In this commentary, the author criticizes Cavallaro’s (2010) reading of Jervis’ (2002) book Individualismo e cooperazione. Psicologia della politica [Individualism and Cooperation: Psychology of Politics] by arguing three claims. First, Darwinian naturalism is a complex methodological approach of which sociobiology and evolutionary psychology are only two partial and controversial versions. Second, the distinction between the cooperative motivational system and the competitive one is to be placed within the framework of an anthropology that claims the intrinsically social nature of the individual. Third, Jervis thinks that the understanding of the dialectics between cooperation and competition requires multilevel explanations that can take into account the inextricable interlacement among innate predispositions, formal relational invariants, and cultural conventions.
Keywords: Evolutionary psychology, motivational systems, altruism, preferences for fairness, ultimatum bargaining games