The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins, 1976

Preface 1976
Dawkins believes that the science discussed here is
stranger than fiction .

Dawkins says that three imaginary readers helped him write this book. A General Reader, the layman, helped him avoid technical jargon and to try to express complicated ideas in non-mathematical language without losing their essence. The Expert was a harsh critic who wanted to point out exceptions to everything. His criticisms did lead to a complete rewrite of one chapter. The third reader, the student, seems to be the real target of the book. Dawkins hopes that student will be more inclined to pursue a career in zoology, not because animals are likeable, but because "we animals are the most complicated and perfectly-designed pieces of machinery in the known universe".

Preface 1989
The Extended Phenotype was published in 1982, between the first edition and this second edition of The Selfish Gene. In The Extended Phenotype, the Necker cube was presented as a metaphor for the two ways of looking at evolution, either from the point of view of the organism or from that of the gene. At the time of this edition, Dawkins says that the metaphor was too cautious. It implies that the two views are equally valid. Rather, the view from the gene offers a new climate of thinking, [ in which many exciting and testable theories are born, and unimagined facts laid bare ].

Chapter 1. Why Are People?

Chapter 2. The Replicators

Chapter 3. Immortal Coils

Chapter 4. The Gene Machine

Chapter 5. Aggression: Stability and the Selfish Machine

Chapter 6. Genesmanship

Chapter 7. Family Planning

Chapter 8. Battle of the Generations

Chapter 9. Battle of the Sexes

Chapter 10. You Scratch My Back, I'll Ride on Yours

Chapter 11. Memes: the New Replicators

Chapter 12. Nice Guys Finish First

Chapter 13. The Long Reach of the Gene


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