War! What Is It Good For?

June 2, 2014
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Morris

I’ve just returned from California, where I spent last two weeks. I dislike long-distance air travel, and when I do it, I try to hit as many birds with the same stone, so to speak. This means bunching up as many talks and visits as possible. On this trip I started at Stanford, then went […]

Posted in: Blogs

Peter J. Richerson. Was Territoriality Important in the Pleistocene? A Commentary on Johnson and Toft

May 25, 2014
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I’m quite skeptical of the idea that territoriality is a part of our genetically evolved social psychology. Rada Dyson-Hudson and Eric Alden Smith wrote a classic paper in 1978 on territoriality in humans in which they pointed out that at least some hunter-gathers who live in sparse or variable environments do not find it worthwhile […]

Posted in: Commentaries

Anthony C. Lopez. Adaptations for Territoriality and the False Residency Problem. A Commentary on Johnson and Toft

May 23, 2014
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Johnson and Toft (2014) argue that humans possess an evolved psychology of territoriality that generates a range of adaptively conditional behavior. While the conditional logic embedded within this territorial psychology is posited to be a human universal, the resulting motivations and behavior are varied as a consequence of adaptively relevant variation in the socio-ecological environment. […]

Posted in: Commentaries

Radek Szulga. Territoriality and Conflict: an Economist’s View. A Commentary on Johnson and Toft.

May 17, 2014
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Dominic Johnson and Monica Duffy Toft analyze the importance of territoriality in their article Bringing “Geo” Back into Politics as well as in the related piece in International Security, “Grounds for War” (2013/14). Peter Turchin, also stresses the importance of territory for understanding conflict in the response article (see also Turchin, 2014). While Ginges, Atran […]

Posted in: Commentaries

Jonathan H. Turner. Keeping the Focus on Geopolitical and Geoeconomic Dynamics. A Commentary on Johnson and Toft

May 13, 2014
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Comments Off

Dominic Johnson’s and Monica Duffy Toft’s  juxtaposition of a micro-level game-theoretic and evolutionary arguments from biology alongside a macro-level analysis of geopolitics is refreshing and, in general, very informative.  Mammals can be highly territorial, and in the case of humans as evolved apes, we certainly have a propensity to be so.  Great apes do not […]

Posted in: Commentaries

Scott Atran, Jeremy Ginges, and Rumen Iliev. Devoted Actors, Devoted Realism, and the Territorial Imperative. A Commentary on Johnson and Toft.

May 8, 2014
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What is the other commonwealth that remains standing now that the mundane commonwealth, embodied in the Roman Empire, has fallen? ─ Saint Augustine, The City of God (De Civitae Dei), on what survived and thrived after the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410 AD Peter Turchin’s Devoted Realism proposal is a laudable attempt to incorporate the […]

Posted in: Commentaries

‘Devoted Realism’: a Commentary on Johnson and Toft

May 4, 2014
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Dominic Johnson and Monica Duffy Toft wrote a very interesting article. I applaud the explicitly evolutionary approach that they bring to Political Science. I also agree with their emphasis on territory, “the only thing that lasts.” Nevertheless, I don’t agree with everything they say in the article. Johnson and Toft employ insights from game theory […]

Posted in: Commentaries
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