Demos Quarterly

An understanding of how evolution shaped our minds and bodies profoundly challenges many of the assumptions that underpin the political and policy ideas of both the left and the right. This Demos Quarterly demonstrates the relevance of evolutionary theory to public debate.

The Quarterly presents a wide-ranging collection of articles from leading international authorities in the field of evolutionary theory. It shows how Darwinism is set to revolutionise the ways in which we think about violent crime, politics, morality, sex, equal opportunities, law and order and family life:

Curry, O, Cronin, H and Ashworth, J (eds) (1996) Matters of Life and Death: The world view from evolutionary psychology|. Demos Quarterly, 10. London, Demos

Among the contributions …

  • Martin Daly and Margo Wilson show, with obvious implications for policy, how step-parents are far more likely than genetic parents to murder or abuse children in their care. They also show why, in inner city areas, low expectations of life - of job prospects, longevity and stable relationships - incline men to more violent behaviour.

  • Randy Nesse and George Williams discuss the many ways in which a Darwinian understanding of health is essential for doctors and the medical profession.

  • Matt Ridley logs the 'ancients of trade' and shows how truck, barter and exchange have always been key to social and political alliances.

  • Robert Frank sets out new arguments that show, contrary to common misconceptions, why in evolutionary terms it pays to be honest and why most people are so.

  • Robert Wright examines whether the goal of equality before the law requires different treatment of men and women, rather than the pretence of legal neutrality.

  • Geoffrey Miller shows how political activity, though it is public-spirited altruism, can also be understood as attention-seeking display designed to attract sexual partners.

  • Richard Wilkinson explains why it is the perceived relative standing of a society's members, rather than absolute poverty levels, that provides the best predictor of that society's health; and why a lack of opportunities for beneficial reciprocal exchange - such as having no friends - is experienced as a major body blow.

Other contributions include a keynote essay by Sir Samuel Brittan, which brings out the lessons that economics can learn from evolutionary theory; John Ashworth, former Director of LSE, on why Darwinism emerged as the most important 'ism' at the end of the 20th century; David Buss and Don Symons on how what is perceived to be attractive by both men and women is universal; Simon Baron-Cohen on autism; Ken Binmore on game theory; and Paul Ekman on facial expression.

Other Demos collaborations

Cronin, H and Curry, O (2000) The evolved family| in Family Business. Wilkinson, H (ed.)
Demos Collection, 15, pp. 151-7. London, Demos

Webb, R (2002) Natural-born monarchs| in Monarchies. Bentley, T and Wilsdon, J (eds.)
Demos, 17, pp. 83-9. London, Demos

Please direct any queries about Demos collaborations to Oliver Curry|