On Sun, 18 Sep 2016 11:28:08 -0700, Christopher Green wrote:
What brought Price up, Mike?
I came across the article on the mosaic science website via
a newsletter I get. At first, I thought I knew the equation and
Price but I was mistaken and did a little more background
reading to get a better understanding. A really sad case.
One wonders how things would have turned out if his thyroid
removal hadn't been botched and/or if he had continued to
take his thyroid hormone supplements.
I remember writing a paper about him and his equation in
a graduate philosophy seminar many years ago.
A philosophy class? Did they incorporate Price's work into
the course or was it just your choice for a paper topic? If
the former, what was the context of presentation? If the latter,
why did you choose Price? Do miserable lives interest you? ;-)
(As I recall, no one else in the room understood what a
Given that Price's equation uses *covariances* I can see
how most of the people taking the course would have problems
understanding what the equation meant. I guess this was not
a Philosophy of Science course because you should have had
a physicist or two and/or other "real" science types in the room.
Reminds of a social psych grad course I took that was supposed
to cover structural equation modeling (SEM) and causal analysis.
There were two problems: (1) the professor who was supposed
to teach the course was new and was relocating from Australia;
he didn't show up until about the 6th week of the course, and
(2) because we knew the prof wasn't going to be there early on,
one of the other social psych faculty was standing in but the problem
was the social psych program was going through its Marxist
phase so the substitute faculty knew Marxism but no SEM, ditto
for the social psych grad students -- it was decided that we
engage in "cooperative learning" and teach each other the material
that was to be covered. I was the only one who knew what SEM
was and knew some matrix algebra but because I was in the
experimental/cognitive program, I didn't really fit in and didn't
participate much. When the new prof finally arrived and realized
that most of the class could not follow the math, he just taught
SEM in an informal, conceptual manner. I did not learn much
about SEM from the course but I did learn something about
praxis and other Marxist concepts which I have for the most
part forgotten. When the Marxism fad was over, everyone
converted to health psychology which has always made me
wonder about it. ;-)
which made it a little tricky to explain why the equation was
such a breakthrough - even though it seems to still get relatively
scant mention even today.)
If one does a Google Scholar search with the terms "Price equation"
and "George R Price", one gets 44 hits with the following being
recent articles that refer/use the Price equation:
Markey-Towler, B. (2016). Law of the jungle: firm survival and price
dynamics in evolutionary markets. Journal of Evolutionary Economics,
Pievani, T., & Parravicini, A. (2016). Multilevel Selection in a Broader
Hierarchical Perspective. Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical
Sæther, B. E., & Engen, S. (2015). The concept of fitness in
fluctuating environments. Trends in ecology & evolution,
NOTE: A copy is available at:
Marshall, J. A. (2015). Social evolution and inclusive fitness
theory: an introduction. Princeton University Press.
Venkateswaran, C., & Nivetha, N. (2013). ALTRUSTRIC BEHAVIOUR
OF SOCIAL MEDIA WORKERS. International Journal of Logistics &
Supply Chain Management Perspectives, 2(4), 687.
Van Veelen, M., García, J., Sabelis, M. W., & Egas, M. (2012).
Group selection and inclusive fitness are not equivalent; the
Price equation vs. models and statistics. Journal of theoretical
biology, 299, 64-80.
Kock, N. (2011). A mathematical analysis of the evolution of
human mate choice traits: Implications for evolutionary psychologists.
Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 9(3), 219-247.
Harman, O. (2011). Birth of the first ESS: George Price, John
Maynard Smith, and the discovery of the lost "Antlers" paper.
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and
Developmental Evolution, 316(1), 1-9.
Gardner, A. (2008). The price equation. Current Biology, 18(5),
NOTE: Available at:
Andersen, E. S. (2004). Population thinking, Price's equation
and the analysis of economic evolution. Evolutionary and
Institutional Economics Review, 1(1), 127-148.
Andersen, E. S. (2004). Evolutionary econometrics: From
Joseph Schumpeter's failed econometrics to George Price's
general evometrics and beyond. In Paper for the third
workshop on the Economic Transformation of Europe (ETE)
Andersen, E. S. (2004). Knowledges, specialisation and economic
evolution: Modelling the evolving division of human time.
In Evolution and Economic Complexity. Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.
And from your Canadian colleagues at the U of Toronto, the following
Earnshaw-Whyte, E. (2012). Modeling Evolution (Doctoral dissertation,
University of Toronto).
NOTE: Available at:
So, Price: gone but not completely forgotten.
New York University
On Sep 18, 2016, at 12:11 PM, Mike Palij <m...@nyu.edu> wrote:
George R. Price was born in NYC and would go down a crooked
road that would ultimately lead to the Galton Lab where he would
produced what is now referred to as the "Price Equation" that
attempts to explain why altruism exists if evolutionary theory is
correct. An interesting -- if depressing -- account of his life and
its twists and turns is presented in the following article, which
puts Price's life in the context of a female British playwright who
would write a play about Price; see:
NOTE: at the bottom of the article is a reference list but one
has to click on the "reference bar" to see them.
For more "straight " info on Price, there entries in Wikipedia
that provide more information but leaving out some of the details
in the article above:
The biographical entry on Price:
On the Price Equation:
An entry on a movie where the Price equation plays
a critical role:
NOTE: The original title of the movie is "W (Greek Symbol delta) Z"
which is a part of the equation. In the U.S., the movie
was released with the title "The Killing Gene" which is
available on Amazon:
I think that one can't help feeling sorry for Price because
though he was brilliant in certain ways, he did not have the
self-insight to understand how he would ultimately destroy
New York University
P.S. No new explosions today in NYC.
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