisa Rogers wrote:

> Hans Despain,
> After reading your post, I'm feeling a bit disappointed, and I wonder
> if all my efforts to present my views have been wasted.

> You say that my presentation of my own approach is "very similar to
> neo-classical economics", then proceed to give NC examples which
> don't seem similar to mine at all.  I have discussed only darwinian
> fitness-related costs and benefits only from an individual's point of
> view, specifically showing environmental abuses of c/b language.  But
> you can tell what I would plot in?  Plot what?  I don't use the word
> "utility", much less the concept.

> But if I have been unclear, or there are other obstacles to
> understanding and Despain's view is common on the list, I do want to
> know that.  'Allo, 'Allo, I am sending, is anyone receiving?
> Transmission garbled?  Vocabulary unintelligible?  Translation
> unavailable?  Communication desirable?  Mission impossible?

Ten-four, Lisa.  You're coming in loud and clear out here on the east

I think you are, anyway.  Let me give it a try: your view is not Hobbes',
with which it might
be confused: "of the voluntary acts of every man, the object is some Good
to himselfe".  This is the assumption that is central to neo-classical
economists' utility-theoretic explanations of behavior.

The idea you've been floating, I take it, is the different one that
people's behavior can be explained by reference to fitness-related costs
and benefits, where fitness-related has soemthing to do with passing on
one's genes.

This is why the kamikaze example is initially a challenge to you -- it's
not a challenge at all to rational egoist theories of behavior.

Have I got you right?


John D. Walker
jwalker at

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